Talk:Richard Stallman

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Influenced by....[edit]

It is too presumptuous to add to the infobox that he was influenced by Immanual Kant? The GNU Manifesto says "The reason a good citizen does not use such destructive means to become wealthier is that, if everyone did so, we would all become poorer from the mutual destructiveness. This is Kantian ethics; or, the Golden Rule." Stallman has clearly remained true to the manifesto he authored but he as yet to publish a single-volume "Stallman Manifesto" his activism of the past 20 years which goes beyond merely software. He does not mention Kant a lot, but he seems very consistent with Kantian ethics and I suppose he avoids mentioning the categorical imperative would put a lot of his tu[oca; audience to sleep. I think it would save the reader some time to have that hint in the infobox.-- (talk) 23:29, 24 March 2013 (UTC)

It isn't about being presumptuous, although it is, it is about violating WP:OR. You might conclude this is the case, but unless a reliable source says that he is an influence, then it isn't allowed. You might also want to read WP:SYNTH. This is clearly not allowed here, in any way. In short, you don't get to connect the dots as an editor, that is the job of the reliable source. Our job in writing an encyclopedia is solely to publish what others have already clearly said, but in summary form. Dennis Brown - © Join WER 23:35, 24 March 2013 (UTC)
Uh-huh.-- (talk) 23:57, 24 March 2013 (UTC)
I removed the footnote with the implied influence suggested. The now blocked proxy IP user suggestion is original research, as the above mentioning of kant is limited to a specific context and scope. Without a source that explicit paint Immanual Kant as an influence source, we can not use it in the article. Belorn (talk) 08:18, 3 April 2013 (UTC)

Free software in developing countries[edit]

Thumperward removed the section header "Free software in developing countries" from the rest of Stallman's "Software freedom" activism. His explanation was: ‎"Software freedom: this doesn't need its own subsection, and should be integrated with the rest of the section". I think it should be put back in.--Thunktuny (talk) 16:51, 31 March 2013 (UTC)

There is no need to have an extra "Free software in developing countries" section. There is nothing inherently different about Stallman's views towards free software in developing countries and his views towards free software in "developed" countries. The paragraphs from that section are more about his travels to/advocacy within these countries than anything to do with country specific views on free software.-- Mrmatiko (talk) 18:18, 31 March 2013 (UTC)
There is a strong pattern: which countries are willing to honor him with an audience with their head of state? It is not just what Stallman might say: we are supposed to describe the whole situation and the subsection helps to organize the information into a formate that is easy to understand quickly. You know, it might be a consequence of his attitude about not wearing a tie and his acceptance speech when he won the Torvalds award and stuff like that. I mean really: do you think that Obama wants site through some speech from Stallman where he cannot help from saying the word "freedom" 20 times in five minutes?-- (talk) 18:39, 31 March 2013 (UTC)
As I said, Stallman doesn't have views on free software that are specific to developing countries, a section header that implies such views would be inaccurate. -- Mrmatiko (talk) 20:11, 31 March 2013 (UTC)
Whoa! Wait a second... Is the Wikimedia Foundation's purpose to be a soapbox for the shaggy gods of this world or to describe the NPOV reality? WAKE UP and please re-read WP:NOTTRUTHand WP:NOTSOAPBOX together and integrate the two policies in your mind, rather than the way that Stallman FAILED to integrate the subsystems Hurd.-- (talk) 21:13, 31 March 2013 (UTC)
I suppose this marks the end of the discussion. --AVRS (talk) 10:19, 1 April 2013 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── If it weren't heading to a natural end, that both the recent IPs have been blocked as open proxies suggests that it would have ended anyway. I've removed some further critical commentary along the same lines, as this isn't supposed to be a general discussion forum. Chris Cunningham (user:thumperward) (talk) 14:13, 1 April 2013 (UTC)

Context or analysis?[edit]

Stallman has a lot of stuff under his "Activism" section now and it is better organized than it was a month ago. For such a large section, I think that it seems to go straight into line-items with little context. Thumperward removed the following, claiming it was "analysis". I think that some of it should be restored as context, in order to order to provide a more proper introduction to such a large section.

Stallman extends his philosophy to political issues and the largest part of his personal web site amounts to a daily political blog. The GNU Manifesto lays down an outline based on the ethical philosophy of Immanuel Kant and Stallman strives to maintain consistent with it in his own behavior in order to avoid the appearance of hypocrisy. The GNU Manifesto and the Open Letter to Hobbyists help to define the spectrum of the dialog where Stallman is at one end, acting as an anchorman. He often mentions political issues as asides in his public speaking.

-- (talk) 22:28, 4 April 2013 (UTC)

It's context spun from thin air. This isn't an essay. We need to present Stallman as he is presented by third-party sources, rather than simply picking random factoids about him and weaving them into a narrative, which is precisely what the above section does. The overemphasis on Kant was discussed previously. Chris Cunningham (user:thumperward) (talk) 11:00, 5 April 2013 (UTC)
WP:BOLD. Matter resolved.-- (talk) 16:09, 6 April 2013 (UTC)

That is a lot of work lost[edit]

User:Alison just came in and blew away about a month's worth of progress on the article. An entire month's world of effort by many people because one highly-privileged person says so. What is the project coming to? I would think it is tie for an RfC on this Alison.-- (talk) 08:28, 8 April 2013 (UTC)

For reference/undoing/picking-through-the-edits: --AVRS (talk) 09:12, 8 April 2013 (UTC)
The policy is quite clear in this case: WP:EVASION tells us to revert and only keep obviously helpful changes. Since the edits are done by a sockpuppet user, using proxies to evade blocks, its worth taking a extra hard look through the edits. Belorn (talk) 08:05, 9 April 2013 (UTC)
Then there's this - just so you know where this is goin - Alison 15:20, 9 April 2013 (UTC)

I unrelatedly rejigged the intro[edit]

I wouldn't usually leave a note, but having seen the above comment, I thought I should explain that my edit has nothing to do with whatever's been happening over the past days/weeks.

The rationale for my change is that the previous intro started with a paragraph containing a list of dongles, eulas, non-disclosure agreements, binaries, source code, etc. Such a list doesn't define Stallman, so it's not the best way to fill the first paragraph.

I think I kept all the words that were there, but I moved things around and grouped sentences into paragraphs that I think are more coherent.

Here's my wonderful edit: [1].

