Talk:Richard Stallman/Archive 1

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Archive 1 Archive 2


What a complete acre of manure, this article. Typical wikipedia platitudes drawn up by a load of bored hackers. Too bad programmers can't stick to writing now and then about things that they actually understand, like software. In matters of psychology, politics and humor, they are braindead.


I spoke with him once, complimenting him on his work. In our discussion, he seemed to be a somewhat irrational anti-Communist (that is, seeing communism in more places than would be reasonable to expect).

Is this one of his controversial characteristics? If so, should it be mentioned in the article? Does anyone know more about him personally than I do? And do personal characteristics belong in an encyclopedia at all? What do others think? --David 18:55 Dec 10, 2002 (UTC)

I think Richard is known to be somewhat eccentric in a variety of ways, and I don't think a fair account could be given in the scope of just this article (not one people would agree is fair, at least). If people want to know more about this, they should read the Free book linked at the bottom of the article. --Fcrick 10:39 Jan 30, 2003 (UTC)
I think it's entirely fair to call RMS eccentric, and point out that he has a reputation for a total inability to compromise and a lack of people skills. The point of contention is that some people recognize the above and accept the good with the bad, others in the free software/open source community regard him as a liability that interferes with getting it accepted in the wider world, and still others regard him as a loony Commie. --Robert Merkel
RMS is not a communist, really. He's said before that he's been inspired by leftist anarchists, which is not at all the same thing. As for his lack of people skills, well, that's to an extent true, but it's also been exaggerated a lot, RMS is very principled, and refuses to compromise on his principles. He's perfectly willing to compromise on practical issues to achieve those principles, though. --Joakim Ziegler
For this particular case, I dont think we should include information which is not published somewhere. Wikipedia is not original research. Optim 15:10, 2 Mar 2004 (UTC)
For what it is work, I wouldn't be surprised if Stallman was vociferously anti-Communist, as the whole point of his crusade is freedom, right? And there are few political philosophies more antithetical to his conception of freedom than Communism. --Maru (talk) 18:17, 15 October 2005 (UTC)
Replying to Robert Merkel. I think people should be careful about this "inability to compromise" phrase. Richard has compromised many times. The LGPL is a compromise. The GFDL is a compromise (too much of a compromise in many people's books). On certain things, he may be unwilling to compromise - but calling this an inability is a mis-phrasing. Gronky 20:24, 15 October 2005 (UTC)


I added some rephrased and abridged material from Sam Williams' 2002 "Free as in Freedom" book which is licensed under the GFDL in the "Biography" section. I have also cited (Williams 2002) inline in the text as the source of the quotes. It's little unclear to me how the GFDL is supposed to work for short extracts of documents like this, but it seems to me using short segments like would conform to the spirit of the GFDL, especially if we cite the source. Other more legal eagles please correct me if I'm wrong. I plan to add some more material from the book for the other sections, but not overly long extracts and only factually-oriented sections that make sense for the encyclopedia format. --Lexor 11:01, 29 Jul 2003 (UTC)

I found the copyright notice for this book on the O'Reilly site (below), and there are no problems with needing to include "invariant sections" etc. as it specifies no invariant sections -- Lexor 11:13, 29 Jul 2003 (UTC)
Copyright © 2002 Sam Williams. Cover photograph of Richard Stallman © Sam Ogden/Photo Researchers, Inc. and cannot be used without permission. St. Ignucius photograph © Wouter van Oortmerssen. Printed in the United States of America.
Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.1 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with the Invariant Sections being no invariant sections, with the Front-Cover Texts being no invariant sections, and with the Back-Cover Texts being no invariant sections. A copy of the license is included in Appendix C, GNU Free Documentation License . All images are to be included verbatim when the document is copied, distributed, or modified under the terms of the GFDL.
OK, I did what I should have done before, I checked out Wikipedia:Copyrights for the details, and in accordance with the GFDL I have cited the author and placed links on the page back to the network copy of the text maintained by the author:
At the very least, short extracts should fall under fair use. --Maru (talk) 18:17, 15 October 2005 (UTC)


