Saturday, July 4, 2009

A Good GCDS Beginning (with a significant disappointment)

[UPDATE: I've had an email exchange with Richard Stallman over this. I found it...less than satisfying.]

Well, I'm in Gran Canaria for the first combined GUADEC/AKaDEmy Desktop Summit, and it's great to be here (although quite hot and humid). Last night, things got started with a very nice party sponsored by our friends at Canonical, excellent turnout! I bailed at midnight (although apparently some stayed until 3:00 am), but not before I saw a number of my friends, which was great.

Things kicked off this morning with a welcome from the local government (I'm taking part in a breakfast with them to discuss open source this coming Monday), followed by an excellent keynote, mostly on how the classical liberal arts related to free software (or "liberal software" as he called it) by Richard "r0ml" Lefowitz. Walter Bender talked about TurtleArt, and was followed by a keynote I found quite disappointing from Richard Stallman.

It got off to a bad start when the organizers had to call a break so they could locate Richard--that shows great disrespect for the audience, I'd say. This was only made worse by Richard's observation, a few minutes into his talk, that "there were a lot of people still coming in" and that he should, perhaps, start over again. (They would have already been there if you'd been there when you were supposed to be, Richard.)

The talk started out with a rehash of open source history--much of which is, I'm certain, quite well-known to the audience, and then lapsed into a fairly undirected rant about C# and how no one should be using it (with a completely incomprehensible comment that it was "good" that there were free C# implementations... huh?), before Richard donned his "Saint Ignotius" get-up. For me, things went rapidly and drastically downhill from that point.

The nadir for me was Richard's explanation of "EMACS virgins" as "women who had not been introduced to EMACS" along with the advice that "relieving them of their virginity" was some sort of sacred duty for members of "The Church of EMACS".

What the hell is that, Richard? If it was intended to be humorous, it only reached the point of being offensive. We talk about how we can work better to involve more women in a meaningful way in open source development--where they're clearly under-represented--but this sort of nonsense, stuff which would have been preposterous even ten or twenty years ago, can only work to drive women away from such involvement.

Richard certainly provided a valuable service with some of the first open source efforts, and the first free software license, but that doesn't give him, as far as I'm concerned, a free ride to regale audiences with his evidently mediæval views about women. I was very unhappy with his keynote for a number of reasons--something that was probably reflected in my questions--but the question I really wish I'd asked is the following.

Haven't we gotten past the point where we need to view women as a) technically incompetent, and in need of "us guys" to explain this stuff to them, and b) as objects to be "relieved" (presumably by "us guys") of whatever sort of virginity? If we want to encourage greater participation from women in open source efforts, do you really believe that sort of blatantly condescending, sexist, outdated nonsense is the way to go about it?

I honestly thought it was shameful.

72 comments:

Anonymous said...

Why do you automatically think of girls and woman when somebody talks about virgins? Richard did not mention the sex of the virgins. He talked in the plural (they) and did not say he or she. So all the sexism is your interpretation. Perhaps you should think about your own prejudices.

Anonymous said...

This "include women" is all but nonsense. Women is uninterested - as a
group, as you can find exceptions *everywhere* - in programming as men
are uninterested at another areas where woman reigns.

I think it is very creepy to see efforts for more woman join the
open-source lines. If they are interested, they will find a way, one
liking it or not, as they always found and fought for.

Anonymous said...

David,

I appreciate Richard's views and work on free software, however I was also disappointed. You rise very valid points.

Additionally, when taking questions from the public (which had no microphone, you can blame the organization for this), Richard was raising his voice over the person asking the question, made impossible to people could hear their follow up questions. He also decided when a conversation was over.

I think that many years of arguments in the free software arena bitter Richard's character. This is not our fault.

mdzlog said...

I'm sure you'll get some flak for this, but I'm glad you've called him out on being offensive. I hope someone has a word with him about it (he'll obviously not read this as he doesn't use the web).

@Anonymous #1, RMS specifically referred to women as the object of this illustrious deflowering activity.

@Anonymous #2, you have some reading to do.

