1. 1

    USB hard drive using rsync. I’m a simple man.

    1. 5

      Things I use and want to use

      • GNU/Linux
      • xmonad
      • vim
      • gcc
      • firefox
      • tmux
      • ssh
      • firestr
      • evolution
      • youtube
      • telegram
      • graphviz
      • jupyter
      • perl6
      • sailfish OS

      Things I use and don’t want to use

      • slack
      • gmail
      • gsuite
      • chrome
      1. 15

        Without further context, this just looks like RMS is being insufficiently socially aware to realize that being pedantic about rape vs. statutory rape is inappropriate in this context; wrong time and place to go into that conversation.

        But there’s not actually enough context, so this doesn’t change my opinion from “RMS is extremely pedantic and principled and sometimes that’s a problem”.

        ETA: Also, not impressed with this bit:

        and then he says that an enslaved child could, somehow, be “entirely willing”

        No, the email fragment says that she may have presented as willing. Regardless of what you think of RMS, Minsky, etc. those are extremely different statements, and it’s dangerous to conflate them. That actually makes it harder to solve the problem of human trafficking.

        1. 5

          Without further context, this just looks like RMS is being insufficiently socially aware to realize that being pedantic about rape vs. statutory rape is inappropriate in this context; wrong time and place to go into that conversation.

          I think our subculture should get over this idea that we have special privileges when it comes to social interactions. If we fuck up in code, we (usually) take the blame and move on. Why do we (some of/most of us/well, me at least sometimes and RMS apparently all the time) tend to just shrug when we fuck up socially?

          1. 9

            I guess I should be more clear: RMS being persistently socially awkward is actually plenty of reason for him not to be a figurehead. I’m mostly objecting to this article spinning that email fragment into something like “RMS is supporting pedos”.

            Reliance on heroes tends to be problematic over time.

            1. 4

              The critical mistake that rms made, that you make here too, is a failure to employ code-switching when discussing matters that are inescapably emotional.

              Whoops, me too! I meant to say, that issue is so hot that you can either speak against pedos or say nothing–it ain’t necessarily logical but every fool knows that you can’t post stuff like he did on his homepage and expect to remain the leader of an international organization. Like duh. Case closed. Can’t believe it didn’t happen EARLIER.

              Seriously, if you’re* the sort of person who never lets go of precision-in-language long enough to say anything like “nope, that’s just 100% wrong and I don’t even need to explain why”, then you will inevitability get tripped up down the road by a mob of people who do. Don’t get Stallman’d, friends! Feelings MATTER.

              * I mean you the reader, not necessarily you ‘saturn’. :)

              1. 1

                Yeah, it’s a topic I won’t actually discuss on the internet, in general. Nothing good can come of it. It’s probably dangerous to even say “hey, that guy over there has an unpopular opinion on this and I’m going to say literally anything other than a condemnation of him”, but I decided to cross that line this week.

                (Also, for posterity: Since this article came out, I have seen 1) more context, and 2) a lot of history of how RMS has been an utter creep to women. Bear in mind that my previous comments were not made with that information available.)

          2. 2

            Here is some additional context for you about his thoughts on pedophilia. I didn’t know this until I searched on stallman.org. It’s there in plain sight.

              1. 3

                I think it’s OK for people to disagree on this. I might not agree with them, but I’m not going to call for someone’s ouster just because they have a different belief on age of consent. Because look, it sounds like he’s talking about teenagers, which is hardly a thing to bring out the pitchforks over. US states have varying laws in the 15 to 18 range.

                1. 2

                  Why do you think he is talking about teenagers?

                  1. 5

                    The phrase “parents who are horrified by the idea that their little baby is maturing” could have been lifted out of any number of discussions I’ve heard of parents who are uncomfortable with the idea that their teenager is experimenting with sex.

                    I don’t think there’s enough information there to damn him.

                    1. 2

                      Support for teenagers having sex with adults is damning still though… why are we debating this in 2019?

                      1. 11

                        19 is “teenager”, but that’s okay? 17 years and 364 days is underage, but 18 years and 1 day is age of consent. Perhaps it was different for you, but when I turned 18 there was no “magic moment” where I was somehow more wise or capable. In quite a few jurisdictions the age of consent is 17 or 16.

                        Besides, what is an “adult”? 18? 20? 25? 30?

                        The entire thing is tricky. There are no easy answers and there is an uncomfortable grey area.

                        Why do you think he is talking about teenagers?

                        Who do you think he is not talking about teenagers? The thing that disturbs me about this entire affair is that the author takes everything rms said in the most bad faith way possible, immediately assuming to all sorts of conclusions about what he meant, even though that’s not very clear from what he actually said. The claim that rms made “excuses about rape, assault, and child sex trafficking” is a very long stretch, unless you are trying to find that in his comments.

                        1. 7

                          Also, I should point out this more recent entry: https://stallman.org/archives/2019-jul-oct.html#14_September_2019_(Sex_between_an_adult_and_a_child_is_wrong)

                          « Many years ago I posted that I could not see anything wrong about sex between an adult and a child, if the child accepted it.

                          Through personal conversations in recent years, I’ve learned to understand how sex with a child can harm per psychologically. This changed my mind about the matter: I think adults should not do that. I am grateful for the conversations that enabled me to understand why. »

                          Yours was 13 years ago, and this one is this past week. People can grow and learn and change.

                          1. 1

                            A half-hearted “I guess I was wrong” that refutes four or five previous comments means very little to me without some type of analysis into why you were wrong or what changed your position.

                            A half-hearted “I guess I was wrong” as you are receiving justified criticism? I don’t see growth and change and learning, I see deflection and minimization.

                            A half-hearted “I guess I was wrong” as you are receiving justified criticism, followed up by a “I didn’t really do anything wrong but I’m going to fall on my sword (how noble)”? Suuuuuure, you’ve changed!

                            1. 2

                              From all the examples of RMS’ behaviour that have led up to this moment, you think he’s finally going to “deflect and minimize” instead of vehemently defend his position?

                              You appear to be acting in bad faith.

                      2. 1

                        Why do you think he is talking about teenagers?

                        Because he has made other statements like:

                        1. Calling Epstein and friends “serial rapists”
                        2. He has stated in the past that if one can argue that if a child is too young to refuse or give consent, or unaware that they can refuse due to various reasons (positions of power and/or the adult/child power relationship being some of them), that one could and should view that as being non-voluntary and/or rape.
                        3. He has clarified what he means multiple times.
                        4. He dissects the group of pedophiles to narrow in on a very specific subset of classifications in which “all the stars align on a clear night with a full moon” and still does not explicitly rule out that the activities could be harmful. But you do have to hunt around and read multiple of his statements to get a clearer picture of what he might really be thinking. It simply does not fit in one post or e-mail.

                        There is pretty much only one age-group that fits the bill after processing all this information, which is the group of teenagers from 14 to 17. (By all means, correct me if I’m wrong and/or if I have missed something, but please use primary sources only).

                        In this group there exists a huge variation in how far the individuals have progressed in their development. Some teens voluntarily have their first sexual experience at the age of 14, others wait until they are 16 or 17, and yet others wait until 25 or even never have a sexual experience during their lifetime.

                        The whole point of puberty is that people experiment during that phase in their lives. Some of them might experiment with people whom are much older than they themselves are. He acknowledges that those kinds of people exist and he acknowledges that those experiments could be voluntary and he doesn’t want to take away the freedom of those who want to experiment like that. He also states that these cases “do not necessarily have to be harmful” but he also never rules out that they are not harmful. He even tends towards the default case of “yes it is harmful” in most cases by far.

                        However, when I count all the variables involved:

                        1. It has to be someone to young to consent.
                        2. It has to be someone who consciously knows what he/she is getting into.
                        3. It has to be someone who knows that he or she can say no.
                        4. It has to be someone who is confident enough to say no.
                        5. It has to be someone who is not pressured into the act.
                        6. It has to be someone who is voluntarily getting into the act.
                        7. And the list goes on and on….

                        I have to conclude that we are considering a proposition with so many variables that we are way past the point of what most individuals can mentally buffer and/or process. Cognitive psychology tells us the average person can buffer about 4 variables before the others tend to fade from memory (see Matlin or Coursera’s “learning how to learn”-course for sources on this), here we are already processing 6 and we are not even close to the required number of variables yet. This also means that the average person can probably not precisely define which cases they are discussing. Getting outraged and causing a lynch-mob is usually the easier solution. Yet Stallman does seem to buffer, process and understand all those variables which denote different shades of white, black and grey in the overall picture. He has also demonstrated in the past that he can change his opinion about controversial topics.

                        Yet this doesn’t change the fact that we are speaking about a number of cases in which “all the stars align” that is so small, can be considered a negligible number, while the number of cases in which something goes wrong is huge by comparison.

                        If you were to argue that because of this, it makes sense to create blanket legislation which essentially states “Everyone 18 years of age or older should refrain from any form of sexual activity with anyone younger than 18 years and everyone who violates this is a sex offender”, I would probably agree with you if I had never given this topic any thought before.

                        However this isn’t the first time I’ve thought about this topic and therefore I know that reality is never quite cut that clearly. The world is made up of all kinds of shades of white, grey and black and just thinking in black and white is simply not going to work out well for everybody.

                        It is exactly the kind of naive and uninformed blanket legislation I mentioned two paragraphs before and the black/white thinking that is on display in the same paragraph and the one before that one, that Stallman is advocating against. The message he has been sending for his entire life can be summarized as: “We must not forget about the edge cases in society that do not fit our current systems.”

                        Ironically this is exactly what the people who threw Stallman under the bus are pretending to advocate, but they fail to see that Stallman is actually sending the same message on a much bigger variety of topics than they themselves are and that he has been doing so for a much longer time span.

                        This brings me to the core of “what I perceive is going on here”.

                        They see a white man in a position of power and therefore he has to go down. He has debated a few controversial topics which no one can ever fully debate in 180 characters. Let’s take him down on that and call him a sex offender or a defender of sex offenders!

                        Note how this nicely fits within the average of 4 variables most people can buffer… And if you scream this loud enough and often enough, many people will simply believe it and therefore develop a bias against everything that will follow after.

                        To me this looks like a dirty power play to set an example and oust one of tech’s most prominent figures.

                        This figure conveniently also happens to be the guy who runs the foundation that builds the tools many others can use stay independent of big corporations (and others in general) and helps them to stay in charge of the technology they (should) own, because they bought it with their own (often hard earned) money.

                        You also appear to be completely blind to the fact that many victims of sexual or domestic abuse or even sex-trafficing rings, quite often have to turn to GNU-software because it operates separately from everything else and because it provides them with the controls they need to get away from their abusers. Software which operates on licenses that Stallman developed, precisely to fit these types of cases.

                        I won’t say I am triggered, because I’m not and I can handle a fierce discussion without assigning any blame, or negative personality traits to the other party I’m talking to.

                        But I am sick through my nose about; 1) the power-play I have seen playing out before in the last few days and 2) the hysterical and nauseating opinions that have been put on display in this thread out of a blatant lack of thought and preparation with which some, including you, Selam Jie Gano and others of the same political partition, are judging others and are willing to start a smear campaign which ultimately destroys a person and/or a whole group of people associated with them.

                        Please stop that. The other party might have something meaningful to say as well. Half of the discontent in the world can be removed if if are just willing to inform ourselves and listen to each other without assuming beforehand that the other party is wrong, ignorant, a religious zealot, a racist, a bigot, or just plain evil.