(update: actually, I made the following substantial changes

  • removed GNU core utils - he wrote some bits but it's not what he's famous for
  • removed bit about licences being contracts - that's true in continental Europe but not in Anglo-Saxon systems (where "consideration" (some form of ~payment) is required)
  • I added that he's gotten 14 honorary doctorates for his work - confirms notability)

Gronky (talk) 15:16, 12 April 2013 (UTC)

That's cool because I now realize that it had been written in an unencyclopedic way, due to original research. Now it says it from his position, and I assume/hope it's sourced.Smuckola (Email) (Talk) 18:42, 12 April 2013 (UTC)
I hope my version of the text shows a neutral position. I changed the content only slightly. Some parts are sourced - seven references are given. Some things have no source because they're obvious. An example is the end of the first paragraph, where it says he's famous for GNU, FSF, GCC, Emacs, and the GPL (maybe "copyleft" should be added). This could be sourced if necessary, just find a few links to speaker bios that conferences publish about him. But it's too obvious and non-controversial to need a reference, IMO. Other things lack sources because they're explained and sourced later in the article, an example is the sentence about him having 14 honorary doctorates (the WP rules allow this for intro paragraphs, but off the top of my head I don't know which rule). Gronky (talk) 19:52, 12 April 2013 (UTC)

He's Jewish, right?[edit]

After having checked a couple of sources I'm quite confident Stallman is a Jew, can anyone confirm that for sure before I add it to the article? Thanks,Yambaram (talk) 10:01, 18 April 2013 (UTC)

Please see the archive, and in particularly, this one. Basically, there seems to be implied that a interview with Stallman has him self-identified himself as having Jewish ancestry, and as being an atheist. However, some wikipedia editors has raised the issue that Jewish descent is not relevant/interesting enough to warrant a place in the article. However, the article is already tagged with American people of Jewish descent so I don't see adding the fact about Jewish descent to the article text itself would be wrong. Please don't forget the "descent" part, as "is a Jew" is ambiguous in this case.
If it gets added, it should be only a very minor mention. It's not something he promotes and it's not something that he or others use as a defining characteristic. Atheism, on the other hand, is something he promotes and it's something he mentions often (without being asked), so atheism could be used as a yardstick: mentions of his jewishness should be much more minor than whatever mentions the article has of atheism. Gronky (talk) 21:29, 18 April 2013 (UTC)
Thank you for the feedback guys. Sorry I should have checked the archives before asking, next time I'll do it. I added it here. Yambaram (talk) 03:32, 19 April 2013 (UTC)
I am one of a number of editors who are perplexed by the tendency to apply labels like "Jewish" to people, where there is no clear indication that the label has some significance to the life of the subject. I have reverted the text ("Despite the fact that Stallman is of a Jewish descent") because there is no reason why being of Jewish descent should preclude someone from being an atheist, so "despite" is wrong; also, is there a source and a reason to include such a factoid?. Johnuniq (talk) 03:59, 19 April 2013 (UTC)
I'm not sure how significant this is but here we see Stallman drawing upon a clearly Jewish reference to Hillel the Elder. Bus stop (talk) 09:16, 19 April 2013 (UTC)
It's not significant. If Stallman made a habit of drawing inspiration from Jewish sources we'd have a reliable source stating so. Chris Cunningham (user:thumperward) (talk) 13:43, 24 April 2013 (UTC)
If what American_Jews#Religious_beliefs says is true, that "atheist despite Jewish" detail you've added is absurd. --AVRS (talk) 09:33, 19 April 2013 (UTC)
It's absurd regardless. Free As In Freedom provides more than enough context to evaluate Stallman's ethnoreligious background, which makes it plain that there is nothing particularly notable about the union in question. Chris Cunningham (user:thumperward) (talk) 13:43, 24 April 2013 (UTC)
We may be justified in saying "Stallman is of Jewish ancestry and he is an atheist" because in this source Stallman says, when prompted by an interviewer, "I am an atheist but of Jewish ancestry." Bus stop (talk) 14:41, 24 April 2013 (UTC)
IMO, that is a very insignificant mention. I guess those who care can infer it from the last names mentioned in the article. --AVRS (talk) 18:58, 24 April 2013 (UTC)
I took a stronger word at first, but replaced it with a neutral one. --AVRS (talk) 19:20, 24 April 2013 (UTC)
Bus stop, thanks for the helpful links, I'm not sure why and what this big of a deal is all about. To users: Johnuniq, AVRS, and Thumperward - what makes you so determined to make sure that any reference of him being culturally/with Jewish ancestry is removed? I'm sure there're a lot of "insignificant mentions" (as you said) in this article, why continually pick on that one? Besides, I and other people find it important and significant, and it sure adds to the article. Since reliable sources isn't the issue here, I edited it again, you may see the minor changes I made. Yambaram (talk) 00:23, 26 April 2013 (UTC)
Putting it in the article makes it seem consequential, but there's nothing to show that being Jewish is a defining characteristic of Stallman. (Maybe it's comparable to adding a sentence "Stallman's grandparents had brown hair" ?) We could flesh out that sentence with another one explaining that there's no indication that he's "culturally Jewish", doesn't promote the Jewish community and only mentions his Jewishness when asked, but that might be giving undue weight to a minor issue.
The article is already in the Jewish-Americans category. Maybe that's enough. Anyone who's interested can find the information. But I'm not going to remove it. I'm actually undecided.
And there is one aspect of Stallman that might be influenced by his Jewishness: in his political notes, he's very critical of Israel. I wonder if he feels that as (someone who could be called) a Jew, he has a particular duty to denounce wrong-doings which could be seen as being done in the name of Jews. He's been publishing his political notes on a daily basis for more than ten years, so they are without doubt a defining part of who he is. Gronky (talk) 02:53, 27 April 2013 (UTC)
Gronky, thanks for improving the article and bringing out these interesting points here - I greatly appreciate your NPOV attitude. Yambaram (talk) 05:52, 27 April 2013 (UTC)
Not any reference, but the assumption that being a Jewish, he should be religious or anything. The Russian article contained a short "born in a Jewish family" in the bio section; it has been removed, but it was neutral as to what that might mean to anybody. --AVRS (talk) 06:56, 27 April 2013 (UTC)
No he shouldn't be religious or anything, since it's a tiny mention that does no harm to the article but only makes it more informative (you may see "Who is a Jew?" if you will). As a side note - the Hebrew article as well as some other ones in different wikis do say that He's Jewish. The fact that the Russian article about Stallman contained this and then it got removed means nothing but that someone didn't want it mentioned in the article just as much as someone else did. Yambaram (talk) 19:21, 27 April 2013 (UTC)
That was just an example of a neutral mention. It was not about the fact that it was added/removed or whether it was notable. --AVRS (talk) 08:11, 28 April 2013 (UTC)
Ok I see. Please let me quote what an anonymous user said on this talk page a few years ago when a similar argument came up: "...What's the difference between a person born in a Black/Asian/Irish family and so forth? Yet every notable person articled on Wikipedia has a blurb about their ethnicity regardless of its impact on their lives. People want to know." Yambaram (talk) 15:10, 30 April 2013 (UTC)
That claim seems to be false. I just quickly checked the 14 biography articles currently linked from Main Page and very few have ethnicity details. Examples of ethnicity being mentioned with clear reasoning are Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands (because that's why he's king) and Romeo Santos (because he makes the music of his parents region). John Draper Perrin is a rare example of ethnicity details without comment on why they're important. And at the other end of the spectrum, the Jason Collins article doesn't even mention that he's black. Of course, 14 articles is a small sample, and I'd guess that ethnicity is more relevant for articles about North Americans since for most other regions, things are simpler: Italians are generally of italian origin, and Britons of british, but even the North Americans in the 14 articles I checked don't show a trend for mentioning ethnicity. Gronky (talk) 03:15, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
Hi and thanks for taking the time to do this short research, we all know this argument can go on forever and therefore I see no point in continuing it. But I hope we both agree on the fact that in many cases, and particularly this one, there's no such thing as "the right answer/solution". Yambaram (talk) 23:06, 2 May 2013 (UTC)

