Richard M. Stallman resigns from Free Software Foundation

On September 16, 2019, Richard M. Stallman, founder and president of the Free Software Foundation, resigned as president and from its board of directors.

The board will be conducting a search for a new president, beginning immediately. Further details of the search will be published on

The context leading up to this surprise announcement is summed up below:

I’d be really interested in hearing what the student and Free software community at RIT thinks about this :slight_smile:

Based on the FOSS Hours discussion, general consensus seems the news itself is not surprising, but there are conversations about how to accurately represent his ideas and influence on the Free Software movement (and whether to include note of him at all).

I take an intersectional view. You can discuss Stallman and his early influence in Free Software during the 1980s-1990s as important and influential. Meaning, he was a major influencer of that movement, as well as its strengths and biases. But the social context exists and cannot be ignored either, that Stallman exhibits some questionable and problematic characteristics and beliefs.

Instead of asking, “Should we talk about Stallman?”, we should instead ask, “Which parts of Stallman do we talk about?” Erasing his ideas from the dialogue is an extremity. Instead, we should present an accurate representation of him and his ideas: he was an influential person on the Free Software movement, and in being an influential person, the movement also inherits some of his personal biases that increasingly lead to social struggle and conflict in today’s world.