On 15 September 2016, libreboot left the GNU project because the Free Software Foundation, GNU's main funding source and means of promotion, fired a transgender employee for being trans. Since GNU is heavily tied to FSF, libreboot cannot morally reconcile remaining a part of the GNU project. Transgender discrimination at the FSF is the reason why libreboot left the GNU project.
In the worst act of insult and contempt possible, the GNU project wrongly made the claim that Leah Rowe herself had now forked GNU Libreboot, and that libreboot was still a GNU project. They wrongly claimed that Leah had merely stepped down as GNU Libreboot maintainer.
This is false. Leah is still Libreboot's maintainer, and still does most of the work, including on managing the project and handling releases. The GNU project decided to insult her by claiming otherwise, that somehow the GNU project had a moral right to keep libreboot under its umbrella.
Leah Rowe has personally sacrified a lot, over the years, to keep the Libreboot project thriving. She has even spent in excess of 100,000 USD of her own money to have new hardware ported to both coreboot and libreboot, to further the cause. She has spent countless sleepness days and night to keep this project afloat, and to expand it for the benefit of the free software community. For GNU to imply otherwise has 100% confirmed that Libreboot will never again have any relationship at all with the FSF or GNU project. This is no joke. GNU and FSF do not belong in the libreboot community at this point.
This page serves as a reminder to the GNU project and FSF: Libreboot is no longer a GNU project. Leah will continue to work with other developers on libreboot and will continue developing libreboot for a long time, just without the FSF or GNU project overseeing everything.
The discussion happened on the gnu-prog-discuss mailing list, which is not open to the public (authentication is required to view the archives online). We therefore make the discussion available for people to see.
Leah Rowe sent this message to the GNU Prog mailing list, asking for the mailing lists to be deactivated because libreboot was setting up its own mailing lists instead. It also generally asks GNU to formally drop libreboot from its umbrella:
Please delete my "lr" account on the GNU Savannah website. I do not want this account anymore. Please keep the mailing list archives for email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org - but disable people from registering on the mailing list, and disable any new posts from being sent to the mailing list. I want the archives of the mailing lists kept for historical purposes, because there's a lot of technical discussion and history in there, and I want this preserved for the time being. I'm currently working on setting up my own server, as and when I can, to self-host a mailing list directly on libreboot.org infrastructure, which is under my own control and expense. Once I have this fully setup, what I would like is for a 301 redirect on the HTTP HTML archive pages to redirect to the new one that I create, once it's online, and, further, for an email forwarder on libreboot& and libreboot-dev& to redirect to the new mailing list. However, I have not yet set up the new lists so such a redirect at the moment would not make much sense. I'll contact the FSF and GNU project at a later date once I'm ready for this redirect to exist. Further, if possible, can someone send me a dump of all data and configuration for the libreboot& and libreboot-dev& lists? This will make it easier for me to simply import everything into the new list, including subscriptions and so on (otherwise, I have a list of all currently registered members on the list, saved locally). Please note that I do not resent the GNU project, just certain people at the FSF. Those people have huge influence there and since the FSF funds GNU.... https://libreboot.org/gnu/ explains why libreboot has left GNU. The requests above are part of libreboot's departure from GNU. I also ask that libreboot be removed from gnu.org/software/, and for the libreboot page on the FSF free software directory to no longer say that libreboot is a GNU project. I further request that the GNU project does not fork libreboot, nor accept any forks of libreboot into GNU, as this would be an even bigger insult on top of the existing one where the FSF lied publicly in response to libreboot.org/gnu
Several GNU maintainers then replied on the list, claiming that libreboot was still a GNU project and that Leah had merely stepped down as maintainer and that they would appoint a new maintainer for GNU Libreboot. They further insulted the libreboot project by stating that RMS has the ultimate say, and that Leah had forked her own project.
This is disgusting. Leah Rowe is still libreboot's maintainer, and the GNU project has zero right to keep libreboot under its umbrella. If the maintainer of a GNU project steps down without intending for that project to leave GNU, then fine. But if a maintainer stays on as that projects maintainer while stating the projects intention to leave GNU, then GNU should honour that request.
They even asked Leah to stay on as Libreboot maintainer, and they asked Leah to keep Libreboot inside the GNU project!
It took the GNU project 4 months to finally honour Libreboot's decisions, but on 5 January 2017, RMS formally acknowledged it - his reasoning is flawed. They should have immediately honoured Libreboot's decision to leave GNU, but instead they arrogantly resisted it for months, and the only reason they gave up was because they realized that all of Libreboot's core developers were OK with leaving GNU and still preferred to work with Leah Rowe. This page explains why no project should ever join GNU.