Decline of MIT hacker culture 4th Paragraph[edit]

What does the fourth paragraph of Decline of MIT hacker culture contribute to the article? I am in favor of removing it due to irrelevance. --Jackson Peebles (talk) 08:28, 2 May 2013 (UTC)

It could certainly be shorter but I think his work in that period, mentioned at the end of the paragraph, is important. It was his last big project before launching GNU.
His community was falling apart and defusing Symbolics' work was his first attempt to defend his way of life. When he saw the long term weakness of this strategy he stopped trying to defend or bring back his old community, with its inherent vulnerabilities, and instead launched the GNU project and a movement to create a new community which would be more resiliant and would help society at large rather than just the few who were in his small community.
Cloning Symbolics' software was two years of full time and was clearly a formative part of his life's work and his thinking.
As well as shortening that paragraph, we should probably make it clearer why this is important.
If you do remove some parts, it would be best to move them to some other article. Is there an article about MIT hacker culture or about the community that formed alongside the official activities of the AI lab? I can't find one. I only found an article with a section about the official activities of the AI lab: MIT_Computer_Science_and_Artificial_Intelligence_Laboratory#LCS_and_AI_Lab. Gronky (talk) 09:23, 2 May 2013 (UTC)
The content of the MIT-subsection is crucial to understanding why RMS did what he did. He was planning to be a physicist (his undergrad major), or maybe a biologist (his summer job before college), but during his employment at MIT he switched careers from physicist to programmer, and then from programmer to freedom-activist slash programmer by the end of his work at MIT. As Gronky says, the MIT-subsection covers RMS's formative years. By 1985, he was much the same as he is nowadays, but in 1975 his vision had yet to crystallize. (talk) 18:21, 10 September 2013 (UTC)

Where should we document the decline of the AI lab?[edit]

I started trying to review the section "Decline of MIT hacker culture" (after the discussion above), but I don't want to delete anything without being sure it's documented somewhere on Wikipedia.

It looks like it should go in another article. This article should say how it affected Stallman, and the general info should go in another article which isn't about any single person.

I'm not sure the hacker-culture-of-the-MIT-AI-Lab-of-the-1970s, involving less than 100 individuals, is sufficiently Notable to deserve an article all by itself -- the offspring of that culture, namely the LISP programming language, the various Lisp Machine efforts, and the free-as-in-freedom culture of the FSF all have their own individual articles. (Not to mention AI itself.) Only in the case of RMS, however, was the *preservation* of the old culture a primary goal. The primary goal of LISP folks is to have a powerful language for expressing programs, and running them on computers. The primary goal of LispM efforts was to build computers optimized for LISP. Plenty of hacker-culture folks were involved with both types of work. However, the FSF is fundamentally *about* creating a culture (or sustaining a culture -- or creating a sustainable variant of the old culture). In short, I disagree that the info should be moved elsewhere; there was no outward 'decline' by any objective measure at all. RMS is talking about a *moral* decline, not a numerical one. p.s. The main hacker-as-a-good-thing article already covers what is necessary to that broader topic, including mention of RMS and MIT AI. (talk) 18:21, 10 September 2013 (UTC)

The article can't be called "Decline of MIT hacker culture", because many would argue that MIT hacker culture is alive and well: Hacks at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

That is the incorrect article; it is Yet Another Variation On The Meaning Of Hack. Just at MIT, there are the following types of hackers/hacks: the hacker-as-a-ethical-programmer subculture, of which RMS is a key example. The mischievous-and-technically-complex prank subculture, which you mention. Note that the wikipedia article on prank-hacks does not have a very clear idea of the Hack Value criterion, outlined under the programmer-subculture article -- the Simmons Smiley, which was done tediously and manually, has a low hack value. Contrast with the Green Building Voxmeter Hack, in which the banks of lights automatically went on and off, in response to roars of the crowd across the river at the fireworks display, which has a medium-high hack value (it took more technical skill to pull off). In the middle of those two is the idea of the hack-adjective applied to a particular piece of software or a particular sort of software project, which can be somewhat disparaging (that code is a totally inelegant hack), or have a qualified positive aspect (what a great hack it would be if...), and sometimes both simultaneously; this is a subtle area. Seemingly unrelated at first, there is also the phenomenon of exploring basements and crawlspaces which comes under the 'hacking' rubric -- partly because, it often takes hacker-like technical skills to get access to such areas in the first place, e.g. bypassing security systems, and such access is often a prerequisite for the prank-hacks mentioned earlier. Roof and tunnel hackers are the opposite of computer-crackers (and burglars for that matter -- compare the Tolkien scene where the dwarf mentions that some of them call themselves Expert Treasure Hunters methinks), since they are exploring/climbing for fun, and without malice. But you can see the small toe-hold the modern definition of 'hacker' as evil-genius-programmer-who-breaks-into-computers originally stemmed from: something to do with computers, and something to do with bypassing security. See also Script_kiddie, someone who is not a hacker (in any sense). See also the disambiguation page. (talk) 18:21, 10 September 2013 (UTC)
For the purposes of the RMS article, his concern was solely with the hacker-as-a-programmer culture, not mischievous pranks, not crawlspace exploration, and certainly not script-kiddies. In some ways, RMS has redefined the meaning of hacker: from what I can tell (original research sorry!) in the early days it purely meant skill, but nowadays, there is also an ethical connotation. Even in days of yore, however, often the same person would satisfy many senses simultaneously: technical skill at programming, ethical stance on sharing knowledge, enjoyment of pranks requiring both ethics and technical skill to pull off, enjoyment of exploring, resistance to authoritarian security mechanisms (and technical skill to overcome them). Cf the RMS incident in 1977 where he decrypted the passwd file; don't know whether he ever explored rooftops, but it's not pertinent to the article in any case. (talk) 18:21, 10 September 2013 (UTC)
Update, RMS did personally perform[2] some roof-and-tunnel style hacking, or at least, 'ceiling tile' hacking, for the purpose of getting access to computer time on the big iron of the 1970s -- unclear from this source whether it was for himself, or for other hackers, or a combination thereof. (talk) 23:14, 13 September 2013 (UTC)

"MIT AI Lab" wouldn't be good either since that existed from 1973-2003 years (and after as CSAIL) and I'd only planning on documenting one aspect which ended in the mid-80s.