                        If this were a football match between Chelsea and Manchester United, the supporters of either side both see a totally different match than the other. Usually this ends in physical violence and riots. In Stallman’s case, the violence is more subtle, but getting someone fired over an opinion, still qualifies as violence in my opinion.

                        Lets at least try to understand each other and lets try to stay away from violence and all other vexing behaviours as much as possible so we can have a decent conversation, while understanding that the other party might be watching a totally different football match.

                        I thank you in advance for your consideration.

                        1. 3

                          I was with you for much of that, but here’s what I suspect actually happened: People were sick of RMS being creepy to women in ways that the world turned a blind eye to for years, and the mischaracterization (and inflation) of his comments last week was used as a proxy for finally getting him kicked out for past sins. An abuse of process, but I can see why someone would do it, frustrated at not being listened to for years.

                          (I hadn’t heard about him inappropriately hitting on women at conferences and at MIT before, but apparently it was A Thing.)

                          1. 1

                            Selam Jie Gano and others of the same political partition,

                            Let me guess, you think i’m a Liberal?

                            They see a white man in a position of power and therefore he has to go down

                            This has nothing to do with race. Why bring this up? Is it related to above?

                            The whole point of puberty is that people experiment during that phase in their lives. Some of them might experiment with people whom are much older than they themselves are. He acknowledges that those kinds of people exist and he acknowledges that those experiments could be voluntary and he doesn’t want to take away the freedom of those who want to experiment like that.

                            My two year old wants to drive my car, maybe I’m terrible for not letting him? A teenager wants to have sex with an older person, note it takes two to tango. You are making it sound like that older person is giving the younger one a gift. How blessed must the pedophiles be? So charitable! Certainly my two year old would be happy too if I let him drive, but only for a moment.

                            See, I have children so I understand what it’s like to have children. I would love to hear others who also have children if they disagree with me? Because you know, while we were all teenagers once, and understand what it’s like to be teenagers, not all of us are fathers and mothers. And it turns out not all of us are adults despite our age. Let me tell you, the reason the pedophile wants to have sex with a 14-year-old is that they have a pathology. Not because they are charitable. Not because they are kind. That 14 year old can explore as they will with others of their age, it’s their time to learn together, not some “mature person” to show them the way.

                  2. 1

                    realize that being pedantic about rape vs. statutory rape is inappropriate in this context

                    Which context? The source of all this mess is a private conversation of his that was published without his consent. Can’t we share controversial opinions privately anymore?

                    1. 2

                      Semi-public, really; it’s a university mailing list. The problem isn’t actually public/private here, it’s the threading context and timing, as far as I can tell from the jumbled mess of emails that Vice got ahold of. (I also don’t totally trust Vice, because they’ve been flagrantly misquoting him.)

                      I actually feel bad for the guy. Minksy is a colleague of his, and people are using this phrase “sexual assault”, which means different things to different people. RMS has already denounced Minsky, but wants to clear the record; he then goes about that in a very Stallman-ish way, talking about what is and isn’t rape vs. statutory rape. That last bit is the biggest problem, I think; it might have been OK if he’d just said something like “while Minsky deserves to go to prison, let’s use the right term for what he did out of respect for the difference”. (I dunno, making stuff up on the spot here, but I think that’s an accurate description of what he meant.)

                      1. 2

                        Do you realize that Minsky died three years ago? It makes no sense to talk about him in the present tense.

                        I have read the part of the thread published on vice, and there is nothing wrong with Stallman’s words. The misquoting by vice and the other media is unbelievable. The only possible critique is that “it was not the right moment to talk about that”, but then again, so what?

                        1. 1

                          I did not know that! Not sure how I missed it.

                  1. 5

                    He’s responsible for relying too much on people’s careful reading of his note, but even that’s not the problem.

                    I am glad someone finally made this point. Stallman has a glossary in which he meticulously defines the way he uses some words. A non-careful reading of anything of his without that context, is ripe for misinterpretation of his intentions. But, even with that, his resignations, and the community’s outrage – all justified, and right. He had to be held accountable for his shit throughout the years.

                    I still can’t help but be disappointed, and angry about it all though.

                    1. 4

                      It is disappointing. RMS was one of my heros. Kevin Spacey was my favorite actor. I live in a world of deep disappointment. Never meet your heros.

                      1. 2

                        It’s sadly probably why he’s so good (i.e. bad) in House of Cards. Just being himself more on screen. In the past, The Negotiator and K-Pax were pretty awesome, too. Also, doing the voice in Moon.

                        1. 1

                          Charges against Spacey have been dropped.

                          1. 2

                            So has his reputation. Even if they were dropped because he legitimately didn’t do anything (which, seems pretty unlikely), he’s already been through trial by the press.

                        2. 1

                          I don’t know what incidents over the years you are talking about, could you elaborate?

                          1. 4
                            1. 4

                              She listed a few, lets talk about them:

                              I recall being told early in my freshman year “If RMS hits on you, just say ‘I’m a vi user’ even if it’s not true.”
                              

                              So he hit on people. I believe it. Did they reject him? probably. Super awkward? Yes. Victim in this is a bit of a strong word for me.

                              “He literally used to have a mattress on the floor of his office. He kept the door to his office open, to proudly showcase that mattress and all the implications that went with it. Many female students avoided the corridor with his office for that reason…I was one of the course 6 undergrads who avoided that part of NE43 precisely for that reason. (the mattress was also known to have shirtless people lounging on it…)”
                              

                              I wouldn’t be surprised if he slept at work, I’m not sure what the implications are meant to be there. “shirtless people lounging on it” does seem strange, but it is missing some context for me.

                              When I was a teen freshman, I went to a buffet lunch at an Indian restaurant in Central Square with a graduate student friend and others from the AI lab. I don’t know if he and I were the last two left, but at a table with only the two of us, Richard Stallman told me of his misery and that he’d kill himself if I didn’t go out with him.
                              
                              I felt bad for him and also uncomfortable and manipulated. I did not like being put in that position — suddenly responsible for an “important” man. What had I done to get into this situation? I decided I could not be responsible for his living or dying, and would have to accept him killing himself. I declined further contact.
                              
                              He was not a man of his word or he’d be long dead
                              

                              To me this mostly shows he was very lonely and sexually frustrated person in the past. He probably needed help and someone to guide him in the right direction.

                              I don’t know if he has a girlfriend or wife, lots of this type of behavior disappears from sexually frustrated men after they have had a long term girlfriend.

                              1. 2

                                In Soviet Russia, every man was assigned a women.

                                There are plenty of “sad and lonely” women, but they don’t appear to do anything like “sad and lonely “ men do.

                                1. 3

                                  I don’t see your point? Yes sad and lonely men do stupid things. Likely more than women. So? That’s not a solution to the problem.

                                  I don’t think he needed ‘an assigned women’, I don’t know where you even got that idea from. He probably just needed a friend to teach him the right ways to find dates without being so creepy.

                                  I just think making them sadder and more lonely leads them to more desperation.

                                  1. 2

                                    In Soviet Russia, every man was assigned a women.

                                    Got a cite? I’m curious how that worked.

                                    1. 1

                                      That was a joke, just in case, anyone didn’t get that.

                                    2. 1

                                      Men and women are completely different, that’s why.

                            1. 16

                              The article is written by Thomas Bushnell who worked on hurd and worked closely with RMS. What I’m glad this point so clearly put, was that the issue with RMS was not just about that particular email chain. It brought the issue into a larger picture. It takes someone who knows the guy to see that since most people don’t have that kind of experience over such a long period of time.

                              1. 10

                                It takes someone who knows the guy to see that

                                I mean, Selam G. did a pretty comprehensive post with references and quotes from women harassed by RMS over the years without ever knowing RMS. I’d argue that the women in question didn’t know RMS either (which is part of why he should not have been propositioning them).

                                When someone is being abusive we usually just need to listen to the victims and observe reality.

                                1. 14

                                  I find it very hard to trust in information provided alongside clear and obvious lies about a quote, and I am suspicious of the author’s motives for misrepresenting such a quote.

                                  1. 5

                                    Did you read the article ? What part wad misrepresented ?

                                    1. 4

                                      One example out of a few from the peice, but an example with the most relevancy, a misquotation that was used by the medias (social and mainstream) to coerce Stallman out of his role.

                                      What Stallman wrote:

                                      We can imagine many scenarios, but the most plausible scenario is that she presented herself to him as entirely willing.

                                      What Selam G. wrote in her piece:

                                      …and then he says that an enslaved child could, somehow, be “entirely willing”.

                                      This is, undoubtedly, intentionally malicious.

                                      1. 1

                                        The author could also just have poor reading comprehension, I guess.

                                        1. 3

                                          Why should we listen to an author with such poor reading comprehension? Both situations make her lose a lot of credibility.

                                  2. 5

                                    Yes! listening to the victims is the most important part. I like Selam G.’s followup post which has quotes from victims.

                                    1. 5
                                      Today, I found out that Stallman had issued a rather weak and confusing apology to the CSAIL mailing list:
                                      
                                          “I want to respond to the misleading media coverage of messages I
                                          posted about Marvin Minsky’s association with Jeffrey Epstein. The
                                          coverage totally mischaracterised my statements.
                                      
                                          Headlines say that I defended Epstein. Nothing could be further from
                                          the truth. I’ve called him a “serial rapist”, and said he deserved to
                                          be imprisoned. But many people now believe I defended him — and
                                          other inaccurate claims — and feel a real hurt because of what they
                                          believe I said.
                                      
                                          I’m sorry for that hurt. I wish I could have prevented the
                                          misunderstanding.”
                                      

                                      I’m not sure what is weak or confusing about that apology.

                                      1. 8

                                        I think it’s because even while apologising he manages to say (paraphrasing) “I’m hurt by what you said I said” and “you didn’t understand me”. In fact, now I read it again he doesn’t actually apologise for anything except for being hurt.

                                        1. 5

                                          From what I read:

                                          He defended Marvin Minsky as potentially not a rapist because he might not have known the truth, but he said Epstein definitely was a rapist. He is sorry he couldn’t make that more clear.

                                          RMS said from Marvin Minsky’s perspective it was possibly a rich guys a prostitute harem of 18 year olds. Still gross, but to RMS the injustice was calling him a willing rapist, not a creep, with total certainty.

                                      2. 4

                                        The quotes in the article you linked seem to show him as a lonely sad guy who sleeps in his office. Could you elaborate on the assaults he did?

                                        To me when he allegedly said he would kill himself if he didn’t get a date, that is a sign of someone who is very lonely and needs help, not necessarily a predator. Sure it should be addressed somehow, but the author of your articles has very little empathy for other people ‘not like her’. It just sounds like a bad situation for everyone.

                                        1. 2

                                          I’m sure that Stallman was and is very lonely, but he is also, intentionally or not, trying to manipulate young women into going on dates with him and sleeping with him. That is predatory behaviour.

                                          Stallman made a large number of women uncomfortable to the extent that women professors at CSAIL kept plants in their office to ward him off. This suggests to me that they felt harassed by him.

                                          He should get help. He should also be removed from his positions of power while he gets it so that he cannot further harass women at MIT nor easily at FOSS conferences.

                                          It would be great if he stopped saying that voluntary or consensual pedophilia is possible, too.

                                          Other testaments from women: https://mobile.twitter.com/_sagesharp_/status/1173637138413318144

                                  1. 7

                                    I can understand if this topic is bumped but I do feel this is a very well written article and deserving of a read.

                                    Regardless of personal feelings about the event I think we can all acknowledge it is at least notable in the history of open source. Accounts like these, from people with intimate knowledge of the whole context, are invaluable and can sometimes have a big impact over the years.

