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Richard Stallman

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Richard Stallman (also known as RMS) is the founder of the Free Software Movement, author of EMACS, etc.

Activism Edit

Among other labels, Stallman identifies as pro-choice, an environmentalist and a "lifelong activist". Stallman's simple website has been active for decades with daily updates designed to alert the public to human rights violations. Some of his topical posts criticize politicians for contributing to rape culture and waging what he calls a "war on women".[1]

Incidents Edit

  • For many years, Richard has been doing a schtick about "St. Ignutius" that involves Sexist humor. His performance of this shtick in July 2009 sparked the EMACS virgins joke incident.
  • The "St. Ignutius" routine mentioned above, has been performed relatively unchanged since the early 90s, as a commenter recounts on a blog post about the EMACS virgins joke. The commenter writes about seeing the routine when she was only 15, and how RMS singled her out several times during that performance:
    He actually pointed to me in the back and proclaimed, into the mic, "A GIRL!" causing the audience to turn and look. Mortifying. Then he proceeded to gesture toward me every time he referred to "EMACS Virgins." (I cannot believe that he is still doing the same talk 10+ years later.)
  • Rather than handing out business cards, Richard has "pleasure cards" which describe his personal interests, including "tender embraces". He hands these out to people of any gender, but what may appear whimsical to men who receive them may seem creepy to women. A scan of one of these cards appears in the epilogue to Free as in Freedom.
  • In 1993, he asked for birth announcements to be banned from emacs mailing list, unless they are announcements for seahorses, because then it would be the male that gives birth and therefore interesting.
  • In a 2007 interview, he said:

I don’t have any experience working with women in programming projects; I don’t think that any volunteered to work on Emacs or GCC.

A number of women have contributed to GCC, including:


  2. Loosemore, Sandra, Richard M. Stallman (2001). GNU Library Reference Manual. Free Software Foundation. ISBN 9781882114559.

Further reading Edit

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