Unofficially the AI Lab existed since 1956, at the Dartmouth conference; cf Marvin Minsky and over at Stanford John McCarthy. By the time RMS showed up in 1971 as a Harvard undergrad, and then in 1974 as a 'physics' grad student, the AI Lab was running full speed. The official name was recognition of the *existing* R&D program, not the other way around. The RMS paper with Sussman in 1977 was on backtracking, and AI technique, nothing to do with physics. (talk) 18:21, 10 September 2013 (UTC)
Correction, he showed up in fall 1970 at harvard, age 17, due to skipping a grade[3] somewhere in the K-12 range. (talk) 23:14, 13 September 2013 (UTC)

Maybe "MIT AI Lab's hacker community"? But I don't know, does everyone agree that this community did disappear? I mean, what's the post-Stallman history of that hacker community? And can we even call it a "community" when most people there (including RMS) were employees?

Touching your last point first -- just because people are employees (or students -- or in the case of many folks in this particular historical situation both) does not mean culture cannot form. That is what is meant by corporate culture, school spirit, et cetera. But to RMS, methinks the culture was not tied to the physical location of the AI Lab, it was tied to the joy of programming, and using the internet to build a community of the mind: MIT AI + MIT LCS + MIT Physics + Stanford + Berkeley + CMU and beyond. (talk) 18:21, 10 September 2013 (UTC)
I think this is the key to understanding the situation: there was an implicit hacker-as-a-good-thing community, at MIT/Stanford&Berkeley/CMU, during the 1960s, and probably earlier (telephony & ham radio & so on). The big change was the Internet and email, in 1972, which hooked these together for the first time. RMS enjoyed his time in that community from 1971 through 1977, when password-systems started cropping up, but he found a way around that. By 1979 or 1980, though, commercialization of software-as-a-product was accelerating, as evidenced by scribe/xerox7900/symbolics (not to mention Bill Gates and his open letter to hobbyists). Until that point, the software was never a product: only the hardware. If you owned the hardware, you always had access to the software, including the source, because it was necessary. Applications in those days needed to treasure every byte of RAM, and maximize every CPU cycle. This meant full access to the OS, driver, and any other source code. (talk) 18:21, 10 September 2013 (UTC)
Anyways, the 'community' did not disappear. There were still plenty of hacker-programmers at MIT/Stanford/Berkeley/CMU/etc. They still emailed each other. They still wrote software. But what changed is -- from RMS's perspective dramatically for the worse -- they no longer felt free (as in freedom) to share code with each other. They had signed non-disclosure-agreements, and were often working on proprietary software products. Software-as-a-product was now commercialized. RMS was not against commercialization itself, as evidenced by his statements and documents: he was against keeping secrets, withholding information, stifling education, and such. There was still a community of technically-skilled hackers, and is to this day, but RMS wanted them also to be *sharing* technically-skilled hackers, rather than *secretive* technically-skilled hackers. Before about 1979, sharing had been the default behavior, but external changes caused the community to choose sides later. (talk) 18:21, 10 September 2013 (UTC)
Perhaps the best description of the 'decline' of the community is to say there was a three-way fork: RMS promoting the idea that software should remain free-as-in-freedom, Richard Greenblatt promoting the idea that commercialization of software-as-a-bundled-product should proceed without severing ties to the university and without bringing in venture capital, and a large group of people (notably Guy Steele @ Sun Microsystems + Earl Killian @ MIPS + David Moon @ Symbolics + Dan Weinreb @ Symbolics + Bernie Greenberg @ Symbolics + John Kulp @ Symbolics + prolly others) joining various corporations which used venture capital money to commercialize software-as-a-bundled-product. Later, there was Lucid, which was trying to commercialize pure-software-as-a-product (cf Microsoft). The interesting thing about RMS is that he not only worked toward the idea of free-as-in-freedom (his 1982 to 1983 LispM clones and his 1984 to present UNIX clones), he also came up with a mechanism for protecting and propagating his idea: copyleft, and the GPL. That was his key Original Contribution to humanity.  :-) Other folks at the time did not even necessarily disagree with RMS; they were pursuing the options they saw as available, and in 1980 there was no such thing as the GPL, or even a precursor thereof. That's not to say that everybody mentioned above is now a cheerleader for the GPL and for RMS -- they are not -- but to put the historical events in their proper historical context. (talk) 18:21, 10 September 2013 (UTC)

I guess I should just get started working on it and we can change the title and scope as our knowledge accumulates. Gronky (talk) 22:17, 21 May 2013 (UTC)

I'm not going to do it this month, so I'll just note a few pages here that could give ideas:
.Gronky (talk) 08:36, 22 May 2013 (UTC)
Some summary-commentary on those links, to wrap up my inline comments in your paragraphs above.
  • Hacker_(programmer_subculture) This is the core idea of hacker-as-a-good-thing, meaning high technical skill used productively, but is subtly distinct from the hacker-ethic (below).
  • Hackers: Heroes of the Computer Revolution This book covers the hacker-ethic, see below.
  • Hacks at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology This concept is historically intertwined, but basically unrelated to what RMS is about.
  • Hacker ethic RMS basically *invented* this. Prior to 1984, hacker-as-good was mostly or entirely referring to skill, not ethics.
  • Lisp Machines Computer hardware, first prototyped in 1974. RMS contributed to the OS; the LispM editor EINE ("eine is not emacs") was written in 1976 or 1977 by Dan Weinreb & Mike McMahon, with Daniel Moon & Guy Steele, at about the same time as RMS, again with Daniel Moon & Guy Steele plus John Kulp, were working on the transition from TECMACS to ?MACS (actual name) to EMACS. RMS spent a couple years cloning the commercialized versions of EINE, plus a lot of other LispM software, in 1982 and 1983. (talk) 18:21, 10 September 2013 (UTC)
  • Symbolics One of the primary LispM corporations, but not the only one: see also LMI, Xerox PARC, Texas Instruments. Other important workstation-trends were BSD on Suns, and SYSV. (talk) 18:21, 10 September 2013 (UTC)

Splitting up this section: Decline of MIT hacker culture[edit]

1. I was researching something else (history of text editors), and ran across this portion of the article. There are some deficiencies I'd like to correct; in particular, as mentioned by Gronky above, the section-title is misleading ("decline" is not an NPOV word-choice). Below is the current content of the sections in question, as of 2013-09-09. (talk) 18:21, 10 September 2013 (UTC)

[Section -- Early Years] ... As a first-year student at Harvard University, Stallman was known for his strong performance in Math 55.[1] In 1971 he became a programmer at the MIT Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, and became a regular in the hacker community, where he was usually known by his initials, rms (which was the name of his computer accounts).[2] Stallman graduated from Harvard magna cum laude earning an AB in Physics in 1974.[3]

Stallman enrolled as a graduate student at MIT, but then ended his pursuit of a doctorate in physics to focus on his programming at the MIT AI Laboratory.