re: and

Photo isn't "self-captioned" (re:captions) ... and a caption gives a bit more info (read not "superfluous") ... As to the opensource, ur right (my mistake) ... but it should be "free software pioneer" instead of "opensource pioneer". pioneer would be better than Evangelist Sincerely, JDR
Photo isn't "self-captioned" (re:captions)
pioneer would be better than Evangelist
  • Google favors evangelist, though I'm sure they're both reasonable descriptions. Neither belongs in a caption, however, for the same reason that the portrait of Jesus Christ is not captioned "the son of God" and the portrait of Søren Kierkegaard is not captioned "Existentialist". The article itself, in particular the first paragraph/sentence, is the caption.

Best wishes, chocolateboy 16:21, 29 Feb 2004 (UTC)

[1] Graphic is a ambiguous (eg., who is he / his importance) [read as: not unambiguous] ... Jesus Christ as the Mesiah could be captioned "the son of God" and the portrait of Oliver Heaviside is captioned "scholar". The captions adds info inaddtions to other txt in the article (and should not be used in lieu of ...)
[2] Pioneer versus Evangelist = Pioneer wins.
Stallman Pioneer versus Stallman Evangelist = Stallman Pioneer wins
Richard Stallman Pioneer versus Richard Stallman Evangelist = Richard Stallman Pioneer wins.
SIncerely, JDR
It's only ambiguous if you're somehow unable (or unwilling) to read. If that's the case, then, by definition, a caption's not going to be of much use. The caption is meant to describe the picture (e.g. Image of Jesus Christ from Agia Sophia, Istanbul, Turkey (12th century)). The article is the place to capture the essence of the subject. The "scholar" example you cite was added by you! And, of course, it was quickly reverted by a bemused passer-by...
re: "Free Software Pioneer" (68) v "Free Software Evangelist" (167) (or, as you seem to prefer, "Free Software Pioneer" (735) v "Free Software Evangelist" (19,600)) - as I said, I'm sure both are reasonable, but ":::::Pioneer Award Winner" and "Stallman ... Pioneer DVD" are not the same as "Free Software Pioneer".
Best wishes, chocolateboy 01:31, 2 Mar 2004 (UTC)
Unable (or unwilling) to read? Umm, no ... browsing through (and seeing a pic with a info cap (not just a desc. cap)) gives more knowledge (and, if the info cap info isn't in the article ... it's more useful) ...
[snip definition straw man]
Caption's that are useful (info caps, not just desc caps) and should be used more.
The caption is meant to describe the picture ... _but_, can be there for usefulness to the overall article ...
And ... very good ... the "scholar" is an example that I added! ... it shows exactly what I'm stating ... geesh ...
Quickly reverted? Because, I presume, that it was because of a misunderstanding of why it was there [scholar is means different things on different sides of the pond (see def)] ... [btw, the article doesn't call him a scholar IIRC, but he was ... so it's appropriate (as the cap here would be appropriate) ...]
RMS is more of a "Pioneer" ... than a evangelist [and, in history most likely, be recalled as a pioneer than a "preacher"].
Sincerely, JDR


Caption's that are useful (info caps, not just desc caps) and should be used more.

  • If that's the case, you should lobby for the complete overhaul of Wikipedia (and practically every other online resource with illustrated biographical, news and reference material) in the proper corridors of power. Not by doodling on an article whose subject you (if your "Opensource" faux pas is anything to go by) have no familiarity with.

[ snip: more wibbling about "pioneer richard stallman" (86) v "evangelist richard stallman" (165) ]

  • "Free Software Pioneer" is a compliment. "Free Software Evangelist" is a job description. Captioning the article "Free Software Pioneer" smacks of favouritism when the pioneering spirit of such luminaries as Linus Torvalds, Eric Raymond and Bill Gates isn't afforded the same gushing treatment.
  • Either way, the caption is in violation of Wikipedia policy and will be removed.

