This was posted for over a week on gnulinux.io
When I was a student enrolled in the computer science degree program and ASASU Senator for the College of Engineering and Applied Science at Arizona State University… I hung out at the xterms (solaris), complained about operating systems and found GNU Linux.
My first experience with gcc was in CSE 200. The professor, Richard O. Whitehouse used gcc to test our assignments against. I was a single mom of 3 children - a survivor, with no support, no money, on the run from a violent and dangerous ex. I made 3 dollars more than minimum wage. How did I get there?
My father had been President and Founder of ACR Manufacturing and our subsidiary Apature Industries.
We were second to Monster - before Monster even made speakers… Dad once sent Noel a book: Everything I know about wire! The pages inside were all blank and they laughed together on the phone. Yes, people used phones…I wasn't allowed to go to college. I had a multi-million dollar corporation to run. I ran away and went to college against my father's will. The first month of the first semester, he passed away. At his passing, I was left alone and penniless. There was no turning back.
As a woman in electronics and tech all my life, I have met all different types of characters and personalities. One of my favorite persons in this world is Richard M. Stallman. Dr. Stallman now.
I was in college in Arizona when Dima was arrested for cracking the Adobe eBook. Beale Screamer had previously cracked MS DRM2 and had written a beautiful manifesto. As Dima headed to the airport, he was arrested for his talk at Defcon! He was in North town Jail, he moved to Oklahoma facility and then to San Jose. The elitist and politech communities were very active.
Before the planned protest, I went to a pawn shop. I had enough for the camera I needed. Not the one I wanted, but one that could do the job. Sony Hi-8. When I found out about the rally. I had spent an extra 100USD to change my ticket for the flight to one day earlier - I remember thinking… "hope it's worth it".
I stayed in a scary motel with ticks. I had no idea, I was getting roommates. [2 years later, I would find myself in San Francisco for Linuxworld, when I stayed in JapanTown in a posh room with paper doors, a koi pond… at the Hotel Kabuki. All expenses paid by my employer. But here I was…]
At the Rally in San Francisco… the night before Dima's court date - during LinuxWorld, I met Richard… and Bradley and Henry Poole. Don Marti and Lessig were there. The march would be the next day. I was at the Court when Dima plead not guilty. I rode down in the elevator with him and detracted the reporters so he, the translator and lawyer could get out. It was fun to see all those reporters and camera people run… Action!
Richard, back to RMS. He marched with us. Lessig did not. Bradley Kuhn did not. I never once saw Cory Doctorow at a protest. It meant a lot to have RMS march with us. He protested a few times. I respect him for that.
A short time later, RMS offered me an internship after I inquired at FSF. Intern at FSF. Best gig ever. I wanted to work on documentation, but he insisted I work on the Digital Speech Project. The moment I realized I was gone too long from my community - silently serving, was when Fred didn't know who I was.
The FSF was good to me, a single woman with a degree in computer science, seeking a degree in technical communications. A single mother of three young children. I never felt harassed, disrespected or excluded at the FSF… until Libreplanet in 2019.. and only by Molly and Deb.
After the internship, I kept in touch with RMS and that year (2003), I wrote Linux Essentials - used in universities worldwide to train beginners to learn GNU Linux and pass CompTia's Linux+ certification. This started out as a cooperation with CompTia. See… I tried to get them to call it GNU Linux Essentials. They didn't go for it. At the FSF, for this internship, I worked mostly with Bradley and Ravi. However, there were nights I was alone with RMS, before the internship. In San Francisco, I was alone with him for hours. In Chandler, AZ I was alone with him at night outside for quite some time - a couple of times.
Richard has been nothing but respectful. He always respected my distance (personal space), my ability and never did anything to make me uncomfortable. In fact, it was quite the opposite. The FSF had always been very welcoming.
Richard was never offensive to me.
Not 1 time. Not for 1 second.
Allegations do not warrant a limitation to, or bypassing of key legal principles such as due process. This is not a matter for the court of public opinion. The fauxs in the open source community are not judge, jury and executioner.
These faux Open Source people are not your stewards, our stewards. They are not "leaders". These are not the same caliber of community leaders as in the past such as Wendy Seltzer, Mae Ling Mak, Robin Gross, and more.
We did not work so hard to have developers disrespected, devalued or exploited! We do not answer to the proprietary open source community. I had hoped we could work together, as we had in the past. The developers bring value. The open source community could work with the free software community…
However, the fauxpen source community response to RMS being restored was eye opening.
We welcome RMS back in his restored position on the board of the FSF.
We support FSF in this decision.
We look forward to an even better and brighter future!
Marcia K Wilbur, CEO GNU Essentials