While a graduate student at MIT, Stallman published a paper with Gerald Jay Sussman on an AI truth maintenance system, called dependency-directed backtracking.[4] This paper was an early work on the problem of intelligent backtracking in constraint satisfaction problems. As of 2003, the technique Stallman and Sussman introduced is still the most general and powerful form of intelligent backtracking.[5] The technique of constraint recording, wherein partial results of a search are recorded for later reuse, was also introduced in this paper.[5]

As a hacker in MIT's AI laboratory, Stallman worked on software projects such as TECO, Emacs, and the Lisp machine operating system. He would become an ardent critic of restricted computer access in the lab, which at that time was funded primarily by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. When MIT's Laboratory for Computer Science (LCS) installed a password control system in 1977, Stallman found a way to decrypt the passwords and sent users messages containing their decoded password, with a suggestion to change it to the empty string (that is, no password) instead, to re-enable anonymous access to the systems. Around 20% of the users followed his advice at the time, although passwords ultimately prevailed. Stallman boasted of the success of his campaign for many years afterward.[6]

[Section] Decline of MIT hacker culture.

In the late 1970s and early 1980s, the hacker culture that Stallman thrived on began to fragment. To prevent software from being used on their competitors' computers, most manufacturers stopped distributing source code and began using copyright and restrictive software licenses to limit or prohibit copying and redistribution. Such proprietary software had existed before, and it became apparent that it would become the norm. This shift in the legal characteristics of software can be regarded as a consequence triggered by the U.S. Copyright Act of 1976, as stated by Stallman's MIT fellow Brewster Kahle.[7]

When Brian Reid in 1979 placed time bombs in the Scribe markup language and word processing system to restrict unlicensed access to the software, Stallman proclaimed it "a crime against humanity."[8] He clarified, years later, that it is blocking the user's freedom that he believes is a crime, not the issue of charging for the software.[9]

In 1980, Stallman and some other hackers at the AI Lab were refused access to the source code for the software of a newly installed laser printer, the Xerox 9700. Stallman had modified the software for the Lab's previous laser printer (the XGP, Xerographic Printer), so it electronically messaged a user when the person's job was printed, and would message all logged-in users waiting for print jobs if the printer was jammed. Not being able to add these features to the new printer was a major inconvenience, as the printer was on a different floor from most of the users. This experience convinced Stallman of people's need to be free to modify the software they use.[10]

Richard Greenblatt, a fellow AI Lab hacker, founded Lisp Machines, Inc. (LMI) to market Lisp machines, which he and Tom Knight designed at the lab. Greenblatt rejected outside investment, believing that the proceeds from the construction and sale of a few machines could be profitably reinvested in the growth of the company. In contrast, the other hackers felt that the venture capital-funded approach was better. As no agreement could be reached, hackers from the latter camp founded Symbolics, with the aid of Russ Noftsker, an AI Lab administrator. Symbolics recruited most of the remaining hackers including notable hacker Bill Gosper, who then left the AI Lab. Symbolics also forced Greenblatt to resign by citing MIT policies. While both companies delivered proprietary software, Stallman believed that LMI, unlike Symbolics, had tried to avoid hurting the lab's community. For two years, from 1982 to the end of 1983, Stallman worked by himself to clone the output of the Symbolics programmers, with the aim of preventing them from gaining a monopoly on the lab's computers.[6]

Stallman argues that software users should have the freedom to share with their neighbor and to be able to study and make changes to the software that they use. He maintains that attempts by proprietary software vendors to prohibit these acts are antisocial and unethical.[11] The phrase "software wants to be free" is often incorrectly attributed to him, and Stallman argues that this is a misstatement of his philosophy.[12] He argues that freedom is vital for the sake of users and society as a moral value, and not merely for pragmatic reasons such as possibly developing technically superior software. Eric S. Raymond, creator of the open source movement, argues that moral arguments, rather than pragmatic ones, alienate potential allies and hurts the end goal of removing code secrecy.[13]

In February 1984, Stallman quit his job at MIT to work full-time on the GNU project, which he had announced in September 1983.


  1. ^ Cite error: The named reference freeasinfreedom-chap4 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  2. ^ Cite error: The named reference initials was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  3. ^ Cite error: The named reference homepage was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  4. ^ Cite error: The named reference AI9 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  5. ^ a b Cite error: The named reference russell was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  6. ^ a b Cite error: The named reference Levy was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  7. ^ Cite error: The named reference Cringely was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  8. ^ Cite error: The named reference freeasinfreedom-Chap6 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  9. ^ Cite error: The named reference unplugged was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  10. ^ Cite error: The named reference freeasinfreedom-Chap1 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  11. ^ Cite error: The named reference OpenSources was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  12. ^ Cite error: The named reference Salus was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  13. ^ Cite error: The named reference esr was invoked but never defined (see the help page).

2. The first portion above is from 'early years' (but also actually covers seven years of his time at MIT -- 1971 to 1977) and the bulk of the quote is from 'decline of MIT hacker culture' which covers from 1979 through February 1984, along the way giving portions of RMS's philosophy... most of which he came up with long afterward. My suggested rewrite would look something like the outline below. (talk) 18:21, 10 September 2013 (UTC)

[Section] Early Years: New York City Existing section, but I'm splitting out some of the content. Now covers 1953 through summer of 1971, ending with departure for Harvard. Existing text (not shown in excerpt above) looks fine, except I'm not positive when RMS graduated from high school: did he really enroll in his first year of college in the fall of 1971? He graduated from Harvard in 1974, which suggests he either graduated a year early from high school in NYC, or a year early from Harvard. Or maybe my math is just off.  :-)

[Section] Early Years: MIT New section-split. Covers 1971 through 1984, from when he was hired at the MIT AI Lab (including the period from 1974-1977orMaybeLater when he was an employee and simultaneously a grad student) through the point when he left to work fulltime on GNU. Sticks to the facts, no philosophy-insertions. Covers passwd in 77, scribe in 79, xerox printer in 80, and the invention-then-commercialization of the LISP machine from 1974 through 1982 (plus it would be good to add some background on CTSS/ITS/TENEX/TECO history).