Anonymous said...

@mdzlog
> @Anonymous #2, you have some reading to do.

I don't think so.

Lefty said...

Richard did not mention the sex of the virgins. He talked in the plural (they) and did not say he or she.

You're completely mistaken, and I've double-checked with several other folks who were also in the audience. Richard specifically defined "EMACS virgins" as "women who had never used EMACS".

Maybe your own prejudices have affected your hearing...

Lefty said...

This "include women" is all but nonsense.

Not to put too fine a point on it, but it's your comment that's nonsense. Wise move to leave it unsigned.

Anonymous said...

> Not to put too fine a point on it, but it's your comment that's nonsense. Wise move to leave it unsigned.

Why?

Anonymous said...

> You're completely mistaken, and I've >double-checked with several other folks >who were also in the audience. Richard >specifically defined "EMACS virgins" as >"women who had never used EMACS".

> Maybe your own prejudices have affected >your hearing...

Women cannot hear about sex?

hotte said...

@mdzlog: He does use the web, but not the way we do:
http://lwn.net/Articles/262570/

jorge said...

Thanks for this post, I also felt that the comments were inappropriate.

Sandy said...

Thanks for pointing this out, Lefty. I, too, found it offensive. But then, I was already upset at how he treated you and Andreia during the Q&A session because you dared to use the word "open" (not even talking about "open source"). He clearly does not understand the issues, because he, too, has an "avowed enemy".

It was very frustrating, and I had to leave during the Q&A because I was so upset and disappointed in RMS, after looking forward to hearing him speak.

Lefty said...

@Sandy, yes, this "avowed enemy" stuff strikes me as highly problematic as well (although not as outright offensive as Richard's apparent issues with treating women like human beings).

Microsoft, for all of their flaws, is not Satan Incarnate; if you demonize a person or organization in that sort of way, you've pretty much demolished any potential opportunity for discussion at any point.

I was likewise appalled at Richard's treatment of Andreia. To shout over her in an attempt to drown her out, and to deride her question as "stupid", not even having heard it--since he was talking over her rather than listening to her--was ridiculous.

Mia said...

Hi!

I haven't heard the speech or read the exact quote so I don't know in what context it was said. But to me it sounds like it was a joke making fun of the "values" of the Christian church. Christians and the Christian church generally (or traditionally) see that women should be virgin until married. This is so that their husband can have a "pure" wife that only he has touched (and monogamy is to make sure it stays that way).

Richard took this to an extreme opposite and made it into "get rid of your virginity as soon as possible". Though, in this case virginity meant "have not used Emacs", and not "have not had sex". If he mentioned women specifically it is because Christians often do it. In any case, he didn't seem to say that only men should take away this "virginity", but that members of the Emacs church should, and they can be of any gender. Basically he was saying that Emacs users should spread Emacs to more people (and possibly with an emphasis on women, I don't know), while at the same time he was making fun of Christian values.

From what I've read on his blog, Richard seems to be quite the opposite of what you think of him, at least when it comes to views about women. Some examples:

http://www.stallman.org/archives/2009-may-aug.html#04%20May%202009%20(Iraqi%20women)
http://www.stallman.org/archives/2009-may-aug.html#06%20May%202009%20(Preemptively%20smearing)
http://www.stallman.org/archives/2009-may-aug.html#05%20June%202009%20(Urgent%20Note:%20Take%20action%20for%20abortion%20rights)
http://www.stallman.org/archives/2009-may-aug.html#21%20June%202009%20(Pseudo%20withdrawal%20in%20Iraq)
http://www.stallman.org/archives/2009-may-aug.html#27%20June%202009%20(

Lefty said...

Mia, it was a context-free comment, just part of Richard's "St. Ignutius" shtick. I'd suggest that if a two-sentence remark on Richard's part requires two paragraphs of justification, there is something about that remark which should make you scratch your head...

(I won't even get into the appropriateness or lack thereof of bringing one's personal anti-religious prejudices into a technical conference...)