Best wishes, chocolateboy 12:49, 2 Mar 2004 (UTC)

Complete overhaul of Wikipedia? No ... and your "every other" _exaggeration_ is funny (plus it misses the point) ...
... as to your "faux pas" comment, FS encompasses OS [or OS is a subdivision of FS (given the restrictive criteria of FS ...) ... maybe jotted the wrong one down, but the description is needed ...
"Free Software Pioneer" is a fact. "Evangelist" is a description (but a poor one) ... and, it should be noted for Linus Torvalds, Bill Gates, and Eric Raymond (for their respective contribution to computing)
Just to let you know, the the "Manual of Style" is a guideline, not an "all mighty rule" ... variations exist ...
Sincerely, JDR
You'll forgive me if I don't regard your elucidation of the difference between "Open Source" and "Free Software" as particularly enlightening (or accurate).
the guidelines should be considered ,I agree ... but deviations can be allow [very very infrequently ...
And yet you advocate "deviation" for practically every article we've discussed (the only exception being Søren Kierkegaard):
(Note: I've used your style of POV simplification rather than sticking with the job description for most of those).
Your definition of "very very infrequently" and mine differ.
  1. Please explain why all of those illustrations are "ambiguous".
  2. Please explain why Wikipedia policy (and common sense) should be systematically violated for each of those examples.
  3. While you're at it, please explain how this site can possibly be comprehensible when it fails to adopt your captioning policy: BBC. Or this one: Hitchiker's Guide To The Galaxy.
  4. Please explain why the Oliver Heaviside (mathematician and physicist) picture is arbitrarily annotated "scholar".
  5. Please explain why your picture of Christ is not annotated "The Son of God".
Best wishes, chocolateboy 14:36, 2 Mar 2004 (UTC)
  1. illustration "ambiguousness"? primarily because of hte lack of info about the pic.
  2. systematically violated? YMMV ... it's also "policy" to allow variation ...
  3. Comprehensible? More info adds to the "comprehensibility" ... and wikipedia is not the BBC or Hitchiker's Guide To The Galaxy (thankfully)
  4. ... arbitrarily annotated? YMMV on arbitrariness ... "scholar" explains his life ..
  5. why my picture of Christ is not annotated? It's in the _fricken_ quotes section [notice he's saying something] ... [but now that you mention it, it is needed somewhere else]
Sincerely, JDR
I missed your "examples" ... and as to "infrequently", this is a good case ... (the later ones below may be good exceptions. too)
  • Christ is the "The Son Of God" (not Jesus, fine delicate line there [if you understand the name fully])
  • Torvalds is a "Linux pioneer"
  • Heaviside is a "scholar")
  • Bill Gates is "Microsoft founder"
  • Raymond is a "Hacker culture anthropologist" (though a better title could be found, probably)
  • Stallman is a "Free software pioneer"
Sincerely, JDR
As to your "elucidation" snipe, the difference between "Open Source" and "Free Software" was something that you wanted changed ... --JDR
Please explain why Søren Kierkegaard should not be captioned.
systematically violated? YMMV ... it's also "policy" to allow variation ...
Just for the record: with the exception of the Jesus Christ example (which I provided to illustrate the tackiness and inadvertent humor of captions) and Richard Stallman, all of your captions are wrong (as well as redundant). (cf. "unable (or unwilling) to read", above):
  • Bill Gates is not the founder of Microsoft. He's a co-founder. He is, however, the Chairman.
  • Torvalds created and possibly "invented" Linux. He isn't a "Linux pioneer", whatever that means.
  • Heaviside was a mathematician and a physicist.
  • Eric Raymond is a self-styled Open Source Evangelist.
the difference between "Open Source" and "Free Software" was something that you wanted changed
  • I didn't want it changed. I wanted it removed. Please reread the original request.
illustration "ambiguousness"? primarily because of hte lack of info about the pic
  • In that case, every picture on Wikipedia which isn't accompanied by a tabloid TV caption is ambiguous. Come back to RMS when you've captioned every other picture on Wikipedia. I'm sure no-one will object.
Best wishes, chocolateboy 11:08, 3 Mar 2004 (UTC)