[Section] Background: events leading to GNU == New section-split. Discusses the *general* hardware situation of the 1970s and early 1980s, the traditional ways software distribution-slash-licensing worked in the 1970s and early 1980s, the changes in copyright law of 1976 (and the lawsuits of 1980 which finalized the meaning of the statute), and how these wider events had an impact on RMS, MIT AI Lab, and the nascent LISP machine industry, which by 1983 included big names like TI from Texas and Xerox from California. Simultaneously, we need to give a bit of historical background on BSD and Sun Microsystems and Guy Steele, which was a west-coast parallel to the LispM and Symbolics and David Moon and Dan Weinreb experience which RMS saw first-hand on the east-coast (note in particular that by 1985 the goal of the GNU project was a UNIX-like operating system -- as opposed to a LispM-like operating system!). Explain, in NPOV fashion, why RMS did what he did.

[Section] GNU project Existing section, not shown in excerpt above, mostly fine as-is in the original article. Would be good to give additional details on Xemacs-nee-LucidEmacs-cf-EpochEmacs, since that contentious fork of EMACS/Xemacs in 1989-1994+ was indirectly related to the contentious reverse-fork of EMACS/ZMACS-ZWEI-EINE in the 1976-1983 era (Symbolics of the early 1980s was a LispM hardware&software company ... Lucid of the early 1990s was a LispM/etc software-only company).

3. Note that the only thing I'm suggesting here is *titles* for the new sections, with an overview of their contents (existing content in existing sections will be reorganized under the new section-names but nothing will be deleted). Anybody have thoughts on this new approach to organizing the sections, before I wade in and make the edit? Thanks. (talk) 18:21, 10 September 2013 (UTC)

Yes check.svg Done as of a few minutes ago in the main article. The initial split, at least, plus a few of the edits mentioned -- RMS skipped a grade in HS, so he was attending Harvard in fall 1970, and started working at the AI Lab down the river sometime in spring of 1971 (certainly by summer). TBD: flesh out the background-section with relevant material about LispM commercialization e.g. Symbolics/LMI/XPARC/TI/Lucid, commodity UNIX and commercialization of BSD e.g. SunOS-to-Solaris, and copyright law with regard to software (invention of GPL as a self-protecting alternative to BSD) and to user interfaces (RMS was involved in fighting look-n-feel lawsuits e.g. Lotus 123). (talk) 00:48, 14 September 2013 (UTC)

Under Personal life, switch link of "Made for you"[edit]

I think the link for "Made for You" should be switch to his article on his personal home page, "", from the current link. - OnesimusUnbound (talk) 19:40, 11 June 2013 (UTC)

Good idea. Go for it! Gronky (talk) 21:58, 14 June 2013 (UTC)

Quotes on significant social issues (RMS still holds)[edit]

I added the following to "Personal Life," and it was deleted twice:

Stallman believes prostitution, adultery, necrophelia, bestiality, possession of child pornography, incest, and pedophilia should all be legal, stating "I am skeptical of the claim that voluntarily pedophilia harms children," and "There is little evidence to justify the widespread assumption that willing participation in pedophilia hurts children." (See original diff [4]).

On the second submission, I cited that I have personally contacted him in email (July 2012) asking if these quotes were accurate, to which he replied yes. I asked him if they were taken out of context, and he replied no. I asked him if there were any additional explanations he'd like to give, and he said no. And the latest references are in his January 2013 archives on [5]

These are obviously stunning and shocking quotes, but they are also things people researching RMS should know about with regards to his person and personal views -- specifically the necrophelia, child pornography, and pedophilia portions, which are views generally not accepted by societies. I would like these references added back in to the article. (talk) 18:22, 17 August 2013 (UTC)

