Richard Stallman founded the FSF in 1985. He was the acting president until about 18 months ago when he resigned over comments he made regarding Jeffrey Epstein and his alleged victims.
Richard Stallman has always been a divisive figure. On one hand, he’s been the biggest champion of free software for decades. On the other hand, his rather absolutist take on free software has helped to create a faction within the Linux and open source communities wherein it is looked down upon to use any software that isn’t free.
Stallman announced the news during a live stream for the FSF project LibrePlanet. He also mentioned that the announcement was meant to be made with a more formal video, but that “it didn’t get finished.”
I have an announcement to make. I’m now on the Free Software Foundation board of directors once again. Some of you will be happy at this and some might be disappointed, but who knows. In any case, that’s how it is. And I’m not planning to resign a second time.Stallman said at the FSF’s LibrePlanet conference
While Stallman is now re-joining the board, he is not serving as president. Geoffrey Knauth holds that position. The FSF has not provided a comment about Stallman’s return or the role he will play in the foundation at the time of this writing.
Why Stallman resigns from MIT and FSF
Stallman resigned from the FSF and from his visiting scientist role at MIT in September 2019, after the public release of leaked emails about MIT’s leadership and its ties with Jeffrey Epstein. Richard Stallman defended MIT professor Marvin Minsky, who allegedly had sex with one of Epstein’s trafficking victims. The exchange was posted online. Two days later, Stallman wrote:
I am resigning effective immediately from my position in CSAIL at MIT. I am doing this due to pressure on MIT and me over a series of misunderstandings and mischaracterizations.
He continued leading the GNU operating system project, which is supported by the FSF, despite calls to resign from that position as well.