                                    1. 16

                                      of open source.

                                      I’d just like to interject for a moment…

                                      1. 9

                                        It’d be nice if it’s notable in the sense of “this is when the FSF was able to get a new leader and begin more effective campaigning for libre software.”

                                        I suspect it’ll more likely be remembered for quite some time as “this is when call-out culture demonstrated that no history of productivity will save somebody and that having any history of opinions or nuanced rational independent thought in non-tech realms–regardless of how respected or consistent you are–online is a strict liability if you are in tech.”

                                        Edit: Whoever flagged this as troll or incorrect…you really need to explain your reasoning instead of abusing the flagging system–otherwise, it loses its effectiveness. Are you saying that my stated suspicions are not in fact my actual suspicions? If so, how would you know? If I’m trolling, who am I trolling and how? I didn’t post anything uncivil here.

                                        1. 5

                                          And this is where we’re going to. In the past, everything was archived, in libraries and elsewhere, and now pretty much everything has to be ethereal, removable in a minute’s notice, without a trace to the author.

                                          I think this is a problem for the actual times we’d need to look back and see what we did in the last 25 years… When so much of the information purposefully has to be removed in order to not subject oneself to a cancellation.

                                          1. 4

                                            “President of the Free Software Foundation” is not a technical role, it is a leadership role. It doesn’t matter how skilled or productive RMS is in the technical arena, or the manifesto-writing arena, or the underwater-basket-weaving arena, if he does not have the leadership and people skills to effectively lead, and to represent the organisation to outsiders.

                                            1. 4

                                              The issue here is that he’s one of the most hardcore Free Software advocates. He’s probably the only one capable of saying that he doesn’t use any non-free software; consistently taking the time to patiently teach people about the drawbacks of proprietary software, even so much as the “non-free” JavaScript (Obfuscript) of the websites. Everyone else just complains on Twitter to @Uber that their UX isn’t good enough; or claims to be a free software developer on GitHub, all whilst enjoying the proprietary platform to further benefit from the non-free software ecosystems. Why do people join FSF? What’s FSF without Stallman?

                                              FSF is not about OSS. Without Stallman, the guy who used to live in his office at MIT more than most, it loses its whole identity in the FLOSS world. I don’t understand why anyone would want to be associated specifically with Free Software whilst hating on the only person who truly lives by it — Dr Richard Stallman.

                                              I think this is all a setup. All those people who tried so hard to cancel Stallman don’t really care about neither Free Software nor OSS — heck, it was all done on Medium and Twitter, after all. I cannot see FSF remaining relevant when their leadership wouldn’t be practising what Stallman preached. Let’s be real here — all of us use proprietary software on a daily basis; many of us have no idea what it’d be like to live in a world that Stallman lives in.

                                              1. 3

                                                Pointing out that he was the only person living up to the standards is… not the strongest counterargument to the claim that his behavior discouraged others from getting involved.

                                                1. 2

                                                  This is not about his behaviour, this is about the standard of Free Software. If you can’t meet the standard, leadership at FSF probably isn’t for you (and that’s OK — that’s what we have Open Source and all the other communities for — doesn’t mean you have to dismantle FSF just because it doesn’t fit your immediate needs).

                                                  1. 2

                                                    doesn’t mean you have to dismantle FSF

                                                    The FSF, as far as I can tell, continues to exist. From what I’ve seen, it’s got quite a bit more funding this week than it did a month ago.

                                                    I don’t understand why anyone would want to be associated specifically with Free Software whilst hating on the only person who truly lives by it.

                                                    I don’t hate him (or anyone - humans are too complicated to hate). We all have virtues and vices; I can respect him for his virtues (many, and rare) while also finding his vices (oppositional defiance of social norms and wilful disregard for the impact his behavior has on those around him) a bridge too far.

                                                    1. 4

                                                      The FSF, as far as I can tell, continues to exist. From what I’ve seen, it’s got quite a bit more funding this week than it did a month ago.

                                                      Where exactly do you get this data from? I’ve emailed Stallman to ask him privately about his FSF resignation and what people could/should do; his suggestion was to join FSF (yes, of which he’s no longer the president).

                                                      I’ve seen someone post on Twitter (not exactly the manifestation on the use of free software, BTW) that they’ve quit FSF after learning these things about Stallman like his well-known unconventional political notes from years ago (which pretty much everyone with any sort of history in the whole FLOSS movement was very well aware of), and, on the other hand, several users posting on Reddit to have resigned from FSF membership because the only thing that kept them there was Stallman. To conclude that it’s going one way and not the other would be to perpetuate the same level of disinformation and the Trial-By-Twitter culture that brought this issue upon us in the first place; so, let’s kindly not degenerate Lobsters to that level.

                                                      Likewise, to say that FSF continues to exist is a premature assessment. If they continue to follow Stallman’s leadership, then it’s not exactly a benefit that Stallman himself has to hide or be hidden from his involvement in FSF for the rest of his life. If they do decide to deviate and embrace a more Proprietary-friendly approach, then they’ll likely lose their uniqueness and the remaining folk that affiliate themselves specifically with FSF just because of Stallman.

                                                      And I’m yet to see all these #cancelStallman folk joining the ranks of FSF; most of them probably don’t even know the difference between Free Software and OSS, and wouldn’t be the target audience of FSF as we know it anyways, making the whole point of catering to them rather moot. TBH, it just doesn’t make any sense why he resigned; I think he must have gotten scared for the future of FSF, or was tricked by some of his associates that seem have their own interest at heart. The whole thing is rather confusing to observe, especially given his own statements that he had no plans to give up just a few days prior.

                                                      1. 3

                                                        I personally wouldn’t take too much stock in a cult of personality.

                                                        rms’ leadership was controversial within the FSF. Beyond “rms is a creep” and other political toxic waste, which makes for juicy headlines (that, and with how tightly the FSF brand was tied to rms, how it reflected badly on the FSF), it’s arguably a distraction from another big reason why - there was the fundamental issue that rms was not a good leader for the FSF beyond founding it. Mistakes like appointing someone to dotGNU that just used the label to work on his PHP groupware projects while condemning Mono, eglibc and egcs forks, dying on hills that meant Emacs has better interop with clang than it does gcc, Hurd being a debacle, poor marketing campaigns that did nothing to preach to the choir, all while failing to address real problems for free software like user-hostile SaaS. The FSF has lost goodwill with actual free software (often under the GNU umbrella!) developers and promoters, not hero-worshippers.

                                                        The events of the past few days merely provided a social final straw for long-standing leadership issues.

                                                        1. 2

                                                          I’m yet to see all these #cancelStallman folk joining the ranks of FSF

                                                          Anecdotes are not data, but I know several who subscribed in the wake of the announcement.

                                                          probably don’t even know the difference between Free Software and OSS, and wouldn’t be the target audience of FSF as we know it

                                                          This, I don’t follow at all. People who know the difference between OSS and Free Software don’t need to be reached. The target audience of the FSF, surely, is people who are not yet aware of why Free Software is important.

                                                  2. 1

                                                    Promoting Free Software (specifically, not including Open Source) is advocacy from a moral perspective - it asks people to give up immediate monetary gain, for the sake of the greater good of society.

                                                    It behooves the leaders of such a movement not to be “perfect” - no-one is - but to adhere to the more moral end of the social spectrum. A leader of an advocacy group that embezzles money will lose credibility, for example.

                                                    No-one has accused RMS of financial impropriety, nor has he done anything that amounts to a conviction in a criminal or civil court. But his reported behavior and public statements effectively makes it impossible for him to represent an advocacy group like the FSF. Every appearance he would make could be used by enemies of Free Software to hinder its goals.

                                                    “Dr. Stallman, your ideas for software development are interesting, but let’s talk about how you’ve defended pedophilia….”

                                                    It sucks, and it’s technically unfair, and as a fellow human being I feel really sorry for RMS right now, but it’s the rules you have to live by as a very public figure and advocate.

                                                2. 3

                                                  I’d already come to the conclusion that ‘default open’ is no longer a useful approach to online life. It seems to be confirmed time and again.

                                                  1. 3

                                                    nuanced rational independent thought in non-tech realms

                                                    If you have rational thought expand on poor axioms, your thought can be extremely nuanced, rational and independent, and still be grossly wrong. Rationality alone is not a good indicator of intelligence and should not be a singular measure. Stallman’s axioms were not good (my claim) and his rational arguments built from them are therefore invalid. I’ve read plenty of rational arguments from flat-earthers that were nuanced, rational, and independent. They were also wrong because their axioms are wrong.

                                                    What people complained RMS was not his ability to be rational and logical. But the way he treated women. The email thread was simply a spark that allowed others to express their complaint.

                                                    1. 2

                                                      I think the point of Bushnell’s post was that the opposition to RMS may have stemmed more from unethical behavior than from his opinions.

                                                  1. 0

                                                    Ok guys, enough jokes, but seriously , why not C++.

                                                    1. 1

                                                      Cuz Flow gave us FoundationDB. It was crazy good on the QA side vs most. Wait, that’s still C++ in a way. ;)

                                                    1. 8

                                                      I usually sit back on controversial ones letting democracy work here. I like seeing what different groups do for what reasons. The group that flags low-signal content is usually 3-4 votes or something. This is a rare situation where it hit 12. That’s close to the upvoting crowd which has several times their votes on most posts.

                                                      So, I flagged as off-topic. That’s on top of my perception of it being gossip with lots of unknowns presented with a selective, interpretation-heavy type of reporting often associated with bullshit. Intentional or unintentional. For serious charges, too. This isn’t how reporting or due process should work.

                                                      1. 5

                                                        Turns out his opinions on pedophilia are public and pretty clear. Just look search on stallman.org. So I think the OPs criticism is valid.

                                                        1. 7

                                                          Your next link is a snippet of text on your own website that I might be able to do in MS Paint if not wanting to do a web page.

                                                          Look, this is your activist piece. If you want results, you need to have the link to proof that’s credible ready to go. It should’ve been the first link I saw. You put plenty of effort into two that would get tossed out of court. Get a stronger case together with references available up front, package it up nicely, and target the groups that can actually do something about Stallman if they believe the evidence.

                                                          That’s how you do it. Don’t forget that he says she says, anonymous snippings on 3rd party sites, etc could be used against you in a smear campaign. Keep it up if you’d personally accept total ruin on a person’s hearsay and an image on a stranger’s web site. Otherwise, due process with credible evidence, esp first hand.

                                                            1. 8

                                                              Something real to work with. Ok, reading the linked article, the first thing I want to know is whether he was responding to the 14-16 idea or the rest cuz he said voluntary.

                                                              The first is whether young people, esp teens in high school, should be able to have sex with older people at the age when they’re biologically-programmed to try to have sex, usually are having sex for purely non-rational reasons (esp fun), are doing it with each other, and sometimes detrimentally due to immaturity. “Underage sex” is so normal it’s in so many books and shows yet specifics in real life must be taboo or evil.

                                                              On other hand, almost all real-life victims (I’ve met a few) and realistic depictions in movies involving rape show it does much more damage than folks consentually enjoying each others time in ways deemed illegal. (Sidenote: Gay folks should relate to this in many areas.) The damage difference makes it false to equate the two, even diminishing what rape is. “Statutory rape” belittles it.