Wikipedia:No original research. --AVRS (talk) 11:45, 18 August 2013 (UTC)
Stallman's own website,, contains these quotes. His publication. (talk) 17:11, 18 August 2013 (UTC)
"I cited that I have personally contacted him in email (July 2012)" - Obviously some due diligence has been done here, which would be fine if original research was allowed. However, because there is no way other readers or editors of Wikipedia can verify the content of your email conversation, it can not be used as an sources on Wikipedia. As it stand, half of the suggested edit is then conjectural interpretation of the quotes, which is explicitly not allow on articles about living people. What is left then is the quotes by themselves, and here I look at WP:WELLKNOWN. In this case, the quote is not very noteworthy, nor that relevant, and only has documentation from a self-published blog post. As such, I suggest follow the policy advice and leave it out until a time if and when reliable third-party sources pick it up. It is important than the article do not become scandal mongering, so letting reliable third-party sources decide if such quote is noteworthy is good method to maintain a high quality article. Is there a reason why an exception should be made in this case? Belorn (talk) 11:56, 19 August 2013 (UTC)
As I read it, scandal mongering does not apply as these quotes are from his personal website, and not of a grapevine or rumor. And as for being cited in publications, there are many people who bring these comments up in comments section on Stallman-related articles and threads (do a google search for the quote and you'll find many). But at the article level, there is a publishing bias or reluctance to include this information for the same reasons being observed here -- that it's of such sensitivity as to deserve special consideration before conveying, that it could easily be coupled to something like scandal mongering (because it's of that scope). But this position by publishers and the Talk community here at Wikipedia, I think, only lends credence to the notion that it SHOULD be published and people should be made known about it because it is that shocking (that it actually rattles people). People need to know the highlights of the man's views before they side with him only on the free software advocacy position, for example, and to be able to do so here without going through hours of sifting through everything personal he's written over his life.
This wikipedia article is a snapshot summary of important facets of who Stallman is, and this most definitely ranks as one of them. He believes, and affirms when questioned about it, that people should be allowed to have sex with the dead, or with children, and that it doesn't harm them or anyone else in doing so.
I originally cited my email verification because I too found it shocking and wanted to personally validate that he was being quoted inaccurately and that he still held these beliefs (because I thought the same thing here -- rumor, smearing, lies, etc). But it's not that. Those really are his beliefs.
In the personal life section today we have such societal view positions as his take on God, Christmas, influential role models, political influences, beliefs on not being tracked by the government via cell phones, use of keycard security, paper ballot boxes, musical art tastes, and languages spoken. We learn a lot about the man ... but we do not learn that he also believes it should be legal for men and women to have sex with the dead, or with children, and that these things are not harmful.
The items being discussed in this Talk section are poignant positions of note, especially when compared to societal norms which do not generally align with his beliefs. And Stallman is a type of public figure, a man of interest to many disciplines due to his free software advocacy, even being sought after for public speaking engagements world-wide. And it's worth noting that in each of those engagements he speaks at length about how the Linux operating system should be called "GNU/Linux". Why? He explains that if it were simply called "Linux" then there's a possibility some people would come away with the belief the product they use ties back to Linus Torvalds, and therefore to his beliefs and philosophies as the root creator of the entire system. And this is something Stallman addresses at length in every speech on free software, and in the Q&A sections at the end. He cites the dangers of not having the full picture here because the beliefs held by Torvalds, and the focus and direction of the Linux kernel project in general, are in stark contrast to the beliefs held by GNU and the free software movement under copyleft protection. Note: This distinction is highlighted in the movie Revolution OS [6] with sections beginning around 30:00 in, and in his speech around 72:00 in when he received the Linus Torvalds Award for the Free Software Foundation.
Stallman's personal concerns on this issue are that GNU's free software efforts will be equated to Linux and its affiliation with open source instead of free software, and he goes out of his way to clarify that in his speeches.
Bringing that position forward, that the root philosophy and image of something really does bear purposeful distinction so as to highlight differences, the same holds true here for the man himself because he has a particular public persona, an outward face of free software advocacy, and the other beliefs the public sees in his speeches which are highly desirable. But they're also coupled to this other, non-trivial component of his belief system, a component that is of such a kind most people would likely find it off-putting enough to warrant never having anything to do with him or his endeavors again because of it alone.
In short, it's of such an impact, of such scope and size that the public's interest demands they be made aware of it in this article as a tier one piece of information. The things easily seen outwardly in his public face and speeches are coupled to this other facet of his beliefs that would likely change people's position regarding him were they known.
People need to be made aware of who it is they're following. And a summary article about Stallman should contain this information as an aspect of his belief system, a front page component, something a person would read in the first two minutes of searching after him, because it is at least on par with his views on God and political affiliation (and that doesn't yet include the aspects of bestiality, incest, or child pornography -- all of which he supports as well). (talk) 20:03, 20 August 2013 (UTC)
We have to go with reliable sources, and what they are saying. I can appreciate having strong views on the matter, many do, but we can't base edits on personal views. Publishing original research, and making people aware is not in the mission of Wikipedia. Start a blog, post on forums, discuss on social media, but here is not the place for such activities.
Depending on how the quotes are interpreted, some people might feel shocked. I don't interpret them in that way, but thats my personal view. The quotes do not imply any legislation change, but rather is a traditional academic reaction. There have been several well funded research studies that sought a larger understand about the harm of sexual abuse to children, and what/whatnot is primary causes for harm. The few extracts from such reports that I have read also commonly discuss the question about consent, which RMS statement is similar to. However, that is my interpretation of the quotes. To complicate matter more, the definition of pedophilia is distinct different in US (RMS is a US citizen), and the medical definition of pedophilia. As such, I do not even know if RMS is talking about some who is 18 years old that dates some who is 17, or if he is using the medical definition where it must be a person of 16 years or older who has sex with someone under 11 years old. As such, we could likely keep discussing this for a very long time and argue what kind of interpretation is the right one, but Wikipedia forbids such discussions on talk pages. It is simply not allowed. If talk pages become battlegrounds for discussing the subject matter, it would damage the goals that Wikipedia try to achieve. As such, it suggest that editors who want to write about their personal opinion do so in blogs, forums and social media. Belorn (talk) 14:16, 21 August 2013 (UTC)
I don't remember seeing comments on that subject under articles about RMS, they are probably all made by trolls. Comments do not make it notable. His personal blog contains many more and much stronger comments on environment, GMO and the possibility of global warming, and those are not mentioned in the article (please don't add it). Comparison of that with his beliefs on God or free software is your personal biased synthesis (different people have various beliefs, and not necessarily consistent or strongly interconnected in the same way). --AVRS (talk) 15:52, 21 August 2013 (UTC)
(reply to original comment) That's some serious cherry picking there. Would you care to summarise his other opinions or are you only interested in publishing a terse summary about sex? Why?
There's also the issue of notability. We could mention that he has ten toes, but it's not something he's famous for. He's also not know for his stance on bestiality, so I don't see the reason for putting it in an encyclopaedia article about him. He doesn't campaign for any of those things, and he doesn't even claim to do, have done, or even be interested in trying any of them (unless you call it bestiality when a Parrot rubbed its genitals on him). Being on a web page doesn't make things notable.
If every comment I ever made in the pub was on a web page, motivated people could make awful summaries. Gronky (talk) 21:34, 22 August 2013 (UTC)

FYI We had an IP address ( (talk · contribs)) try to re-insert the same Original research lines about Stallman's views on the social issues in addition to his eating a bit of toe jam while in public. I've reverted them up to the 3RR limit and directed them to follow BRD and come here to present their case for why it should be included. Pending a substantial case being made I claim the BLP exemption to the WP:EW rules which specifically authorizes breaking the 3RR in cases where the content is not appropriately sourced and defamatory to the subject. Hasteur (talk) 12:38, 3 April 2014 (UTC)

I disagree with the above conclusion. Why is it notable to say that RMS supports Bernie Sanders, admires Winston Churchill, doesn't support Israel, likes folk music and reads science fiction - all relatively common characteristics - yet not okay to say that he supports child sex and child pornography? If I don't get a reasonable response in 7 days, I'm re-adding the material. Orthogonal1 (talk) 02:18, 11 June 2016 (UTC)

Admiring Winston Churchill isn't a topic specifically covered by our WP:BLP policy (I am not at this time expressing an opinion on whether the material should be included or excluded, just that if it is it must follow BLP policy). Technical note: if the material is included the quote should be in full, not shortened, and the citation should be to where he first wrote it, which is at [ ]. --Guy Macon (talk) 04:34, 11 June 2016 (UTC)
I would normally see your point, but Stallman doesn't seem to think that this is private or negative information. If he removes the comments from his website, I'd be the first to say that they should be removed from the article. Would you be able to write to him, explain that we're thinking of adding the comments to the article and ask if he objects? Thanks. Orthogonal1 (talk) 06:44, 11 June 2016 (UTC)

Johnuniq just reverted the material and requested on my talk page that if I wish to add it, I should raise the issue at WP:BLPN. I have done so. Orthogonal1 (talk) 12:49, 17 June 2016 (UTC)

Mention This Historical Event[edit]

Hey, you guys should mention this historical event [7] which brought India's senior most politician L.K. Advani and RMS together. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Two2face (talkcontribs) 11:05, 1 October 2013 (UTC)

