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Richard Stallman, Leadership, and Sexism

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The Desktop Summit two weeks ago in Gran Canaria was supposed to be the first joint conference between GNOME and KDE. And, in the reporting, that's what it was. But in the blogs, the event is going down as the time that Richard Stallman was accused of sexism.

You can understand why journalists are reluctant to report on the matter. Who wants to be accused of attacking the founder of the free software movement? Nor am I any exception. No matter how careful I am, I fully expect to be condemned in certain circles for even raising the subject.

The controversy centers on Richard Stallman's keynote address on July 4. While I have been unable to find a complete transcript of the address, two parts of it apparently generated controversy: Stallman's remarks on why Mono and .NET (C#) should not be used in free software, and his "Saint Ignucius" comedy routine, in which he made a comment that was condemned as sexist.

Defenders of Stallman suggest that the accusation of sexism is an underhanded response to his remarks on Mono. However, while that may have been a motive in some cases, there is little evidence that it was.

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