Richard Stallman Is Back On the Board Of the Free Software Foundation

On Monday, March 21st, 2021, Richard M. Stallman, founder and former president of the FSF (Free Software Foundation), announced he was back on the foundation's board of directors.

Richard Stallman made this announcement at the beginning of his conference at libreplanet, 1 an annual event organized by the FSF.

Richard Stallman stepped down from his position as president and board member on September 16, 2019, following the publication of e-mails discussing an MIT academic linked to the Jeffrey Epstein scandal. Several news outlets, including The Guardian or Le Monde (in French) covered the story.

In his video, Richard Stallman does not mention directly these events, only saying that some people will be happy, and others disappointed, and that he does not intend to resign a second time.

The announcement appears to have taken even the event's organizers, staff and volunteers, by surprise. 2

Of course, the decision on whether or not Richard Stallman should be back on the board is theirs. That said, we wonder whether the foundation has measured the impact of such a decision on Free Software and its communities?. Further, the announcement itself, a very short intervention without a word on the events of September 2019, is problematic.

April has a privileged relationship with the FSF, and has collaborated with them since 1996. We share the conviction that everyone should have access to Software Freedom. We strive to act so that everyone can support us, join our movement, and feel welcomed and safe. April regrets the FSF board's decision. We wish the best and extend our support to its employees and anyone promoting free software in a respectful manner consistent with the FSF values and goals.

  • 1. Richard Stallman's video Transcript: "First, I have an announcement to make. I'm now on the Free Software Foundation Board of Directors once again. We were working on a video to announce this with, but that turned out to be difficult, we didn't have experience doing that sort of thing so it didn't get finished but here is the announcement. Some of you will be happy at this, and some might be disappointed, but who knows? In any case, that's how it is, and I'm not planning to resign a second time"
  • 2. See the message posted on Monday : "No LibrePlanet organizers (staff or volunteer), speakers, award winners, exhibitors, or sponsors were made aware of Richard Stallman's announcement until it was public"