Food for thought: All of the people who responded on the GNU Prog discuss mailing list are cisgendered men
Here are some of GNU's responses, starting with Thien-Thi Nguyen <email@example.com>
Under this pov, injustice is destined. The Libreboot project, once placed under the aegis of GNU, cannot be removed. You are free to step down as its maintainer, however. I think that would be an injustice against you, mostly. I understand it's difficult to hold on to the root and let go of the rancor (from personal experience), and sometimes it's all or nothing. If you stay, perhaps you could find a co-maintainer. If you were to choose me (for example), you would find a lot more to complain about on those mailing lists -- no need to upscope to GNU and gnu-prog-discuss. It could be fun, perhaps. BTW, i like the domain name -- reminds me of glug.org of yore.
Alfred M. Szmidt <firstname.lastname@example.org> said this:
That is not for you to decide, but for the Saint IGNUcius to decide. You are free to step down as maintainer for GNU Libreboot, but we are free to appoint a new maintainer for GNU Libreboot to take over the task.
Gavin Smith <email@example.com>
AFAIK libreboot is itself a fork of another project called coreboot. In my opinion, it would be perfectly valid for the GNU project to continue to sponsor a project that did what libreboot did and was based on the source code of libreboot and/or coreboot. I see no reason (moral, legal or otherwise) why the libreboot name could not continue to be used. It's not a trademark, and using that name wouldn't misrepresent who the people who created it were. (To take a contrary example, if someone forked "GNU Emacs", they shouldn't call it "GNU Emacs Plus" because that would imply it originated from GNU. If libreboot were called LeahRoweBoot, a similar argument might apply.)
John Darrington <firstname.lastname@example.org> said this:
I think you hve misunderstood the relationship between GNU and its sub-projects. If you wish to step down as the maintainer of libreboot you should send a mail to email@example.com and ask to be de-listed. If that is what you decide to do, typically GNU would look for a new maintainer to take your place. If you do decide to step down, AND you continue to work on the project outside of GNU. Then YOU will have forked libreboot - not GNU. I'm not sure about deleting accounts on savannah, you would need to contact the savannah hackers about this. Personally I hope you will decide to stay as libreboot's maintainer. You have done a good job. I have also had greivances against people in GNU/FSF but if I walked away whenever that happens, I would be a very lonely person.
This next one says "her" referring to Leah, as if to either question Leah's place as leader of the Libreboot project, or to question her gender. We'll leave this up to the reader's imagination. Simon Sobisch <firstname.lastname@example.org> writes:
I'm perfectly fine with Leah forking "her" original project after stepping down as a GNU maintainer. Time will show if the fork is more active as the GNU project. Whoever takes the burden as a new maintainer: best wishes to you and also best wishes to Lea. I still hope to be able to get a libre laptop for coding GnuCOBOL someday (I know of the options existing it is just a cash issue) and am fine which whatever libre bios/firmware will be used for producing it then. @Leah: Thank you for the work you've already done to make this goal more likely.
David Kastrup <email@example.com> writes:
If you were actually speaking for the project, it would be completely irrelevant. It would only have an actual effect on active developers preferring to work with GNU rather than you, given the choice. I don't know the project well enough to evaluate your claims about it. But if your claims are correct, nothing the FSF or GNU project may choose to do will affect your work and version in any manner. So what's with all that rage?
nysan <firstname.lastname@example.org> writes:
Am Samstag, 24. September 2016, 13:09:36 CEST schrieb David Kastrup: > So? I have no moral problems applying the laws of gravity in spite of > Newton not likely sharing my political persuasions. Of course you are > free to release future versions of your code base, assuming that you can > assert the agreement of all other contributors, under licensing terms > incompatible with the GNU project. Unlikely, as libreboot is a fork of coreboot, and Leah does not have ownership of that. Coreboot is GPL, and despite they don't mind binary blobs (which are distributed in a separate tarball) and claim their project is "Open Source" (where RMS would suggest to rather not use this term), it's already compatible with the GNU project with the exception of the binary blobs. And the mission of libreboot is to remove (done) and replace (work in progress) these binary blobs. Coreboot also takes back from libreboot.
As per the original announcement of leaving GNU, the libreboot project still demands that the following people resign and/or be fired from the FSF, for the original discriminatory act against a transgender employee:
The source code for this page is available from a git repository.