I protected the page since there was an edit war over the image's caption. I reverted to the "(cur) (last) . . M 09:20, 27 Feb 2004 . . Sj" version which is the last one prior the edit war, If I am not mistaken. Please resolve the dispute and develop a consensus over which caption to use - then inform me or another admin to unprotect the page. --Optim 17:02, 2 Mar 2004 (UTC)


After about 24 hours I unprotected the page because Protected pages are considered harmful and I don't like not letting hundred of people edit the page because only two Wikipedians had a dispute over the caption of the photo. Also note the photo is now changed by Eloquence. If I see more edit wars here, I will re-protect it. So be careful :) --Optim·.· 20:04, 3 Mar 2004 (UTC)


I've got an alternative photo of him (taken today) at: If people think that one might be better or help avoid a pointless argument. --Imran 17:39, 22 May 2004 (UTC)

I think the photo that is here now is much better, your is too small and doesn't show as much of his persona as the current one, what argument b.t.w.? --Ævar Arnfjörð Bjarmason 17:51, 2004 May 22 (UTC)
That photo is shrunk, so I can provide a bigger size if wanted. But I'm happy enough with the current one, I just want to make another one available in case people found it useful. I'm not entirely sure what the argument is but there seems to be some sort of caption/photo altering argument going it. --Imran 19:11, 22 May 2004 (UTC)
In any case, upload the big version, we'll at least have it in the database for later use. --Ævar Arnfjörð Bjarmason 08:21, 2004 May 23 (UTC)
Another photo of Saint IGNUcius [1] which might fit well with that reference. Given that it's on Stallman's site, I imagine he would have no disagreement with the usual copyleft. --Gzuckier 18:01, 30 Aug 2004 (UTC)
First of all don't assume that it's under the GFDL or that he is willing to licence it as such, even if he is RMS., second I don't think the image belongs here. -- Ævar Arnfjörð Bjarmason 08:17, 2004 Aug 31 (UTC)

Eben Moglen

I snipped this ref from the Westchester County/Eben Moglen anecdote: Complete transcript of interview with Eben Moglen: The Encryption Wars

I also snipped the HTML comment ("info from first paragraph of Moglen's last answer on the page I linked to"). It's hardly a controversial addition that needs to be motorcaded with caveats and citations. --chocolateboy 14:25, 8 Jul 2004 (UTC)

Symbolics war

I think the statement:

"In particular, a group of breakaway AI Lab hackers founded the company Symbolics, which actively attempted to recruit the rest of the AI Lab hackers in order to replace the free software in the Lab with its own proprietary software."

is misleading. Symbolics did hire AI lab hackers, and did produce proprietary software, but I don't think one can infer that the hiring was done in order to replace the lab's systems with non-free ones. Both Symbolics and LMI were founded by AI Lab hackers, and both produced non-free software, but more importantly hardware (Lisp machines). I think the incentive for hiring hackers was rather their high level of expertise that would help designing good computers to sell. it was not a planned attack on the AI Lab like the article suggests. Do you mind if I rephrase that sentence? --Sam 00:59, 15 Aug 2004 (UTC)

I agree this should be corrected. --Gronky 20:56, 15 Aug 2004 (UTC)
I've detailed the origins of the Symbolics war to give a more neutral approach. Any comments? --Sam

On "Parodies"

IP address has just added a "Parodies" section which is just links to troll stories of RMS raping people, being molested, etc. etc. This is quite out of character for He usually sticks to defacing the Michael Moore page. He's made a similar edit to the Eric S. Raymond page, adding a gay sex story of ESR, but that's been reverted. Does anyone know off the top of their head how you report the IP of a repeated vandal? (check his contributions) --Gronky 20:56, 15 Aug 2004 (UTC)

