treitter (treitter) wrote,

RMS's GCDS talk - or - You're Not Helping

I got to the Gran Canaria Desktop Summit Saturday night, so I didn't see Richard Stallman's talk. From what I heard, the Free Software portion was fairly good, but I heard several people recall his Saint Ignucius segment about how some women in the audience were "EMACS virgins" and should be introduced to it, etc. Lefty described it well in his own post, so I won't go into that detail.

Of course, Stallman's satire immediately reminded me of the FLOSSPOLS reports, which reference an earlier study showing that women were only 1.8% of participants in open source in 2005. I think things have improved slightly since then, but not nearly as much as I would have hoped.

While what he said didn't seem to be overtly sexist, it certainly creates a more hostile and uninviting environment for women in our projects. As the FLOSSPOLS reports suggest, it's important that we (Gnome, KDE, Free Software in general) make a point to emphasize that we do not support hostility against our community members. This is the reason why, for instance, Gnome and Debian have adopted Codes of Conduct.

Richard is of course welcome to think and say whatever he wants, but if he's going to claim some position of leadership, I don't want him lumping together unrelated and offensive material with his advocacy of Free Software. If he insists to continue, I'd like him to openly acknowledge that he doesn't represent many or most of us in the Free Software community that he claims to.
Tags: political

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