Richard Stallman Finds Love Through World of Warcraft

RMS is known for his promotion of Free Software, or maybe more so for his disdain of non-Free, proprietary software. So it came as a surprise to many visitors to the GNU home page to see an announcement not asking for a call to arms against software patents or so-called DRM, but to say that he was getting married.

What makes the news surprising? He found his soon-to-be wife by playing World of Warcraft.

RMS, the founder of the Free Software movement, playing WoW?

At first, I didn’t want anything to do with WoW, but as I found more and more of the people I knew playing it, I had to look into it. Since this entertainment seems to distract so many people from otherwise being productive at the Free Software Foundation, I thought perhaps if we tried to create a free alternative, it would remind people of our mission.

It was a few days later when I realized that I was really hungry. I hadn’t eaten! This game was dangerous! But I just had to keep playing. Well, it was for research for the free alternative we would create later, of course.

Within weeks, he had participated in a few raids as his Paladin, rms53, and that’s when he met Tybressa, the Priestess.

I began each session as I always did, by telling everyone about the values of free software, hoping to recruit people into developing the free alternative. Tybressa at first didn’t seem to understand what freedoms I was talking about. I think she thought it was an in-character game thing! We spent the next few hours walking and talking…well, virtually, I mean. She lives in San Francisco, and I live in Boston. Still, it was as if we had known each other forever.

Since that time, they always make sure to login at the same time. Tybressa, who is actually 54-year-old Sheila Chesil, has been playing WoW since the MMORPG was launched. She has been helping RMS get the hang of the game as well as providing companionship.

I don’t know. I just felt like he was a very nice newbie, and I always try to help them out. When he started going on about freedom, I thought he was role-playing, and so I played along. Since then, we’ve been inseparable.

Chesil had arranged to meet RMS at a protest he was organizing, and they have made it a point to meet each other every month.

Asked about his opinion on WoW as a proprietary piece of entertainment, RMS said, “Well, the FSF has never really focused on entertainment too heavily, and at least in my case, I have found a new life partner through it, so it can’t be that bad.”

The marriage will take place in Azeroth, although no date has been set yet.

Bradley M. Kuhn, former executive director of the FSF, was not aware of RMS’ pending wedding. “I was a bit worried when he wouldn’t come to meetings he had scheduled with the Software Freedom Law Center. I guess the guy had other priorities.”

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