RMS removed from the GCC Steering Committee

Giacomo Tesio giacomo@tesio.it
Sun Apr 4 13:10:45 GMT 2021


Ian, 

with all respect with your personal history, your contributions and
choices, I think you are still missing the point.


On April 3, 2021 11:45:23 PM UTC, Ian Lance Taylor <iant@google.com>
wrote:
> But you have singled out removing RMS (who as David noted was never
> really a member of the committee anyhow) as a particular problem.
> Let's not forget that RMS is an American.

Indeed.
It's important to note that I'm not, in any way, arguing against
Americans in GCC (as somebody is trying to frame what I wrote).

I'm scared by the dangerous influence that dangeours US corporations
and a dangerous military nation with a long history of human rights
violations (see Snowden's and Assange's revelations and the ongoing
Assange's trial) HAVE over the GCC development.


It's not just matter of actual backdoors or priviledged access to
zero-days: it's mainly a soft power that can influence development of
GCC by slowing down or fastening certain features, as you explained the
SC did in several occasions (the Nathan's libcody, the plugin framework
and many other that were too subtle to catch from outside the Steering
Committee).

We are all seasoned developers.
We know how this sort of politics can influence software development.

We all know that technology is a prosecution of politics by other means.


>  So the imbalance you mention was there already.

Except that the President of FSF (and Chief GNUissance himself) was
receiving copy of all the communications of the Steering Committee.

I think we do agree that FSF and RMS are really trustworthy when
it comes to protect Free Software interests.

After all, FSF is the most credible no-profit dedicated to this goal.


> And you are confusing my employer with my free software work.

No.

Simply, I work in the field since two decades myself.

Thus, I'm not naive enough to ignore the thousands way your employee
can get huge advantages by having you in the GCC's Steering Committee.

As a small example among many many others, you are using a @google.com
mail address while serving in the Steering Committee.


> > But that's the fact with priviledge: if you have it, you can't see
> > it.
> 
> I'm sure that's largely true.  And I'm well aware that I have enormous
> amounts of privilege.
> 
> But you write that statement as though it contradicts something that I
> said.  It doesn't.

It doesn't contraddict what you said, indeed.

On the contrary, it explains WHY you are debating against an urgent
fix to the GCC Steering Committee on my request, while you had no
problem to promptly remove Stallman on Nathan's request.

You care more about the sensibility of those that share Nathan's values
and interests (that are pretty similar to your own), than about the huge
threat that a Steering Committee deeply influenced and controlled by
US corporations with long ties to the US Department of Defence
constitutea. 


Maybe this will attract more US people (or likely-minded ones), but for
sure, it will pose a huge burden on everybody outside the US to
contribute and even use GCC.

I would NOT feel safe to contribute my port to GCC, right now.
I don't feel safe to even rely on GCC for anything.


> > > This is free software.  If you want to make it better, then make
> > > it better. [...] So prove me wrong.  Do the work.
> >
> > This is plain old open source rhetoric.
> > https://www.gnu.org/philosophy/open-source-misses-the-point.html
> 
> No, it really isn't.
>
> The point of free software is to provide freedom.

True, but naively stated.

Software Freedom is way more than "it works, to free".
And Freedom itself is more than lack of constraints, but autonomy,
agency and self-determination.

What Free Software is (and what it is not) has been clearly defined
here: https://www.gnu.org/philosophy/philosophy.html

If it's not what you mean by "free software", I'd suggest you to use
different terms. Maybe "open source" will do.

But let's not replicate 30 years of debate here (and thousands years of
phylosophical debate on freedom) and focus on GNU Compiler Collection.


> > But you can see how flawed this argument is by comparing it with
> > your own words:
> > https://gcc.gnu.org/pipermail/gcc/2021-April/235269.html
> >
> > RMS was actively contributing to the Steering Committee without
> > contributing a single line of code since years.
> >
> > So you proved that you (and open source rhetoric) are wrong.
> 
> I'm sorry, but that doesn't make any sense to me.  I think I was
> pretty clear in that e-mail message that RMS was not actively
> contributing to the steering committee.

You said you involved him in SC discussions.
You said you treated him as a member of the Steering Committee.

Thus he WAS serving as a member of the GCC's Steering Committee.

To me, his oversight on your discussions looked as a serious guarantee
in the protection of interests of the _global_ Free Software movement.


> And, even if he was, so what?  I agree that lots of work on GCC and
> other free software projects has nothing to do with actual
> programming.  When I spoke of doing the work, I didn't mean just
> programming.  I meant the work of making GCC successful, which
> includes much much more than just writing code. [...]
>
> (And for reasons discussed elsewhere, RMS is not a good suggestion.)


Ian, maybe there is a language barrier at work.

Maybe it's a huge cultural mismatch that you are not aware of.


But really, I cannot think of a single man that did MORE work than
Stallman to make GCC successful.

He created Free Software.
He created the GNU Project.
He created GNU Public License.
He created the GNU C Compiler. Literally.
He created a community that improved it for years.
He served for years as a Steering Committee member.

He worked for decades fighting for software freedom all over the world
(often against the interests of the companies you work for)


He laid the foundations of the building, you are improving the roof.
Sure YOUR work is way more visible. And it's useful!

But his work is... foundational. Your is not.


Yet, YOU removed him.
On request of a Facebook employee.



> I don't understand this argument.

I'm sorry, I did my best to explain it.

The RMS removal uncovered an unfair, unbalanced and dangerous influence
of controversial US corporations tied with the US Department of Defence
over GNU Compiler Collection development.

Such influence is ongoing since decades.
And according to you, RMS was not even enough to balance it.


Indeed, while I think that RMS was able to balance it, I _THANK_ you for
his removal since his presence was blinding me and everybody else from
this huge threat. GCC is foundational to so many supply chain.


Yet, I do not have a cancel mob to strumentalize as Nathan did.

And I would never weaponize the real suffering of people, just to attack
a person or a group, as the companies behind the rms-open-letter did.
(because everybody can easily see who sponsor most of the organizations
that signed the letter or wrote similar statements against FSF and RMS).


And I see how some of you are already trying to depict my words and me.


On Sun, 4 Apr 2021 10:22:35 +0100 Jonathan Wakely wrote:

> I don't even think they're in good faith, I think you're just being
> a Concern Troll because you're upset about the removal of RMS

On Sat, 3 Apr 2021 20:33:42 +0100 Jonathan Wakely wrote:

> If you really think "being American" is a bigger image problem than
> "being RMS" then you are part of the problem here.

Jonathan is right: maybe I am part of the problem here.
I'm sorry for that.

I challenge your politics, your interests and your values.
So I have to be "upset" and "in bad faith", right?
I must be cancelled, silenced and forgot.


But let me ask to you all: how many other people you will have to
exclude after Stallman and me, just to prove that you are "inclusive"?


I'll give it a rest, as Jonathan requested.

But I'm sad. I feel betrayed and threaten by the direction GCC took.

Mala tempora currunt, sed peiora parantur. :-(


Giacomo


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