Hi, yes, meeting very influential people is worth mentioning. For people outside of India, can you explain why Advani is influential? If RMS met a president or a king, everyone would understand why that is important, but what does "India's senior most politician" mean? Is that your opinion? Or is he just the oldest politician in the country? Or does have have a very senior rank in the government?
Can you try mentioning this in the article (probably near paragraphs 6 or 7 of the Activism section, or can you suggest some text here for discussion? Thanks. Gronky (talk) 18:33, 1 November 2013 (UTC)


The article here describes "The Right to Read" and other articles on as "science-fiction stories". I believe this is misleading, and factually incorrect. Those articles are listed under philosophy/, not stories/, and they are very similar in tone to technical use-cases, for example, those in cryptography which feature characters such as Alice and Bob. These are philosophical allegories, at the very least, and not intended as simple science fiction. I elieve this should be corrected. (talk) 16:03, 12 January 2014 (UTC)

rms in lower-case[edit]

It can be easily verified that Richard Stallman goes by the lower-case initials of rms. Yes, lower-case. Please stop reverting the edits. (talk) 07:11, 18 August 2014 (UTC)

Change profile picture on top to a more "neutral" one[edit]

I propose to change the profile picture on top of this page to a more "neutral" one. The current picture shows Richard Stallman in non-usual, kind of traditional clothes. I think this does not represent this person in a good way. Because Richard Stallman is such a polemical figure, the use of non-usual pictures just helps to feed critics and clichés at least for one of the two opposite views towards him. However, in general it should be avoided in an encyclopedia to fuel polemic. That is why on top of an article about Richard Stallman there should be a usual picture by him, a picture that allows a more neutral reception. There are plenty of such pictures available to use in Wikimedia Commons (Unfortunately, the same picture is used on top of the following wikipedias and should be changed accordingly: DE, EN, FR, PA) Dreirik (talk) 11:20, 18 May 2015 (UTC)

Which one of the Wikimedia Commons do you suggest we use instead? I think argument that was used for the current one was the date, which of course is now out-of-date. If one looks for attributes like neutrality and representing picture, I think most of the neutral/with red shirt should be usable. Belorn (talk) 15:13, 18 May 2015 (UTC)
I suggest this one from 2015: It matches a lot of important criteria for an encyclopedia: very well illuminated, typical activity (giving talk), typical dress (red shirt) and it is more recent as the current one. Dreirik (talk) 11:53, 19 July 2015 (UTC)

External links modified[edit]

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Political views[edit]

"When asked about his influences, he replied that he admires Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr., Nelson Mandela, Aung San Suu Kyi, Ralph Nader, and Dennis Kucinich, and commented as well: "I admire Franklin D. Roosevelt and Winston Churchill, even though I criticize some of the things that they did."[47] Stallman is a Green Party supporter,[1] and a supporter of the National Initiative proposal.[103] He has also publicly endorsed Bernie Sanders's 2016 presidential campaign bid.[104]

Politically, Stallman has expressed that he is not an anarchist.[105]"

This anarchist part is pointless, the paragraph before details his political views. That sentence is the equivalent of saying someone is not a republican when the paragraph before says someone is a democrat. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Jp16103 (talkcontribs) 19:10, 25 January 2016

Unsubstantiated / Outdated claims[edit]

In the opening header, "... most notably the GNU General Public License (GPL), the most widely used free software license."

Really? Says who? The stats in the reference link are from 2002. This seems unlike nowadays. If I had to guess I'd say MIT or Apache.

IMHO, "the most widely used free software license" should be removed.

mj1856 (talk) 22:28, 5 February 2016 (UTC)

@mj1856 "Unsubstantiated..." the methodology is provided (unlike others which are opaque black boxes); "Outdated..." LWN in 2013 say 58%; "Really? Says who?": the cited source; "If I had to guess... [&&] IMHO..." doesn't matter, we need evidence. -- dsprc [talk] 11:46, 8 February 2016 (UTC)
@Dsprc Searching for current information, I found BlackDuck's list, which shows MIT in first place with 26%, and GitHub's blog showing MIT at 44.69%. Both of these are newer than the current cited source. Anyway, I don't think that's what this article is about, so it should be removed or rephrased. mj1856 (talk) 04:43, 16 March 2016 (UTC)
this is addressed in the lwn article; blackduck is an unverifiable black box. the license blurb is fine for inclusion. -- dsprc [talk] 03:50, 14 April 2016 (UTC)

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External links modified[edit]

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1. Is the "CONS" link correct on this page? Here is the text:

"As a hacker in MIT's AI laboratory, Stallman worked on software projects such as TECO, Emacs for ITS, and the Lisp machine operating system (the CONS of 1974–1976 and the CADR of 1977–1979—this latter unit was commercialized by Symbolics and LMI starting around 1980).[13]"

The target of that CONS link is, which does not seem relevant to this page.

2. And that reference [13] looks odd too - what does this mention of CONS and CADR (two Lisp functions, though perhaps something else was meant in this context?) have to do with a book about Wikipedia?

[13] Lih, Andrew (2009). The Wikipedia Revolution. New York City: Hyperion. ISBN 978-1-4013-0371-6. OCLC 232977686.

Incorrect links? "CONS" and reference [13][edit] (talk) 20:46, 30 August 2016 (UTC)

1. Is the "CONS" link correct on this page? Here is the text:

"As a hacker in MIT's AI laboratory, Stallman worked on software projects such as TECO, Emacs for ITS, and the Lisp machine operating system (the CONS of 1974–1976 and the CADR of 1977–1979—this latter unit was commercialized by Symbolics and LMI starting around 1980).[13]"

The target of that CONS link is, which does not seem relevant to this page.

2. And that reference [13] looks odd too - what does this mention of CONS and CADR (two Lisp functions, though perhaps something else was meant in this context?) have to do with a book about Wikipedia?

[13] Lih, Andrew (2009). The Wikipedia Revolution. New York City: Hyperion. ISBN 978-1-4013-0371-6. OCLC 232977686.

And I see that there are multiple uses of reference [13] on this page, and they too seem suspect (irrelevant). — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:53, 30 August 2016 (UTC)

Opinions on abortion and Down's Syndrome[edit]

Recently, on his own blog, Stallman recently came out as pro-abortion of fetuses which have been diagnosed as having Down's Syndrome. I think this is important enough to note in this article, but I don't know where to put this. Perhaps a new "Political Opinions" section or something of the like?  Supuhstar *  01:55, 21 November 2016 (UTC)

Has his opinion on abortion received coverage by reliable sources? --Guy Macon (talk) 02:29, 22 November 2016 (UTC)
The problem would be that editors would be deciding which internet snippets to pick and compile into a "political opinions" section (WP:OR). Stallman has had a lot of ideas, and many people might disagree with some of them. Editors should not pick some ideas and work them up into presenting a view about the subject. Johnuniq (talk) 02:37, 22 November 2016 (UTC)