                                                              If we have laws on this, I never thought they should be as serious as they are if both parties consent (focusing on teens here). If anything, it should have its own label (eg unlawful sex), its own lower set of consequences (eg misdemeanor or infraction), and not put people on lists that make people think they were actual rapists devastating other people with the folks on lists screwed for life. That the allowances of three years and such from 18 shows even lawmakers get what I’m saying to a degree. The label and damage to the accused should be closer to the actual damage or no-damage done to the victim or “victim.” If no damage and just illegal, those punished should have chance for recovery vs what existing situation is.

                                                              (Side note: There was a quote in OP that said it was rape because the law, statutory rape, says it’s rape. Some of the consent laws over here say it’s not rape if the kid is married off to someone they abhor with parent’s consent. Steel yourself up and look up “forced child marriage,” “child brides,” etc. Also get young as 12-14. The law said it’s consensual marriage, though, so it is consentual sex or something like that. Whereas, Nick P. said it was some forced, prolonged, sick, child rapist shit. Just noting these laws giving parents consent have issues above on damage-to-crime ratio and ensure in current form years of actual child rape.)

                                                              The second option is he’s for any child to have sex with any adult. I’m 100% against that for obvious reasons. I’d have to know he’s about that given it’s rare view. Your link already justifies at least pressing him on the issue. Also, you could use this to push him out of an event or project that was focused on children. Past that, I don’t know if it’s relevant unless you’re a group that ditches people and opportunities 100% on principle if they have any association with evil. Thing is, most of the morally-outraged folks on Lobsters work for, use products from, and so on high evils. I’d usually say the line is being drawn where it allows beneficial-to-them evils and blocks evils good for their outgroup. In this case, this one is really serious and universally hated. I’ll pass on that analysis vs excessive damage in the laws in teen situations.

                                                              I just don’t know which group he falls in based on that broad set of demands they were making. Someone should ask him to be really specific about the various claims in the linked article. Give him a chance to put them down, endorse something, or ignore it. Then, we learn more. Meanwhile, you can present it to conference organizers, colleges, etc trying to achieve something with them.

                                                              1. 4

                                                                It’s pretty simple here, RMS thinks children can consent to sex, and that it should be ok if it’s consensual. My argument is also simple. I don’t want to live in a world where we have to constantly debate “but can children consent to sex with an adult?”. Anyone entertaining the idea should automatically be disqualified as an idiot. RMS here is an idiot and I can’t take him seriously anymore. There is nothing wrong with being dogmatic here. Makes the world a much nicer and saner place. We have much more important issues to deal with than some bullshit about consent and children. No, children cannot consent to sex with an adult, end of story.

                                                                1. 9

                                                                  I haven’t seen evidence in the links of what you said since he might be talking about teenagers, which were in the link. The combo of Presumption of Innocence and Principle of Charity means what you linked would make me watch him carefully in those situations on top of asking pointed questions. He should be pushed to answer specifics. Back to the other topic.

                                                                  “children”

                                                                  A broad label applied to everyone between 0 and 18 used in this case to turn specific humans into monsters. The KKK used that approach, too. I dismissed their label since it didn’t fit evidence about people involved. Here, you’re about people who have gone through puberty, are designed/evolved to be sexually active with arbitrary people, and who are actively seeking sex. Then, you’re equating them with pre-pubescent kids not seeking sex. There’s a world of difference. Society itself already created a new label, teenagers, specifically for this class of youth. So, there’s inconsistency here.

                                                                  I certainly didn’t think of myself as a child at 14 with the 16-18 years olds about indistinguishable in behavior. Today’s 16 yr olds mostly act like the 14 yr olds in my school. The teenagers’ behavior were pretty similar. They were really different from those much younger who we usually think of as children. My question is “Why do we treat them like adults with things like drivers licenses, school activities, financial responsibility, and ability to enter military to command and/or kill other people? And then, the second they want to smoke, drink, or have sex, they’re suddenly children?” Makes no sense at all.

                                                                  “Anyone entertaining the idea should automatically be disqualified as an idiot. “

                                                                  That would’ve been most of civilized society at many times in the world, including current time depending on area. People used to marry in 12-14 range. Society pushed it up after deeming it inappropriate. Age of consent varies depending on area. Early laws on statutory rape had 17yr old couples getting together, guy turns 18, and he’s charged as a rapist. By your definition, he should be since he was “an adult having sex with children” (or one in particular). Laws were modified to allow gaps of a few years that look similar to high school timeline. So, now I’m claiming we might change them again to either reduce the age or stop treating consensual sex with teenagers like a violent act with lower penalties for the former. We still have high penalties for sex with younger people.

                                                                  Another thing that’s odd about our debate is your personal philosophy. You told me you measured science, law, ethics, etc by how it contributes to human happiness and potential. I liked that. So, let’s apply that view to an extremely common scenario. There’s a 16-17 year old whose behavior is indistinguishable from 18 who wants to have sex with a college student for fun, like the 18 yr olds. Both are willing, they’ll enjoy it, and they’ll be happier for it. You have two options:

                                                                  1. Let them do it based on default of allowing any action that doesn’t damage another party. There’s no damage: just fun they both want to have.

                                                                  2. For some reason, put the older one in a federal prison. They’re beaten and raped repeatedly for years. When they get out, they’re a felon who can’t get a good job. They’re also given a label usually reserved for people who actually rape pre-pubescent kids. People speculate about them for the rest of their life. They can’t take their kids or whatever near schools. Many effects.

                                                                  Your belief system would’ve made me think you’d have gone with No 1 or at least lower penalties if it was a teenager close to the legal age. That you want someone who made someone happy to be repeatedly beaten and raped doesn’t fit your professed worldview. You’ve made a strange exception. I voted in the opposite direction: let the stuff happen with no penalities or, if a ban is deemed worthy, the penalties that normally go with victimless crimes. It’s only fair.

                                                                  Side note: Without prison reform, everyone who you send to a serious prison will be beaten and/or raped. Some will be forced to join gangs to survive committing crimes outside prison. If (a) know this, (b) don’t try to stop it, and (c) send someone to prison, then you’re the cause of that as much as the people inside. I could put a rapist or killer through that. People having consensual sex, prostitutes, pot dealers, folks that gambled money, etc don’t deserve to receive all that violence. So, I vote for no charges or lower ones that lead to places not as rough on top of advocating for prison reform. People can tell themselves whatever they want but putting non-violent, non-rapist folks in places like that is making similar acts happen. So, they’re partly responsible. You all might want to consider that when evaluating what should be high-class felonies.

                                                                  1. 4

                                                                    The reason there is a law that makes 18 or 16 or whatever threshold adult vs child, even though a 17 year old and an 18 year old are basically the same is that it’s not just about puberty (which is a fuzzy concept), but power relations. Consent is about power relations and when there is a large age difference during this early time in life, the gradient of power is large. You simply create a threshold because it’s a fuzzy subject. The law would be too complicated otherwise. It’s an approximation.

                                                                    So sorry, teenagers having sex with other teenagers is not the same thing as a teenager having sex with a college kid because a college kid has far more power than a teenager.

                                                                    But you completely ignored my power relations argument. Instead, you go into some weird “they have fully functioning sex organs” argument. Since you ignore power relations completely, you are missing the whole point. Sexual assault is not about age but power relations. It’s not whether someone is “mature enough”, it’s about the differences in power between two people. This is why teenagers having sex with each other is not a big deal, but a college kid or adult having sex with teenagers is.

                                                                    1. 6

                                                                      “ you go into some weird “they have fully functioning sex organs” argument.”

                                                                      Come on, man. My argument had more to it. Legal sex is usually just two people that have gone through puberty, are also 18, want to have sex for (arbitrary reason here), and then do. The 18 part seems arbitrary. The punishment was also extreme. The only person I know that made an argument like you just worded that was Silvio Berlusconi. Don’t be lumping me in there with him.

                                                                      “But you completely ignored my power relations argument. “

                                                                      You never made a power relations argument. You just said “sex with children” and children couldn’t consent. You now brought up your actual point I’m guessing. Let’s talk about that.

                                                                      “but power relations. Consent is about power relations”

                                                                      I’ve never heard of this. I just follow the mainstream conversations in corporate media, social media, etc that represents what most people talk about and believe on these topics. Power relationships they usually talk about are authority figures essentially: parents, bosses, preachers, judges, etc who can unravel the other person’s life. I’m guessing consent = power relations in general is another far-left, liberal belief that comes out of universities. I give them all a chance, though. I’m very interested in any links you or others have that delve deep into this subject with examples.

                                                                      Now, just going from the phrase you uttered to where it leads me. Been a long day. So, the noggin just comes up with a few ideas:

                                                                      1. Perhaps you mean they have more experience, wits, and so on to game the younger people. This is true of everyone at 18 and older, too. There’s no societal rules or laws keeping people who might have more game from having sex with them. College folks might even get hit with it more since they’re even more independent and sexually active.

                                                                      2. Maybe you’re talking about they have more money, connections, etc. That’s true in general for a lot of people. No laws against having sex with those above you in class or power. It’s true on average for older people than younger people. It’s not true if younger people come from a higher class where they can bring in their parents’ skill, lawyers, etc.

                                                                      3. The inverse: young people’s claims or accusations of messing with them can ruin careers of anyone who isn’t as capable of dodging them as, say, Donald Trump. Much like the metoo stuff. The recent string of them has all kinds of upper-class and executive men spending less time with women, doing it only with cameras or witnesses that are women, having less private conversations (esp mentoring) and so on. That doesn’t sound like power so much as extreme vulnerability. Even more so with youth where seeing folks destroyed who did nothing led me to take same actions.

                                                                      Adding to No 3, I absolutely refuse to be around most minors whose parents I don’t know well unless I’m on camera and/or there’s witnesses. I know my life will be toast if they make a single claim. That’s not me having power over them: they have power over me. That defense saved my ass a few times with some female predators which took older and younger women testifying to defeat. Who has the power again in that scenario if I’m relying on all of them to not be destroyed by hearsay from just one?

                                                                      So, looking at it, I see some power here, none there, vulnerability yet over there, and yet everything you say applies to those 18 and up with no legislation addressing it. The intent, reasoning/emotion, and circumstances are nearly the same with one treated like sex regardless of power and one is rape regardless of what person in question wants or is capable of. It’s just inconsistent regardless of whether we keep it illegal.

                                                                      I still want your references on consent = power relations, though. It will also take time to mentally process it weighing it against everything else people of various ages have told me. I’ll get back to you if anything comes out of that.

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                                                                        At least over here in Australia, “Power relations” means that if you’re someones direct supervisor, university teacher, parole officer etc then their consent isn’t considered to be ‘freely given’.

                                                                        1. 4

                                                                          Thanks for bringing another country’s perspective. That view is same as what I described with authority figures over here. mempko view is something else on top of it giving it’s random people doing things for fun.

                                                                        2. 1

                                                                          At any given time, people can have power over others. At any given time, there are social hierarchies that can develop. Some of the hierarchies are static (like at a company, or organization). Teacher/student, Boss/worker, Police/Citizen, Coach/Player. Some are dynamic. Many of these hierarchies are NOT voluntary in the sense that there is real harm not playing along. Don’t play the Boss/worker game as a worker? You get fired. Don’t play the Teacher/student game, you get punished. Don’t play the player/coach game, you don’t play. In those circumstances, you don’t have consent. You do things because you are told to, even if you want to do them.

                                                                          For example, if a soldier follows the instruction of a general, they are not consenting, and also they are not guilty of crimes, the general is. Or in a company, if a worker does something illegal at the command of their boss, it is the boss who would go to jail, not the worker, because the worker cannot consent. Even if the worker wanted to do the illegal thing, or the solder wanted to do the war crime, it’s not consent. Why? Because if they didn’t want to (vs wanted to), they wouldn’t have a choice in the matter if they didn’t want to harm themselves.