The fact remains that a lot of people found this "joke" unfunny, offensive and entirely out of place. I don't think your explanation changes that.

Mia said...

On the other hand, a few paragraphs were also needed to describe the problem with what he said, but that's beside the point.

Church of Emacs is a parody on religion. It makes perfect sense in that way to take common ideas of religions and make fun of them, and it doesn't necessarily have to be anti-religious for that.

I see it that when someone talks about something like a church based around a piece of software they are most likely not talking seriously, and not expecting people to take it seriously either. Of course, people can still become offended, especially if they don't find what was said funny. But at the same time, it's unfair to judge a person on one thing they said, and definitely when they were not being serious. That is why I think it's quite exaggerated to say that Richard has medieval views about women.

If you modified your question to be something that doesn't assume he meant harm then perhaps you could email it to him and get an answer.

Lefty said...

Mia, the "problem" with Stallman's statements is (or should be) self-evident. Certainly, it's seemed to be to pretty much everyone with whom I've discussed it here.

I have a very nice old uncle who occasionally tells extremely racist jokes, a tendency over which I've taken issue with him. I told him at one point that, love him as much as I do, I would stand up and walk out of the house and leave the next time he did that. And I did exactly that.

If, in the context of "The Church of EMACS", Stallman had started spouting racist nonsense, rather than sexist nonsense, would that also qualify as "just good fun" for you? If so, I don't think we have a good basis for conversation; if not, I have to wonder why not.

Whether he meant harm or not, in my view (and, as I've indicated, in the view of many, many others here), his comments were harmful (and demeaning, and out of place). I don't judge his intentions--everyone has "good intentions", I'm certain Jack the Ripper had "good intentions" as well--I only judge his actions.

I continue to view the entire episode as shameful.

Mia said...

I am not arguing that it was "just a joke". I would be very upset if Stallman had said something that I consider sexist, and I do recognise that many people do consider this sexist. I'm just saying that perhaps it was not his intention to be sexist, and then maybe if he was given a chance to explain himself he could also give an apology.

If he didn't mean harm he will not realize people were offended by what he said unless somebody tells him. And the best person to tell him is one that considered it offensive.

Anonymous said...

Lefty, you're the Man. Your uncle sure has learned his lesson, ain't he!

Magice said...

When Stallman spoke at my university last year, he did use the joke of virginity, but that was sex-neutral. He did not specify any sex (they versus he/she, as the first comment pointed out).

Therefore, I think there was something going on. This may mean that Stallman was burned out with work (the whole .NET + mono affair has been kind of crazy, I think) and his joke was unintentionally worsened.

cjbprime said...

It does sound like this was sexist and offensive, and that rms may have intended to say something else that would have been somewhat less sexist and offensive. Has someone considered e-mailing him to point out that what he said was offensive, and to ask him if he intends to say the same thing in the future?

- Chris (who wasn't there, but finds the description of what was said distasteful).

The Kaos Jester said...

Richard Stallman actually visited my university a few months ago, and went on the same rant. I have to say, overall, I was remarkably dismayed with his whole visit. He was dragged, screaming and kicking, into a QA with students, assaulted the Comp Sci department by insisting that we 'call it programming - [we] don't do real computer science' (even though our program is heavily theoretical), ordered dinner for everyone who went to the restaurant to eat with him, gave us the Church of Emacs shpiel (which made several of us uncomfortable), and then, to ice the cake, attempted to auction of a stuffed GNU (worth maybe $15) for $40 - and he acted shocked and suprized that no one started bidding.

Also, his perfectly spherical beer belly is quite astounding. One of my friends wanted to "just wor

If this is the picture he paints when visiting a UNIVERSITY after demanding 1000 for his trip (which he used none of on a hotel, but instead stayed with friends), I can only imagine a conference...

Harold Fowler said...

Wow, that is just WAY too cool dude!

RT
www.anonymize.tk

Anonymous said...

RMS is actually autistic or seems like it. Give him a wide berth.

It is impressive he is so capable at public speaking. He tends to say offensive things. Don't get him started about having children.

