The FSF Has Jumped the Shark

Earlier this week, to a lot of people's surprise, Richard Stallman announced his return to the Free Software Foundation, an organisation that he founded 30+ years ago and left in 2019. Given the reasons for his departure, people are naturally quite upset that he's back. An open letter was published demanding that Stallman be removed and that the entire board follow suit.

That was Tuesday.

Here we are on Friday and things are not much better. The FSF has put out a generic "preliminary statement" on how they'll address governance going forward and RedHat has announced that they're suspending any funding and disassociating themselves from the organisation. Nobody will be surprised if Google, Microsoft, Mozilla, Apple, IBM, GitHub, Canonical, SUSE, and a bunch of other companies follow RedHat's lead over the weekend.

What's unfortunate is that the FSF has a lot of really smart, really hard-working people who will suffer the consequences of this for years to come, and the free software movement will need to find a better champion that can exemplify moral and ethical standpoints that define the mission.

This entire situation was easily avoidable.