Red Hat has announced that it is stopping its contributions to the Free Software Foundation. Red Hat board members have expressed disgust at the reinstatement of Richard Stallman to the board.
“I am really outraged by FSF’s decision to reinstate RMS. At a moment in time where diversity and inclusion awareness is growing, this is a step backwards”, tweeted Chris Wright, CTO of Red Hat. He links to a statement that Red Hat has posted in a blog post.
In the statement, Red Hat says it has long been a donor and contributor to Free Software Foundation projects, but that given the circumstances of Stallman’s resignation in 2019, it is appalled to learn that he has become part of the board again. “As a result, we are immediately suspending all Red Hat funding of the FSF and any FSF-hosted events. In addition, many Red Hat contributors have told us they no longer plan to participate in FSF-led or backed events, and we stand behind them.”
Richard Stallman, also known by his initials RMS, is a veteran of the open-source world. He was at the forefront of the GNU project, which has become an important part of the Linux operating system. He is a major advocate of free software, for which he founded the Free Software Foundation in 1985. However, he stepped down in 2019 following controversy over comments he had made surrounding the Jeffrey Epstein rape case.
Letter signed by thousands
Not only Red Hat has expressed its disapproval of Stallman’s return. A statement has been posted on GitHub demanding the resignation of the entire board of the Free Software Foundation. Among the signatories are organisations Mozilla and SUSE, as well as almost three thousand individuals. Meanwhile, a letter has also been written in which various GitHub users express their support for Stallman. They believe that Stallman’s statements have been misinterpreted and should nevertheless be considered separately from his qualities in leading the Free Software Foundation. Almost four thousand GitHub users signed this letter.