He should be more careful but also your treatment of women like sensitive children won't get us anywhere either.

Anonymous said...

Why was it in the Canary Islands? Were they trying to attract the most privileged group of pompous douches on the planet? Or, did someone get kickbacks for making it in such a remote location? Did no one realize that most people have jobs?

Anonymous said...

Is this just a rehash of the insensitivity to women mess from the 'code like a pornstar' Ruby conference some months back?

obaru said...

Stallman spoke in Montreal a few weeks ago and it was the same thing. Stale stories which I guess are supposed to titillate us or something, but really it was just boring.

Generally just internet grade humor I thought hasn't existed for 20 years. Only really glossing over the GNU license, but only to disparage other licenses other than the GNU license. Not to mention how frustrated he got when people confused the terms when asking questions.

The stupid church gettup was really not very necessary.

An eMacs? How much time is he spending on some kind of word-processing war? Seems pretty petty, some people use Vi, or emacs or pico or whatever. That's the worst thing to waste people's time on.

I'm just glad it was a free talk (not likely for the university) instead of the talk he was making at a conference.

Anonymous said...

I think you'll find Stallman easier to understand if you consider what he says from the premise that he is completely and utterly insane.

Lefty said...

Why was it in the Canary Islands?

Because the local users' groups, in conjunction with the local government, here in the Canaries made the best proposal for sponsoring the conference; in other words, the same way the decision's made every single year.

Were they trying to attract the most privileged group of pompous douches on the planet?


Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!

Idiot.

Or, did someone get kickbacks for making it in such a remote location?

Well, we all got free ice cream.

Did no one realize that most people have jobs?

Everyone who's here, with the exception of those who are students, has a job--all more-than-a-thousand of us.

There's never a substitute for actually knowing what the hell you're talking about.

Having a terrific time, extremely pleased you're not here!

Andante said...

>To shout over her in an attempt to drown her out,
>and to deride her question as "stupid", not even
>having heard it--since he was talking over her
>rather than listening to her--was ridiculous.

Actually, that was about the only answer RMS gave in the Q&A section with which I fully agreed.

Her question completely missed the point of what he'd said earlier, and while it was predictably sensationalist of RMS to call it "stupid", she certainly displayed a lack of understanding of his views on the subject, of which he was inevitably dismissive.

Anonymous said...

he eat he own foot, a shameful man

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
notrael said...

rms does whatever he wants, thats what is expected from him.

Lefty said...

...while it was predictably sensationalist of RMS to call it "stupid"...

You misspelled "disrespectful, dismissive and rude".

qmx said...

RMS is a joke. Everywhere...

Lefty said...

I'd always heard that jokes were supposed to be funny...

Brett said...

At what point does the Open Source community realise that RMS is a has-been, and has been a has-been, for coming on 10+ years? He stopped being relevant somewhere in early to mid 90s, and is unlikely to ever be relevant again due to his delusional behavior/beliefs.

Anonymous said...

Blah blah blah. This kind of whiny bullshit about unimportant details is exactly why women should be left out in the cold. Not just in the open source movement but in every job where the semantic of how and when something was told to them becomes more important than just doing your fucking job. Real programmers male or female program. Whoever wrote this is not a programmer. They just here to collect attention. Nothing to see here.

andreia|gaita said...

@Lefty: awesome post! I was so mad at the whole c# bashing session that I didn't even parse the rest, I just remember briefly blushing and thinking the guy really needed to get a life when he did the whole emacs routine.

@Andante: It seems you, like RMS, have a poor memory of what's said, or you would have noticed that RMS spent a huge chunk of time fear mongering - in a nutshell, Mono is evil, C# is evil, don't use it, bla bla bla.

After hearing nonsense like that for I don't know how long, asking him why he was doing that and why should a C# app be discriminated against is not missing the point. It *is* the point. We wrote Mono from the ground up, line by line, compiler, class libraries and applications. We wrote it as free software and as open source software because that's what we do. To call it otherwise is an insult to everyone in the community.

Jim said...