                                                                          When it comes to children, it’s clear that with adults, they are always in some kind of heirarchy. They are NOT peers with the same power. Therefore, there is no consent, and sex cannot be consensual. Even if they ‘wanted’ to, the question you have to ask yourself is, what if they didn’t want to? Could they say no without consequence?

                                                                          In other words, you can’t tell if someone wanted to do something, or HAD to do something when there are unequal power relations. Even in situations where they say they wanted to, you can’t tell, because there could be consequences of them saying otherwise if those relationships are in play.

                                                                          Or to make it more obvious, If I put a gun to your head and told you to have sex with me, would you be consenting even if you wanted to? How could anyone else tell?

                                                                          1. 5

                                                                            re hierarchies. I mentioned them in my post. Most of America agrees with you on that. What’s controversial is the part you added about 18-20 “adults” and 16-17 “children” having a power structure that should make sex between them banned but not anyone else. That’s my focus here. I’ve never heard of such power structure in those circumstnaces.

                                                                            “When it comes to children, it’s clear that with adults, they are always in some kind of heirarchy. “

                                                                            It’s really not. We didn’t obey college kids or random adults when I was in school. We obeyed those we had to who had actual power. Your theory is already not fitting the data. Further, who had power over who depending almost entirely on circumstances, not age.

                                                                            I’m going to give you some examples of younger women I met when I was in college. I want you to explain how I have power over them instead of the other way around. I want your theory to fit the evidence. In this, I’m going to be a poor, white nerd with a barely-functioning car, a part-time job, lots of college work, and no lawyer.

                                                                            1. Popular, attractive women with many friends including folks on the football team. They make one call, someone gets put in the hospital. I claim these women have power over me since they could make my life a living hell or even end it (odds unknown).

                                                                            2. Similar to 1, less popular or attractive women who have similarly dangerous connections. They might range from authority figures to cops to dangerous relatives (common) to gang members. I have to worry about keeping them happy.

                                                                            3. Women with more game or social ability than me. They can block me, win at social games more, and tarnish my reputation if we split in a bad way. I’m no threat to them. So, they have the power.

                                                                            4. Women with money, esp from their parents. These women had cars, access to more jobs, and their parents would make problems go away for them. They can’t solve all problems. The amoral ones gave us serious headaches. Still do in current workplace. They have more power.

                                                                            5. Women with less social ability or mental aptitude than me who have no connections or financial advantages. Although money isn’t a factor, I don’t date women with the remaining attributes since my partners must complement me, challenge me, and/or be worth bragging on a bit. If I did No 5, I would have power in that situation. Hard to say how much, though, as that varies by circumstances.

                                                                            So, looking at reality instead of theories from radical far-left, I find that I was powerless in most situations. This wasn’t limited to nerds: it was anyone with less social ability, connections, or resources than the other side. Your theory, that we had power, was 100% inaccurate in practice in many or most relationships. So, it must be modified to fit that power goes in opposite direction with protections for us or discarded in favor of a new, data-driven theory.

                                                                            The other problem was inconsistency. By your definition, this automatic, age-based power relation would exist in all people having sex with older, experienced people. By your rule, 18’s couldnt do 20’s, 20’s couldn’t do 25’s, etc since there’s automatically an invisible power relation just on age making them unable to consent. Yet, I’ve never heard any of you wanting statutory rape laws in place for 18+ for that reason. So, I’m not buying that you actually believe this since you left a huge hole in it from 18 to 120 years.

                                                                            You’re claiming, against field evidence, that 18+ always has power over 15-17 to such a degree it’s impossible for them to consent just due to age, and that power relation effect either magically goes away after 18+ (ha!) or their ability to consent despite power relations magically forms where no statutory provisions are needed. You’ve applied a concept reasonable in other power structures to situations with lower, wildly-varying power that only applies sub-18 in one direction but magically disappears afterwards. There’s wild ideas in theoretical physics I rejected that were at least more logically consistent than this.

                                                                            “In other words, you can’t tell if someone wanted to do something, or HAD to do something when there are unequal power relations. “

                                                                            Again, this is two people who aren’t worker/boss, teacher/student, etc where there’s actual power in play. This is just two people who know each other and wanted to have sex for whatever reason. Usually hormones or sex drive with you looking at that way too analytically. Only people I’ve see do folks for rational reasons are single golddiggers going person to person, prostitutes (overt golddiggers), and folks doing strategic marriages often for money (legal golddiggers). You can replace gold with another selfish goal. Most sex is risky, irrational, and all about pleasure.

                                                                            Due to how this works, we can know they wanted to do something since they can charge the other person with actual rape if they didn’t. Your whole line of reasoning leaves out that we have already laws against all kinds of predatory behavior. If they don’t want sex, they don’t give it as social standards already dictate. Their body, their right. If they do want it, they give it and have sex. That’s how you know they wanted to have sex. I think this is also the first time I’ve ever had to explain that.

                                                                            1. 0

                                                                              It’s clear you understand power relations.

                                                                              It’s funny that you disregard option 5 because your logic is, you want to be with women who are equal or in higher stances in the social hierarchy than you. So by definition, you created scenarios that you are lower in hierarchy most of the time. Then you say “see look, I’m the one who has less power”. Well duh. My advice to you is, find someone you love who is your peer, where you have mutual respect for each other and where they don’t hold power over you.

                                                                              Your whole line of reasoning leaves out that we have already laws against all kinds of predatory behavior.

                                                                              Do you mean like having sex with children? Or are you arguing those other laws are fine, but this one isn’t? I’m not interested in getting rid of those laws because I have no interest in having sex with people under 18. Why is it 18 and not 16, or 14, or 20? It doesn’t matter, the line is drawn somewhere to, as you said, prevent predatory behavior.

                                                                              My logic is that age is a factor because the younger you are, the more likelihood people older than you are higher in a hierarchy for your social situation. Adult/child is a hierarchy we have and that hierarchy is defined by age in our society. Other societies have rites of passage that define it.

                                                                              If they don’t want sex, they don’t give it as social standards already dictate.

                                                                              You are clearly an idealist and not a realist. Yes, ideally their body, their right. If that was true, we wouldn’t have rape and sexual assault, but we do. I personally want a world with no unjust hierarchy. But I also don’t pretend to live in a world without unjust hierarchy. Yes, ideally everyone can consent and live in a world where we are all among peers, where no single person has power over others, but that’s not the world we have. Maybe you are just a far-left idealist in disguise? Because that’s the world the far-left wants.

                                                                    2. 1

                                                                      There is nothing wrong with being dogmatic here. Makes the world a much nicer and saner place. We have much more important issues to deal with than some bullshit about consent and children. No, children cannot consent to sex with an adult, end of story.

                                                                      There is something wrong with being dogmatic here, and that is that it is the same way of thinking that lead tot the holocaust.

                                                                      One of the quotes that has been etched into the history-books is a leader of the Dutch resistance, whom ran a network used to shelter jews from prosecution is along the lines of; “Now you see how they really are! They even trade in their own people if it makes them money!”. Keep in mind that this was said in a context where a jewish lady that was part of the resistance, deliberately compromised some of their operations in hopes of making it out alive herself.

                                                                      The real lesson there was that we should not allow dogma’s into our reasoning ever again.

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                                                            Why is there so much pedophilia apologia in this thread?

                                                            1. 9

                                                              Where are you seeing that? The person spamming the most about it is mempko, who isn’t even decent enough to link to the actual thing they’re crowing about–which is a shame, ’cause the secondary link there would really help their case.

                                                              1. 4

                                                                Where are you seeing that?

                                                                Strange considering you said this.

                                                                Stallman is Stallmaning as per normal

                                                                In other words, stallman making excuses for pedophilia is somehow a ‘stallman just being his cute self’ thing. In other words, you are doing pedophilia apologia of the second order.

                                                                The person spamming the most about it is mempko

                                                                Other people call ‘spamming’ having a conversation.

                                                                who isn’t even decent enough to link to the actual thing they’re crowing about

                                                                I didn’t link to it because I thought a picture would be easier and I didn’t realize he had anchors to those comments.

                                                                1. 4

                                                                  As someone is deeply troubled by Epstein, the media lab, and just about everything related to this ugly business, I’d still cut RMS (and friendlysock by proxy) some slack. It’s a borderline Terry Davis situation.

                                                                  1. 9

                                                                    I’m well aware that he’s personally responsible for a shitload of the things I use daily. Not every tenured professor is so generous with their time, and that’s to his credit.

                                                                    He follows his moral compass, no matter what. I have a lot of respect for him for being able to do that, though I often disagree with where that compass points.

                                                                    I know multiple people, women and men, who got out of the FSF because of his behavior. They were good engineers. That’s not the mark of an effective leader.

                                                                    1. 1

                                                                      This is probably the best argument to cut RMS some slack. However, I don’t believe he is borderline Terry Davis. Stallman calls himself ‘borderline autistic’. I’m curious to know if other autistics have similar views to his. However, Stallman’s cause that he has been fighting is a social and moral cause. It’s clear he has strong moral convictions and if anything I should keep him to high moral standards that he himself would keep. He is just wrong, badly wrong about this, and if anyone needs to be pressed about it, it would be someone like him who has strong moral convictions. I think a bigger disrespect to RMS would be ‘you have a bad brain, you are therefore excused’ since he would likely strongly disagree with this.

                                                                      1. 1

                                                                        “Bad brain” is editorializing.

                                                                        Terry Davis was one of the few people in this industry who managed to call it what it is: error, confusion. He also saw CIA glowni*****s when he went to Target. Nutty? Yes. Bad brain? Hell no. A very relevant one!

                                                                        RMS is obviously touched–perhaps not to Terry’s extent, but still touched. What he feels about that diagnosis doesn’t change anything. Facts are facts.

                                                                    2. 5

                                                                      Additionally,

                                                                      https://stallman.org/archives/2003-may-aug.html

                                                                      28 June 2003

                                                                      The nominee is quoted as saying that if the choice of a sexual partner were protected by the Constitution, “prostitution, adultery, necrophilia, bestiality, possession of child pornography, and even incest and pedophilia” also would be. He is probably mistaken, legally–but that is unfortunate. All of these acts should be legal as long as no one is coerced. They are illegal only because of prejudice and narrowmindedness.

                                                                      Also, to use Stallman’s own words, look at all the “narrowminded” downvotes on the article. It’s interesting, why downvote such a thing as off-topic when it’s very much about a central figure of free software, a focus of this forum? There are regularly far more poorly written technical pieces on this website that are upvoted to the top only because they don’t call a “hero” of free software out for thinking pedophilia is totally fine.

                                                                      While friendlysock said, “Stallman is Stallmaning as per normal” I’d say that the software community is just being itself as per usual. Morally bankrupt in its perpetual fence-sitting and deathly frightened of approaching any social problems on their own terms.

                                                                      1. 14

                                                                        I’ll respond to both you and mempko.

                                                                        kel:

                                                                        It’s interesting, why downvote such a thing as off-topic when it’s very much about a central figure of free software, a focus of this forum?

                                                                        In short, because it’s ugly and petty and not even news to anybody who’s familiar with Stallman’s writing, style, or viewpoints.

                                                                        Because it’s gossip, because I’d bet few people here even interact with Stallman on a regular basis, and from a standpoint of actionability the takeaway seems to be “Don’t have low EQ or autism or ever be mistaken about anything important because if you do people will ignore three decades of exceptionally hard work in favor of getting a chance to tear you down and misrepresent you in the press.”