IP address re-added a parodies section, with the same stories linked to. I removed it. --Sam 01:02, 16 Aug 2004 (UTC)
I just removed them again. He'll get bored. --Gronky 02:27, 16 Aug 2004 (UTC)
I'm watching this page. I think the next time this happens will be a 36 or 48 hour ban, given the history, if nobody objects? --Pakaran. 03:39, 16 Aug 2004 (UTC)
I'd have no objections, but the vandalism is being done by 8 different IP address and one account (,,,,,,,, and user Trollaxor). My guess is that some very talented people are sitting in some IRC channel telling each other to re-add that parodies section. seems to be the worst offender, he spent the 17th and 25th of July defacing the Michael Moore page. Banning him would be good, but if it's a dynamic IP, we'll just have to watch out and wait for him to grow up or get bored. --Gronky 12:23, 16 Aug 2004 (UTC)
Adding a parody to this article doesn't strike me as a sufficient reason to ban the contributor. There was a parody linked from the Eric S. Raymond article ("Surprised By Cock") which ultimately was removed because the page was unavailable, not because the satire was inappropriate. The Tony Blair article makes numerous references to his satirical representation. What do these august figures have in common? They're all (among other things) politicians...
Stallman is widely parodied, derided and flamed (as well as lauded, celebrated and revered). He has enough good humor to parody himself (St. Ignucius), so I don't see why third party parodies should be censored.
I agree, though, that a bevy of trollish links is not quite the same thing as a sample of counterbalancing satire. --chocolateboy 01:24, 18 Aug 2004 (UTC)
Blocked (talk) for 24hrs due to the parodies section. -- Ævar Arnfjörð Bjarmason 07:20, 2004 Aug 29 (UTC)


I've protected this page for now to deal with this repeated vandalism. -- Ævar Arnfjörð Bjarmason 08:25, 2004 Aug 30 (UTC)

It's been six days or so. Can this be unprotected? [[HURD]] needs to be changed to [[GNU Hurd|Hurd]] for capitalization consistency. 15:29, 5 Sep 2004 (UTC)
Unprotected it. -- Ævar Arnfjörð Bjarmason 20:22, 2004 Sep 5 (UTC)
And i fixed the hurd link. -- Ævar Arnfjörð Bjarmason 20:24, 2004 Sep 5 (UTC)
The parody section *must* be removed. It is in no way comparable to the satires written about Tony Blair and other politicians. It's just an act of vandalism. It demeans and humiliates RMS. Administrator of this page kindly take note. --Ghoseb 18:37, 22 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Putting the page in a category..

I was thinking of putting it in something like Category:Member of the Free Software Foundation board of directors but I cannot quite get the wording right, is that an appropriate name for it? -- Ævar Arnfjörð Bjarmason 20:31, 2004 Sep 5 (UTC)

How about "Free Software Foundation Leaders"? --Betterworld 18:33, 6 Sep 2004 (UTC)
Wouldn't that be kind of vague for some guys who are the board of directors? -- Ævar Arnfjörð Bjarmason 20:04, 2004 Sep 6 (UTC)
Probably right. But why not include the other employees' articles (which is currently only Dan Ravicher's article as far as I see) in the category? If we do include them, my suggestion will be more accurate. --Betterworld 21:21, 6 Sep 2004 (UTC)
How about making Category:Member of the Free Software Foundation board of directors a sub category of something like Category:Free Software Foundation Members and then again have that in the category Free Software Foundation? -- Ævar Arnfjörð Bjarmason 08:04, 2004 Sep 7 (UTC)
Good idea. But I'd write "Members" instead of "Member"
Because the category will be a list of members not a member since they are many, at least that's the naming scheme used currently for categories - that is - plurals. -- Ævar Arnfjörð Bjarmason 14:48, 2004 Sep 8 (UTC)
Okay, it must be one of those days, it seems you agree with me =) -- Ævar Arnfjörð Bjarmason 14:50, 2004 Sep 8 (UTC)

Interwiki Link

Since the page is protected, could one of the Admins please add the Interwiki-Link to the Luxembourgish Wiki ? [[lb:Richard Stallman]]

Thanks :) --Briséis 12:06, 8 Sep 2004 (UTC)


I just added {{wikiquote}} to this article linking it to Richard Stallman on Wikiquote and gave the wikiquote article an all-round facelift, however some things still need fixing there, for instance the sources for each quote must be cited and more relevant quotes could be added. -- Ævar Arnfjörð Bjarmason 12:56, 2004 Sep 17 (UTC)