It amazes me that the open source community can demonize Steve Ballmer for years for throwing for a chair, but "Jesus" gets a free pass on the most dispicable behavior. While I don't consider all of the open source community to be "loony left", I do think this interesting pattern is just yet another of many examples of how the loony left exhibit their "open-mindedness"... they're open minded just so long as you're on their side of the argument!

Anonymous said...

C# is like a nasty bandaid for all those C developers trying to write gnome applications only to realize, yeah, C wasn't so great of OOP. Little late though...

Vala looks like a better bet.

Maybe making GTK/GLib be first class citizens in the world of D would be good as well seeing as D is actually comparable in speed to C/C++ while C# is well... not so much.

I'd much rather go write a D or Java program than a C# one, knowing full well the language features available to me.

Half of it is paranoia of Microsoft, notoriously greedy, notoriously full of crap and going against their own statements.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like you guys missed the C# letter by RMS and the related slashdot discussion.

Gotta read it carefully. Summary:

Building new things in Mono is bad, because of the risk of Microsoft patents affecting your program someday.

But...

Mono itself is good, because it helps you migrate away from closed, patent-endangered platforms.

In other words: it's better to leave C# behind and lose your Free Software virginity now, than get raped by Microsoft later.

Chris said...

And clearly you missed the announcement Microsoft made today.

Also, it's pretty clear both from that letter and from the content of his talk that Stallman was *completely* uninformed personally on any of the issues surrounding mono and C#, and was merely spouting the same inflammatory crap that comes out of other websites.

Maybe we can demonize two birds with one stone and just call them Stallowitz?

Anonymous said...

It's a well known fact that women are made of sugar and spice and all things nice. Thank goodness a big hairy chested man like you was there to protect any helpless women that were about. I'm sure any females would have had an attack of the vapours and fainted should they have heard Stallman's terrible tongue lashing. Oh the humanity !

In other words grow some balls you silly pseudo feminist ...

Anonymous said...

Richard goes on these trips because nobody in Boston will stroke his ego anymore. Even the MIT freshmen get sick of him in about a week.

If you want a speaker for your open source events, try ESR. He's batshit insane, but he's far more personable and articulate than RMS.

shevegen said...

Look, people dont call Richard a troll because he is such a big name.

But I call him a troll, and I dont care about anyone's work. He is a troll just as Drepper is one as well.

This is why I like guys like Linus or Theo - they do troll occasionally too, but they often have extremely valid points. Their coolness factor is much higher to begin with than of the other two guys (one who is unable to work with a community, and the other unable to stop pursuing a verbal propaganda model against all corporations, like Don Quichotte)

puzzlement said...

that sort of blatantly condescending, sexist, outdated nonsense...

'Tedious' is also worth a mention here. This stuff is just as boring and annoying as is anything else.

Your most hostile comment so far says in part "the semantic [sic] of how and when something was told to [women] becomes more important [to them] than just doing your fucking job." But part of the point is that something that should stand on its own merits (well, I couldn't give a stuff about editor wars personally, but let's be generous) is instead being promoted using the novel tactic of SEX. (Did you know women sometimes have SEX?) Oh wait, when I said novel I mean the oldest trick in the book.

I feel fairly safe in continuing to have contempt for arguments that I should use/develop/buy/sell something based on the fact that some men like to have sex with women. I have confidence that doing so improves my ability to do my fucking job.

Good post Lefty.

Anonymous said...

There would be no Linux if there weren't GNU first and, also, there would be no Open Source if there weren't the Free Software movement first. And there would never have been GNU or the Free Software movement if rms hadn't started them. So, please, give the man a bit of respect because he has well earned it.

Melissa said...

@anonymous

You speak of respect but I'm not quite sure you fully comprehend it's use.

I respect Richard's technical contributions and the vision he had a quarter of a century ago.

I do not owe any sort of respect to his implication that my gender is any lesser than his, or that he has any right over knowledge of any kind when it comes to my person.

R E S P E C T. Find out what it means to me.

Anonymous said...