                                                                        There are regularly far more poorly written technical pieces on this website that are upvoted to the top only because they don’t call a “hero” of free software out for thinking pedophilia is totally fine

                                                                        That’s incorrect. Those articles are in fact technical while this one is not, and frankly actionable, while this one is not–unless you consider mob justice and doxxing action. Further, look at it simply: the folks that are going to think pedophilia is wrong are not suddenly going to see the light, and the (probably, hopefully) small minority that think it is fine are not going to stop. There’s little to be gained here–hell, I’m only engaging because I think that using Lobsters as a clearinghouse for witch-hunts is bad practice.

                                                                        mempko:

                                                                        In other words, stallman making excuses for pedophilia is somehow a ‘stallman just being his cute self’ thing. In other words, you are doing pedophilia apologia of the second order.

                                                                        It’s not Stallman “being his cute self”, as you so dismissively put it. I put “Stallmanning” because there’s a very particular brand of hairsplitting that some folks do, and Stallman in particular is both very very particular about word choice (arguably to the detriment of the FSF, see the profound verbosity of the GPL and AGPL), famously stubborn (like, because he doesn’t run non-free software and because he handles emails in bulk periodic downloads, the poor bastard probably isn’t even going to see most of these articles about him until next week when it’ll be too late to do anything about it), and in possession of one of the strongest moral compasses I’ve ever seen in tech.

                                                                        Him saying “hey, if something is wrong, it shouldn’t be wrong because it’s the wrong calendar day in the year for this jurisdiction” is not defending statuatory rape, it’s him trying to make sure we’re talking about something other than the banalities of law. And note, in the transcripts, he explicitly acknowledges both that the lady was being harmed and that there was a bunch of information we don’t know and so we should give the benefit of a doubt.

                                                                        Him saying “hey, if people aren’t being coerced, something shouldn’t be illegal just because people are squicked out by it” is pretty tame support of explicit consent and not blindly making laws. You can disagree with him about whether or not kids can give consent, or how old they have to be to do so, or whether his understanding of developmental psychology is correct, but his core claim is something that can be engaged with without needing the explanation that he’s some sort of monster.

                                                                        ~

                                                                        I get that y’all are out for blood and nothing will slate your desire to string up some poor autistic nerd who is a relic of a time where people could think critically and engage specifically with words on mailing lists and generally not assume the worst of their coworkers, but can you just…like..do it somewhere else?

                                                                        (If you want to continue this slapfight, DMs are open.)

                                                                        1. 10

                                                                          I get that y’all are out for blood and nothing will slate your desire to string up some poor autistic nerd who is a relic of a time where people could think critically and engage specifically with words on mailing lists and generally not assume the worst of their coworkers

                                                                          can we stop doing this? his behaviour is not caused by (supposed, not diagnosed) autism, it’s assholery, and assigning it to being on the spectrum is patronising to the people actually being on the spectrum; people on the spectrum have been writing about it since long; cf. Russel Coker’s take from 2012 and more recent The Myth of the Autistic Jerk by Brandon Weaver.

                                                                          1. 3

                                                                            Ok, I can easily argue his core argument. When two people consent, who makes the decision it’s consent? If two people have unequal power relationship, can consent exist? I would argue NO. Consent can only exist between peers. He mentioned necrophilia (clearly one side cannot consent ) or bestiality (clearly one side can not consent ) and pedophilia (clearly one side can not consent). This is because in all of those cases, there are unequal power relations.

                                                                            RMS is wrong as explained above. For him to dismiss power relations is wrong. His arguments against the protesters are petty and wrong. Is he being rational ? Yes. You can be both rational and very wrong at the same time.

                                                                          2. 3

                                                                            Thank You!

                                                                            The cause RMS is fighting (Free Software) is a just cause. However , his understanding of people is poor, therefore his social commentary is poor and at times, completely bankrupt.

                                                                          3. 1

                                                                            I don’t see “X being X as normal” in any way apologetic. More accepting of facts. If you are not in the position of power to stop X from doing X.. I’d use that if “X doing/being X” if I saw it multiple times. There’s no endorsing or going up in arms.

                                                                            If this is a good thing to do is another topic, but I do think you’re reading too much into this statement. Whenever I read such a statement, the *eyeroll* is basically implied, so to me it actually sounds the complete other way - but of course I could be wrong as well.

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                                                                        Why do we allow the jokes and the comments and everything small to just ‘slide’?

                                                                        Instead we should fire everyone? He doesn’t seem to be defending Minsky so much as saying we can’t equate what he did to a worse crime because we don’t know the details of it. That seems reasonable to me.

                                                                        And what does this even have to do with “men in tech”? It’s one guy.

                                                                        1. 17

                                                                          Knee-jerk reactions and misguided moral outrage seems to be the internet’s #1 hobby these days. Fact checking, skepticism, and independent thinking be damned. (And it’s the reason the U.S. is a slave to the two-party political system.)

                                                                          I’m not a member of the RMS fan club but I’ve been following his writings and positions for a long time now. He’s as crazy as the sky is blue but one thing he is not is careless or immoral. He can pick apart a poorly reasoned argument with surgical, dispassionate precision and this really gets under the skin of those who would rather try to rely on raw emotion alone to further their cause, noble or not.

                                                                          1. 6

                                                                            (And it’s the reason the U.S. is a slave to the two-party political system.)

                                                                            No it’s not, the US has been a two-party country since its founding (when presumably there was more “[f]act checking, skepticism, and independent thinking” according to your analysis).

                                                                            The reason the US has a two-party system is because congressional seats and electoral college seats are awarded by a first-past-the-post electoral system.

                                                                            1. 2

                                                                              Knee-jerk reactions and misguided moral outrage seems to be the internet’s #1 hobby these days.

                                                                              This is what I say whenever I read anyone saying anything negative on the internet

                                                                              1. 1

                                                                                (And it’s the reason the U.S. is a slave to the two-party political system.)

                                                                                That should probably be blamed on the spoiler effect, which is present in most voting systems but is extremely bad in first-past-the-post.

                                                                              2. 7

                                                                                I don’t want to live in a world where we have to constantly debate “but can children consent to sex?”. It should be simply that if anyone, even joking, asks something like that, they automatically disqualify themselves as an idiot. This includes RMS here, he is an idiot.

                                                                                1. 6

                                                                                  This depends on your jurisdiction as to what a “child” is as far as consent goes, though. 17 isn’t considered a “child” as far as consent goes in many areas.

                                                                                  Regardless, Stallman’s job has literally nothing to do with this as far as I can tell, so he shouldn’t be losing his job over what many would consider a bad opinion.

                                                                                  1. 4

                                                                                    It’s not about what I think is a child, it’s that Stallman thinks that children can consent. Stallman isn’t thinking ‘mempko thinks children are 17 and I think therefore that children can consent because 17 is a lot like 18’. He is thinking ‘children, whatever age, can consent’.

                                                                                    1. 5

                                                                                      It’s not about what I think is a child, it’s that Stallman thinks that children can consent. Stallman isn’t thinking ‘mempko thinks children are 17 and I think therefore that children can consent because 17 is a lot like 18’. He is thinking ‘children, whatever age, can consent’.

                                                                                      Actually, no, that is not what he said about the issue. Please read his original message again.

                                                                                      He states that there are cases where a child can consent. For example a 17 year old and an 18 year old in a relationship, where the age of consent is 18. In practice, we mostly allow such relationships to exist just about everywhere in the world, but if you apply the rules radically, like an algorithm would do, then the 18 year old would be a pedophile by definition.

                                                                                      Stallman wrote his statements with the use of an existential quantifier as opposed to a for-all quantifier, and argues that whether or not there is consent, should be judged on a case-by-case basis.

                                                                                      I will admit that Stallman is a terrible writer for not realizing that these details will be glossed over and not picked up by many. However that does not change his fundamental message that we as humans, do not always fit within the clearly defined borders.

                                                                                      He has been searching and (deliberately) constructing edge-cases for his entire life, this is just another one. It’s too bad the blind masses can’t see this in a time where his message is more relevant than ever.

                                                                                      1. 4

                                                                                        No one knows what Stallman thinks but him. If you want to get outraged, feel free, but I don’t see the warrant for it.

                                                                                        1. 4

                                                                                          He literally spells it out on his own website and you are still in denial. Also supports necrophilia and bestiality as long as it’s consensual. Think of that next time you look into your dogs eyes.

                                                                                          1. 4

                                                                                            Let me preface this by saying that I really could not care less about Stallman as a person. I don’t know him, have no interest in meeting him, and certainly don’t hold him up as some sort of standard of being.

                                                                                            I have not read his website and I have no interest in doing so. I honestly don’t care about his opinions as they’re irrelevant to his (and my) job. I would like to see a citation for the necrophilia and bestiality because it sounds so absurd, though. All of this comes back to the fact that I really don’t care what he thinks and his opinions, bizarre as they may be, should not get him fired for his work in software.

                                                                                            1. 3

                                                                                              should not get him fired for his work in software.

                                                                                              This isn’t about his work in software (he’s a tenured professor) - this is about whether he’s the right leader for the FSF.

                                                                                              The head of the FSF has many responsibilities, none of which are to produce software.

                                                                                              1. 5

                                                                                                I fail to see what this has to do with the FSF either.

                                                                                                1. 6

                                                                                                  Richard Stallman is the president of the Free Software Foundation. He not only represents the foundation, but the free software movement as well.

                                                                                                  His behavior reflects on those two things.

                                                                                                  1. 4

                                                                                                    As far as I can tell, he hasn’t done anything. He is still free to voice his opinions, and he has been doing so forever. Everyone knows he’s a quirky (at best) character. The FSF is the foundation he started and remains president of. You are free to start your own foundation if you disagree with his personal opinions that have nothing to do with the FSF.

                                                                                                    1. 4

                                                                                                      He is still free to voice his opinions

                                                                                                      He is free to promote paedophilia, and hungariantoast is free to call for him to be censured for doing so.

                                                                                                      I’d ask you to examine why you have a problem with the latter but not the former.

                                                                                                      1. 4

                                                                                                        I don’t see him “promote paedophilia” anywhere and I have no problem with hungariantoast saying he disagrees. I do have a problem with people trying to get him ousted from his various positions over his opinions that are completely unrelated.

                                                                                                        1. 3

                                                                                                          Are those opinions “completely unrelated” to his job, though? At the surface-level, sure, his odd sexual libertarianism generally exists in a separate domain from software.

                                                                                                          But the FSF and MIT are communities made up of people with values. When someone like RMS espouses at-best-alienating views, that fundamentally drives wedges in these communities. When your organization has a political agenda, as does the FSF, people note value-level contradictions from leadership. When these people stick around, the community decomposes to those that either don’t know or agree/don’t care.

                                                                                                          Given the content of RMS’s recent emails (I used to be on csail-related, and his performances aren’t a new thing) - victim blaming, referring to Epstein’s victims as his “harem” - I’d guess that there are at least as many people in the community that are sick of his shit than think he should remain because his trolling is “completely unrelated” to software.

                                                                                                          1. 2

                                                                                                            But the FSF and MIT are communities made up of people with values. When someone like RMS espouses at-best-alienating views, that fundamentally drives wedges in these communities. When your organization has a political agenda, as does the FSF, people note value-level contradictions from leadership. When these people stick around, the community decomposes to those that either don’t know or agree/don’t care.

