I was shocked to learn today that Richard Stallman has been reinstated as a member of the board of the Free Software Foundation. I think this is plain inappropriate, but I cannot see how anyone who doesn’t think that could fail to see the reinstatement as counterproductive. As Bradley M. Kuhn put it,

The question is whether an organization should have a designated leader who is on a sustained, public campaign advocating about an unrelated issue that many consider controversial. It really doesn’t matter what your view about the controversial issue is; a leader who refuses to stop talking loudly about unrelated issues eventually creates an untenable distraction from the radical activism you’re actively trying to advance. The message of universal software freedom is a radical cause; it’s basically impossible for one individual to effectively push forward two unrelated controversial agendas at once. In short, the radical message of software freedom became overshadowed by RMS’ radical views about sexual morality.

There is an open letter calling for the removal of the entire Board of the Free Software Foundation in response. I haven’t signed the letter because the Free Software Foundation Board’s vote to reinstate Stallman was not unanimous, so the call to remove all of them does not make sense to me. I agree with the open letter’s call to remove Stallman from other positions of leadership. I hope that this whole situation can be resolved quickly.

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