Author of Emacs, GCC, gdb, glibc and other software, founder of the FreeSoftwareFoundation (FSF), founder of the GNU Project. Author of the GnuGeneralPublicLicense. Before starting the GnuProject, RMS was of MitAiLab hacker fame.
RMS uses Emacs. He also apparently suffered from RepeatedStrainInjury.
Dealing with RMS
When dealing with RMS, keep the following things in mind:
- He has very very little time, so his answers may seem impolite at times.
- In order to save time, he will sometimes end a discussion with “This decision is final.” He’s just trying to save us all a pointless discussion.
- In order to help us all focus on the important parts, he may sometimes say that your idea is not bad, but people should rather spend some time on the issues in the TODO list.
- He reads several hundred mails a day, and probably won’t remember your last mail, so be sure to provide enough context so that each of your mails can be read on its own.
- He doesn’t have web access, so if you want to refer to some web page, paste the relevant stuff into your email for him to read.
- He has an auto-reply which will send you a mail every month, telling you about his lack of time. (See below for an excerpt.)
- He will reply in about 48 hours, since he downloads email only once a day. So, keep in mind that he is currently repyling to your mail sent 2 days ago, and has NOT seen your mail sent 12 hours ago.
- When he asks you a question and you don’t reply, you will get an automated reminder after two weeks, and another after a month.
- If you think that he should give you some slack since you’re supporting the cause, think again. He has very little time, but he’ll note a breach of the GPL any time, and ask you to back down.
- If you think that he should offer some support because you’re supporting the cause, think again. He probably doesn’t know your project. You’re free to apply for accounts on gnu.org machines, or using Savannah as an alternative to SourceForge, but he won’t come forth himself and offer it to you.
- If you’re easily offended by curt answers, or if you disagree with RMS on some points of the GNU licenses, either talk to somebody else, or be prepared to argue your case with the support of lawyers, because RMS has asked lawyers, so the only reply you’ll get is “our lawyers said so and so.”
- “[This message was generated by an automated system.] I am not on vacation, but I am at the end of a long time delay. I am located somewhere on Earth, but as far as responding to email is concerned, I appear to be well outside the solar system.”
There a famous flame-war about the "evils of natalism" that is documented and run through `doctor.el’ by DonHopkins.