                                                                                                            Please read what I wrote above. Stallman’s views and the political agenda of the FSF do not necessarily have to contradict each other. In fact: The freedom to express your opinion against all censorship is one of their core principles. Deviating from it because of what Stallman says, would really be driving a wedge inside that community.

                                                                                                            In fact, I’m concerned much more by the fact it has become impossible to have a civilized discussion about these controversial topics anymore like sensible adults, without getting triggered and forming a rage-mob which goes after people’s jobs and/or blacklisting them…

                                                                                                            Which ironically is a message that Stallman has been sending for decades.

                                                                                                            1. 1

                                                                                                              The problem I see here is that almost everything “drives wedges” in a community. This can be related to a project (like a tabs vs spaces argument) or unrelated (like someone’s opinion on Crimea). Instead of discussion, the reaction is to demand resignation, send threats, try to shush people.

                                                                                                              I also don’t consider his statements as “trolling.” They’re his opinions. Just because you disagree with them doesn’t make them trolling.

                                                                                                              1. 1

                                                                                                                I hear you, but IMO you’re overgeneralizing and equating things that are fundamentally different; whether it’s an example or not, “tabs vs spaces” are nowhere near as fundamental to the functioning of a community as are views on sexual assault.

                                                                                                                And FWIW, we are literally part of a massive discussion right now which is continuing despite not being on the front page of the site. There was also a long discussion on csail-related. Many more discussions on all sorts of online and meatspace communities. Stallman resigned. I’m not aware of attempts to “shush” him. The thing about free speech is it comes along with accountability.

                                                                                                                Also, if I don’t respond it’s probably because I’ve quit this website lol.

                                                                                                                1. 0

                                                                                                                  The immediate response of firing people is the “shushing” – what he said is not an endorsement of sexual assault. His statement states he has been mischaracterized and I would 100% agree with that.

                                                                                                        2. 1

                                                                                                          He hasn’t done anything? Did you read the article? It’s pretty clear that Stallman, once again, said something outrageous, inappropriate, and insensitive.

                                                                                                          His shitty behavior reflects poorly on the FSF and that’s why him doing things like this is such an issue.

                                                                                                          There is a plethora of testimonies and evidence over the past few decades of Stallman’s shitty behavior. There is another plethora of testimonies and evidence showing that his behavior has alienated far more contributors from the FSF and free software than Stallman himself will ever be worth.

                                                                                                          Stallman is, especially today, a net negative for the Free Software Foundation, because he just won’t stop saying and doing stupid things.

                                                                                                          That is why he should be removed.


                                                                                                          Oh, and also, saying “You are free to start your own foundation if you disagree” is no better than saying “Oh yeah? Well just fork the project if you don’t like it.”

                                                                                                          At best, it’s a tone deaf, bottom feeding argument. At worst, it’s bad faith trolling.

                                                                                                          1. 0

                                                                                                            He started the foundation and has remained the head of it forever. You clearly have a problem with Stallman that goes well beyond this instance, so why do you support the FSF at all? If you see them as one and the same, then you shouldn’t support it. And if you don’t support it but want to support free software, the next logical step is to either find a different foundation or start your own.

                                                                                                            I’m not trolling. I’m keeping reason and objectiveness as paramount instead of emotion and knee-jerk reactions.

                                                                                                            1. 1

                                                                                                              You clearly have a problem with Stallman that goes well beyond this instance

                                                                                                              You’re right, I have a problem with Stallman not just because of this incident, but also the other incidents he has created over the past few decades. I have already acknowledged that I believed Stallman should resign from the FSF because of these problematic, recurring incidents.

                                                                                                              So yes, my opinion on Stallman and why I think/thought he should resign from the FSF goes beyond just this incident and is influenced by his past behavior as well.

                                                                                                              If you’re trying to insinuate that I have some other kind of motive behind wanting Stallman to resign, then please just say what other possible motives you think I could have.

                                                                                                              so why do you support the FSF at all? If you see them as one and the same, then you shouldn’t support it.

                                                                                                              I don’t see the FSF and Richard Stallman “as one and the same”. I never said that. I said that Stallman’s relationship, history, and influence over the FSF and the free software movement makes him a representative of both of those things. That doesn’t mean I think FSF == Stallman.

                                                                                                              And if you don’t support it but want to support free software, the next logical step is to either find a different foundation or start your own.

                                                                                                              Well, no, that doesn’t make any sense. First, like I just said, I don’t think Richard Stallman and the FSF are the same thing. I think the FSF is so much bigger, so much more important than Richard Stallman.

                                                                                                              Even if I didn’t think that though, even if I did think that the FSF and Stallman were the same thing, that still wouldn’t prevent me from understanding that they could be separated, for the better, by Stallman’s resignation and distancing from the foundation. Which is clearly a much more reasonable, actionable, and positive goal than “rolling my own” foundation from scratch.

                                                                                                              1. -1

                                                                                                                If you’re trying to insinuate that I have some other kind of motive behind wanting Stallman to resign, then please just say what other possible motives you think I could have.

                                                                                                                I am not insinuating anything. This whole thread has gone completely off the rails of the original post and has little to nothing to do with the incident that was brought up here. None of it matters, either, because he has resigned from both the FSF and whatever he was doing with MIT. Chalk up another one for mob justice.

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                                                                                      Is this the place for a pet theory? Here’s mine based on the history of programming languages:

                                                                                      Adoption of FP, in the early industry, was hindered by two things: one overt and one hidden. Together, they created a space which allowed OO to flourish, but now FP is set to gain market share, and it is.

                                                                                      The overt thing is something that people often comment on: FP forces mathematical reasoning on programmers to a greater extent than OO or procedural programming. I won’t belabor this one. The hidden thing is that execution speed was an issue for a long time in our industry. That has changed in the past two decades but, early on, it was seen as impractical to implement closures for any sort of commercial system. A function call for every item in a loop? That was just seen as madness.

                                                                                      So, procedural languages and their OO successors were late to the party. It took a long time for them to add lambdas, closures, and blocks. Smalltalk and Obj-C were exceptions. For languages like C++ and Java it took decades. Once you have closures, you start to think about higher-order functions. When you are thinking that way, you start to investigate functional. That’s what has happened recently.

                                                                                      We can get upset about OO, but it served its purpose. It enabled the creation of many large systems with somewhat lower skill than functional requires. Now, we have a clear choice. We can build large systems the (now) traditional way with OO, or we can aim for higher quality (and less code) with FP.

                                                                                      1. 9

                                                                                        A function call for every item in a loop? That was just seen as madness.

                                                                                        An equally-hidden corrolary: compilers have gotten WAY better since, say, the early 90’s. A lot of this is because we just have more CPU and memory to throw at them, and a lot of it is because piles of work have gone into large existing frameworks like GCC and LLVM. The mythical Sufficiently Smart Compiler is now a difficult but essentially commodity system with a handful of good choices on the shelf.

                                                                                        I mean, what kind of compiler WOULDN’T aggressively inline a map or fold where it can? One I’d prefer to avoid, is what.

                                                                                        1. 3

                                                                                          All this compiler cleverness has their own issues though: the code you write is no longer the code that the computer runs, and having the correct program behaviour relies on the Sufficiently Smart Compiler being bug-free enough.

                                                                                          There’s also the issue of developer ergonomics: I personally compile all my C code with tcc when developing as that’s so much faster than gcc or clang; even with -O0 gcc takes about 2 minutes to compile all of Vim on my system. With tcc it takes about 4 seconds.

                                                                                          1. 2

                                                                                            All this compiler cleverness has their own issues though: the code you write is no longer the code that the computer runs, and having the correct program behaviour relies on the Sufficiently Smart Compiler being bug-free enough.

                                                                                            Does this matter, other than in a philosophical sense?

                                                                                            For example, if I ask the computer to take an average of a set of integers, and it does some weird optimization magic, and returns the same result as if I’d done the calculation by hand, that means it’s doing the right thing - even if it’s doing something I’ve never even thought of.

                                                                                            I guess if you’re trying to prove a mathematical thesis with computer-assisted proofs, it’s relevant. But for day-to-day programming, other errors dwarf any issues with the compiler.

                                                                                            1. 1

                                                                                              Does this matter, other than in a philosophical sense?

                                                                                              I’d say yes, it does. This is basically how you get Undefined Behavior in C, C++ and Rust: the compiler is allowed to assume the language works a certain way so it can perform more optimizations, which is a subset of what the language can actually do. Dereferencing a null pointer in C, making an infinite loop in C++, creating invalid references in Rust. So the language the compiler is compiling is different from the one the programmer is writing, but it’s up to the programmer to know the difference.

                                                                                              …other errors dwarf any issues with the compiler.

                                                                                              This is certainly true. We do things like make Undefined Behavior because it improves things for the average case at the cost of the worst case. So, the question of “does it matter” becomes a philosophical one. ;-)

                                                                                        2. 3

                                                                                          OOP used to be about message passing, but then it became programming with classes and inheritance. Functional programming used to be about programming with functions, and then it became about monads and functors.

                                                                                          1. 2

                                                                                            Object Oriented Programming has been about a lot of things. Check out this comment by hwayne for a nice history lesson.

                                                                                          2. 3

                                                                                            In C++, the functional paradigm, or rather a feeling of it, emerged rather much sooner than you think, I would not say “Decades”. If you consider templates or the standard library, namely <algorithm>, there is a bunch of stuffs that are oriented with functions to be passed as value parameters. They have been incorrecly called functors standing for function objects (not synonym of Functors like in Haskell/Category Theory). They were available since the first standard ISO C++98. For example std::transform, is closely resembling the map function in Haskell. There’s this link for some historic stuff: https://www.modernescpp.com/index.php/functional-in-c-98 And anyway you could already pass function pointers even in C ;-) ! though I would not call that functional programing yet, that’s ok ;-)

                                                                                            1. 4

                                                                                              Thanks. I’d forgotten. Reminds me of the joke question of which was the most baroque unintentional functional programming language: XSLT or C++ templates?

                                                                                              1. 3

                                                                                                Argh :-) I dare the answer: having used C++ so long, of course I’m biased when I say that XSLT is too much complicated. But I would not dare a competition of readability between a real production XSLT file and a real C++ library meta-programming template error. I think (without exagerating) that once I have had a 400 lines error message. 400 lines, that was the length of the C++ templated type description. I said once. Hopefully c++20 concepts (which I feel like an approach toward Haskell typeclasses) will makes those nightmare error messages disappear.

                                                                                          1. 1

                                                                                            I love how a story tagged as AI and hardware about new AI hardware is “off-topic” and “spam”. Not sure what is going on here anymore…

                                                                                            I thought an insane chip like that is at least worth talking about.

                                                                                            1. 4

                                                                                              It’s just a thinly re-written press release.

                                                                                              Not sure what is going on here anymore…

                                                                                              Since when has this site been tolerant of spam?

                                                                                            1. 1

                                                                                              To prevent harm to people regulation works well. Our products are generally quite safe.

                                                                                              I like GDPR because it brings some regulation to “privacy harm”.

                                                                                              We need find more good definitions of “harm”. How are bad UIs harmful to people?

                                                                                              1. 2

                                                                                                I think harm is when a system doesn’t do what the user expected in a negative way. Either lost time, money, or emotional stress. In fact, bad UI causes a lot of stress and anger at the least and at worst causes death.

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                                                                                                Harm can be categorized in various ways, and one category is software faults. I believe we can have fault-free software following a straightforward process of fixing every bug that rears its head immediately. Ideally, before the software touches the intended user’s hand. Therefore it’s essential to have techniques to prevent bugs from happening at the beginning like good design, and also catching them early with Design by Contract and other methods. It’s easy but requires discipline, and it’s possible because I’ve seen it first hand.