Respect is a two-way street. I'm tired of hearing the so-called feminists yelling out to sexist claims towards women. You know what? I'll take their complaints seriously when most women stop their openly stereotypical view towards men.

John said...

It sure is funny watching you throw
mud at Stallman when you aren't even worthy to pronounce his name. What are your contributions to free software ?

Mono shilling and Microsoft advocacy ?

Anonymous said...

Lefty, go back to sucking deicaza's cock YOU MUPPET

Lefty said...

It sure is funny watching you throw mud at Stallman when you aren't even worthy to pronounce his name.

I don't make the news, pal, I just report it. If anyone's "throwing mud at Stallman", it's Stallman himself. The vast majority of folks here at the Desktop Summit seem to feel the same way.

What are your contributions to free software ?

Me, I'm a contributor to open source software; I don't impose a political agenda on other folks in the guise of technology.

That said, rather than retype it all over again, let me simply cut and paste the reply I made to one of Roy Schestowitz's pet trolls when he asked the same question on the ubuntu-devel list:

"Well, just for starts, I was instrumental in supporting Stuart Cheshire's work on ZEROCONF while I was his manager at Apple, and in getting Apple to release RendezVous/Bonjour as an open source project--Apple's first open source release ever, to the best of my knowledge. I'm also the chief open source advocate within the largest manufacturer of mobile device software in Japan. I'm also, as mentioned, on the GNOME Foundation advisory board, as well as a founding member of GNOME Mobile, a multiple-year sponsor of open source conferences such as GUADEC and FOSTEL, a multiple-time speaker at the Linux Symposium, one of the key mobile open source advocates within the Linux Foundation, and chair of the Open Source Committee at the LiMo Foundation, as well as chairing the "Mobile Day" at LinuxCon later this year.

Just for starts."

So, what have you done for free software, John?

Anonymous said...

bitch, STFU

Lefty said...

Lefty, go back to sucking deicaza's cock YOU MUPPET

It's always refreshing to see the deep thought and subtle nuance that goes into the responses from Dr. Stallman's ardent defenders.

Lefty said...

bitch, STFU

I can't help but be amazed by such eloquence. I suppose the presence of this sort of amazing brainpower around the FSF must explain things like "the HURD"...

Eric said...

I don't like to go to other people's site and leave lewd comments, but you Anonymous Idiots need to stop swinging on Stallman's nuts and get a life of your own. Respect is for the respectable and respectable RMS is not. He is a has been with an over inflated sense of self worth. He is no longer relevant.

Saying someone should be respected for something they did a long time ago no matter how they act today is stupid. He is like a little baby crying in a corner hoping someone will notice him. He did a lot for the open source community... once upon a time. Now he is an embarrassment who needs people to run around anonymously trying to defend his stupidity.

Anonymous said...

@Chris Here's the related slashdot story which has some interesting comments as well.

This was posted after Stallman's letter, so I'm interested in what his comments are now that this has been made official.

I'm still wary of Microsoft, but this is a good first step in the right direction. I certainly don't get the impression that Microsoft is suddenly all love and smiles toward the GPL camp.

Anonymous said...

@Eric I think what people respect him for is his relative consistency. It is almost entirely predictable what his position will be on a given software matter. That kind of consistency is rare, and, in its own way, respectable even today, whether you agree with his viewpoint or not.

regala said...

@Anonymous: being a consistent ass doesn't justify being an ass. slipery slope that is.

Anonymous said...

The man is excentric, now stop whining and take your vegetarian complaints somewherelse oh crap!!

Anonymous said...

Regardless of the merits or demerits of RMS's talk, your behaviour in publishing private email is undignified. Reading this blogpost and the subsequent comments my main reaction has been one of embarrassment. For you, for the ones who attacked you, the entire episode is a poor reflection on our community.

Misha Shnurapet said...

Absolutely no sense. You've just cried like a baby. People like you should be ashamed of such behavior and words about other people. Moreover, people like you must quit doing whatever at Open Source.

Lefty said...

Absolutely no sense. You've just cried like a baby. People like you should be ashamed of such behavior and words about other people. Moreover, people like you must quit doing whatever at Open Source.