                                                                                                You don’t know what the bugs are until it touches the user’s hand, because the user will hold things in ways you never intended, and “You’re holding it wrong” is an admission of failure disguised as an admonition. Your code’s contracts do not bind on the user, and the user will not accept “Working as designed” as an excuse why something isn’t buggy as Hell.

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                                                                                                  Yes! bugs aren’t important until they turn into failures. If an algorithm works fine with 10 items but breaks with a million, that bug isn’t important if users never add a million elements. Usually, when contracts fail, it’s a fault that led to a failure in the user’s hands and is an opportunity to improve usability.

                                                                                                  What contracts do is allows a programmer to be explicit in their assumptions, and when the user touches the software in ways that break their assumptions, it catches those problems. The programmer now has a choice, to either fix the interface that led to the assumptions failing or change their assumptions and adjust their software to handle how the user expects the software to work.

                                                                                                  I don’t know of another technique that says “Look, programmer, you built the software wrong given the assumptions you had” than Design by Contract.

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                                                                                                  While we’re here, let’s revive issue 9

                                                                                                  Pros:

                                                                                                  • ddgable.
                                                                                                  • Funny because..
                                                                                                  • “Issue 9 from Google Labs” (like plan 9)
                                                                                                  • It literally is issue 9
                                                                                                  • Good abbreviation for compiler and filename extension: i9
                                                                                                  • Guy who already made a go programming language gets the name back
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                                                                                                    I love how assholy the final comment was that closed the issue. Basically “We dominated you this 11 months with our large marketing budget and nobody knows about you and your stupid language, so we aren’t renaming.” And by love, I mean not love.

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                                                                                                      Yeah, it wasn’t nice. :-(

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                                                                                                        Fun fact: “Google Go” isn’t a programming language. (It’s the trimmed down version of the Google app for markets with low bandwidth/tiny phones)

                                                                                                        https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.google.android.apps.searchlite&hl=en

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                                                                                                        That has so much better prosody than “go” too. Only downside is I can’t think how you get a cute animal mascot out of it.

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                                                                                                          I find that amusing that now we have this problem as issue 81. Or issue 9 squared if you will.

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                                                                                                          1. I was building a parametric optimization framework.
                                                                                                          2. Needed to run on multiple machines so created script to generate jobs for a batch processing system.
                                                                                                          3. Wasn’t satisfied with using json to describe the optimization operations. So decided to write a DSL.
                                                                                                          4. Which language to write the DSL in? Oh, let’s learn Perl6
                                                                                                          5. Wrote DSL using perl6 grammars.
                                                                                                          6. Wrote a compiler from DSL to batch processing framework.

                                                                                                          So also 6 I guess.

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                                                                                                            I’ve boycotted Scott Adams because he’s gone so far on the wrong side of history it isn’t even funny.

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                                                                                                              How is this comment relevant to the content of the linked story? I looks like pure virtue signaling.

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                                                                                                                Because Scott Adams is an internet provocateur, and it’s hard to separate any factual content he writes from the weird manipulative writing style he’s adopted (and is proud of).

                                                                                                                Additionally, if the post is about writing style, it probably would make sense to evaluate the post in context with other posts written by the author, would it not?

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                                                                                                                  It’s hosted on Scott Adam’s blog and he would derive a minuscule amount of revenue from a visit.

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                                                                                                                    …I mean, would he? He doesn’t even host it, a business called typepad does.

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                                                                                                                    I personally think that this site is for technical articles which this is not and I would prefer to keep such articles out of here. - tt

                                                                                                                    Because I don’t want to see Scott’s work on this site? Just like you want to keep lobste.rs a tech only site ;-)

                                                                                                                    Also, people are motivated either by results or by virtue ethics. There is nothing wrong with showing your virtues on your sleeve. I think maybe too many people are afraid to do so and we need more people being honest.

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                                                                                                                  It’s a clickbait title, but there’s a real cryptographic bug in there: hashing of phone numbers for privacy isn’t doing anything. Such hashes are vulnerable to a dictionary attack. So effectively, AirDrop and WiFi sharing are broadcasting user’s phone number.

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                                                                                                                    I think the most serious one there is getting Wifi passwords from iPhones by spoofing a friend.

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                                                                                                                      I think the most serious one there is getting Wifi passwords from iPhones by spoofing a friend.

                                                                                                                      No, the phone numbers are the one that’s worse. If you are sharing wifi-passwords with your friends, you know when you are doing that and you will probably click no when you are not doing that. Furthermore: Impersonating a friend requires a lot of reconnaissance.

                                                                                                                      The phone-numbers however, are continuously sent out, which means that every tracking company in stores or subways will set up a SHA256(phonenumber):phonenumber database.

                                                                                                                      This differs from the previous situation where they only had MAC-addresses in that they now know for certain with high probability that this MAC-address belongs to that phone number, which can be connected to any other data the user enters somewhere else.

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                                                                                                                        Update: As a test, I’ve written a quick and dirty java-program which calculates the SHA256-hash of every cell-phone number in The Netherlands. This program simply runs through all 8-character suffixes of all phone numbers. The resulting csv-file is 7,3 GB in size and it took my personal laptop about 162 seconds to generate this file. A simple grep-search takes about 17 seconds. Note that I haven’t optimized the code at all and that my laptop is running on a i7-6500U (@2,5GHz). This means that my private laptop can run through the SHA256 hashes of virtually all phone numbers in the world in about 4 days and that the resulting database-file would only be about 700 GB in size. More beefy machines will certainly be faster.

                                                                                                                        This should be the final nail on the coffin for everyone who thinks that hashing a phone number is adequate for privacy protection, or that sending out a hashed version of the phone number is acceptable. It simply isn’t and the whole is capable of tracking individuals based on this. It doesn’t matter which hash-function you use, there simply aren’t enough phone numbers.

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                                                                                                                          I put Troy Hunt’s Pwned Passwords dataset (500 million SHA1 hashes) into SQLite, and by storing them as primary keys, lookups only take 0–1 milliseconds. Presumably you’d get similar results with however many SHA256 hashes. :-)

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                                                                                                                            Presumably you’d get similar results with however many SHA256 hashes. :-) Nice!

                                                                                                                            I’ve imported the phone numbers into sqlite, but importing and indexing them took much longer than the actual generation. :-) Lookups are also instantaneous. Which is as expected.

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                                                                                                                            Switching to something like scrypt should solve this issue, right?

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                                                                                                                              If you used a persistent salt per-device, yeah.

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                                                                                                                                Yes this would solve the issue for just about any hash function. But then you won’t need the phone number in there as well. If you go down this path you are essentially using device id’s or something simmilar, but you might just as well use some random id that you refresh after a certain period.

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                                                                                                                                No, switching to a different hash function won’t solve this issue. The fact that you are using phone numbers is the cause of this problem and it does not matter which hash function you use.

                                                                                                                                I’ve demonstrated this with AES256 because that is what Apple uses. You will get similar results with AES512, scrypt, whirpool or whatever other fancy hash function you want to use.

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                                                                                                                                  Scrypt uses salting so precomputing one set of hashes won’t work. Furthermore you can select scrypt parameters so that computing one hash takes ~1s on modern (iOS) devices. Shouldn’t this be good enough to prevent this kind of attacks?

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                                                                                                                                    Well even if a scrypt hash takes about one second, there is no one stopping me from running it 10 million times. Sure it would take me 115 days to build the table on a single core, but it would take me one day on 115 cores for an entire country. Given the fact that I already have access to about 40 cores at my own volition at home using scrypt would also only be a means of delaying the inevitable and is therefore kind of useless in this use case.

                                                                                                                                    The only way to solve this, is by using a device specific seed, but if you have something like that, then why would you even put the phone number in there or bother with using scrypt at all?

                                                                                                                                    I’ll sya it again: The phone numbers are the problem and as long as you are using those, the hash-function simply won’t matter.

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                                                                                                                        The title is a huge stretch based on the content. Still an interesting post.

                                                                                                                        I’m not worried about having my phone number lifted by passers by, I’m sure even a mildly dedicated person could recover my phone number with only my full name. And that doesn’t really bother me.

                                                                                                                        I’m more curious if these BLE pings could be used to reliably track people en masse. As an uninteresting individual, I’m much more worried about abuses of mass surveillance than targeted attacks.

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                                                                                                                          I’m more curious if these BLE pings could be used to reliably track people en masse.

                                                                                                                          Yeah, probably: https://www.theverge.com/2019/6/3/18647146/apple-find-my-app-tracker-friends-iphone-wwdc-2019

                                                                                                                          Apple is going to help people track their things and their loved ones with a new macOS and iOS app called Find My. At its annual Worldwide Developers Conference today, the company announced that the new app will combine Find My Friends and Find My iPhone. The idea is that Find My will be a single place to track everything, including people and Macs. It’ll be available on both iOS and macOS.

                                                                                                                          The tracking works even if a device isn’t connected to Wi-Fi or a network, the company says. Macs will send a secure Bluetooth signal occasionally, which will then be used to create a mesh network of other Apple devices, so people can track their products. A map will populate of where the device is located.

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                                                                                                                            Whether it’s actually private in practice or not is up for debate (and will be seen when iOS 13 enters widespread use), but Apple certainly didn’t ignore the privacy concerns when it came to the Find My implementation: https://www.wired.com/story/apple-find-my-cryptography-bluetooth/

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                                                                                                                            You might care more if your phone number got ported out and then used to reset all your online service account passwords, which might then be held for ransom or otherwise cause you to have a bad day. It happens.

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                                                                                                                              With my provider my phone number can’t be ported unless I’m physically present with photo ID. Again, since my phone number is trivially available, I don’t consider its secrecy valuable for security.

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                                                                                                                                With my provider my phone number can’t be ported unless I’m physically present with photo ID.

                                                                                                                                You put way too much faith in your provider.

                                                                                                                                https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=caVEiitI2vg

                                                                                                                                Social engineering attacks are the single most common attack vector.

                                                                                                                                I say this as a former pentester.

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                                                                                                                                  Other than ID and paperwork, in my country porting requires time (more than a week) and sends notifications. The SIM from the carrier I was porting from received SMS notifications after signing the paperwork. And I got a call from that carrier begging me to stay and asking for confirmation.

                                                                                                                                  Nothing is perfect but not everything is as terrible as the horror stories involving U.S. carriers where a number was ported quickly and suddenly with zero communication via the old SIM prior to the switch.

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                                                                                                                                    And you make way too many assumptions. You have absolutely no idea who I am, what I know, or what my situation is like. Yet you presume to lecture me about social engineering.

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                                                                                                                                      In that case, do the rest of the world a favor and share with us the name of the one company on earth that is demonstrably absolutely immune to social engineering attacks. I imagine a lot of people would like to become their customers.

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                                                                                                                                        If I have a sim card say from Sudan, where customer service workers aren’t likely to speak other languages than Sudanese Arabic and I live in say Germany, and conduct most of my life online in German, then it’s more likely my attackers are gonna be German as well, and for them it’s almost impossible to social engineer their way into porting my sim card from Sudan.

                                                                                                                                        We shouldn’t turn legitimate security advice turn into platitudes by stripping it out of context, and by being too generous in our assumptions about others.

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                                                                                                                                I think the most serious one there is getting Wifi passwords from iPhones by spoofing a friend.

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                                                                                                                                  I agree, but that notably requires their phone to be unlocked. Unfortunately I can easily imagine people blindly accepting without paying attention, or understanding what they’re doing.