Um, what?

Anonymous said...

I'm not at gran canaria but I saw RMS speak at fosdem a few years ago.

I respect him for what he's done and what he is doing, but by god, if open source is vegetarianism then that man is worse then a vegan.

He also remarked about some unruly children, if someone could remove those "spawns". I'm still not sure if he tried to be funny, but it was readily apparent that he wasn't.

I'm not really sure what to think of the man, but i've chosen that I like him better as a generic symbol then an actual person.

Anonymous said...

I respect him for what he's done and what he is doing, but by god, if open source is vegetarianism then that man is worse then a vegan.

Nailed it!

While I admire his thoughts and ideas, his absolute neglect for perspective and the black-and-white opinions bordering on religiousness is what really pisses me off.

Go Lefty!

Anonymous said...

Evidently the irony of men running to the defense of women, Prince Charming-style, all in the name of combating alleged sexism (which has become rather like all the other -isms that we don't like, in that we begin seeing them where they probably don't exist), is completely lost on you.

Oh and, yes, Microsoft kinda is our Devil incarnate, by their own private statements if not public admission. Where have you been for the last, oh, decade-and-a-half? It might even be safe to say that Microsoft, while not the impetus of the FLOSS movement, has filled the role of a primary driving force behind it. Why else would we be doing all this, if not to escape some perceived evil? If Microsoft, et al, ain't all that bad, then why aren't we happily on board with them?

Answer: because proprietary software is the Devil incarnate. Ah, but that's not just an emotional statement! No, there is *logic* behind it! And guess who has spent a quarter-century elucidating them better than any other lone voice? Right, the guy you're presently dumping on.

Good job attacking the eccentric, long-haired, bearded guy. Easy targets get easy laughs and lots of peer approval. Why am I not surprised that you people don't heap derision upon Eric Raymond for his right-wing extremism and borderline racism? Right, because he shares your software ideology, unlike RMS, who is a bit too serious about his principles for your taste.

Anonymous said...

It seems that only a few actual women have had a chance to weigh in, so I'll add my thoughts even though this is at the bottom of a zillion comments and no-one will read it.

Anonymous said: "This kind of whiny bullshit about unimportant details is exactly why women should be left out in the cold."

This is the fundamental disconnect. Over and over, I've encountered guys who think there's something wrong with women when they get upset about absolutely anything. Girls in mostly-male online communities get told to put up with endless verbal abuse or leave- this happens ALL THE TIME- because they're being total annoying wusses if they say they don't want to be called the c-word every other sentence. In addition, the guys act like the girl is rubbing her femininity in their faces whenever she refers to herself with a feminine pronoun or says anything remotely girly.

As someone who's been on IRC for several years, I feel like internet culture is perpetually trying to repress my gender and recast me as a guy, to the point where I have to meticulously be gender-neutral when posting to a new forum or joining a new channel. Guys: if you were perpetually ostracized *everywhere* you went, you'd get annoyed over stuff like this too. As other people have said, substitute "white" for male and "black" for female and most of the things said against girls and women online suddenly seem a lot more offensive, and it's the same kind of difference.

- Abadidea

mdzlog said...

Feeling a bit perturbed about the backlash in the comments here? I am.

william said...
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dannybuntu said...

Hi, my name is danny and I'm a nobody in all of these. I'm just a blogger.

In my sublimely humble opinion:

I think people should just chill and try to keep discourse to a professional level.

It would be prudent to distance Open Source and Free Software from all the other issues of our lives.

FLOSS cannot fix all the other issues be they political, philosophical, sexual, whatever.

We cannot fix people. So let's not put labels on people.

Concentrate on the Code.

Everybody will always have issues with anybody. Always. Be it their brand of shoe, necktie or religion.

"I may not always agree with what you are saying, but I'll sure defend your right to say it."

However, be civil in saying it.

Thank you have a nice day. Good bye

Julio César Fernández said...

I would say sexist comment. Highlight anything about female sexuality that should be corrected by man. Wow, this guy is passing.