Long-time contributor to Emacs and author of Emacs Muse John Wiegley has assumed the role of maintainer of the project.
Promising an official announcement "soon", Wiegley said he'd accepted the role after a meeting with Richard Stallman:
"Richard and I met at MIT yesterday, where I officially accepted the role as maintainer of Emacs. An announcement is forthcoming, once we dot the i's and cross the t's".
Wiegley was in Boston for a Haskell meet-up.
There's no reason given so far for Richard Stallman's decision to hand over the lead to Wiegley, but it's not the first time he's done so. Having written the venerable EMACS: The Extensible, Customizable Display Editor in 1984, he has taken breaks at least four times before, the most recent in 2008.
So it's more than feasible that Stallman is merely taking a break, or wishes to turn his attention to other things for a while.
Wiegley has said he'd like the Emacs development list to pay a bit more attention to, well, Emacs:
"In the future, I think it has come time to establish a Code of Conduct, along with a transition to a passively moderated list: one where all posts are allowed by default, but those who disregard the CoC will lose their right to post until the end of a waiting period.
"I appreciate that some do not see this as a problem or disagree with my assessment ... But needless to say, I know of several people (personally, in meat-space) who do not participate here because of these problems, and I'm willing to make some changes to bring these people back into the fold.
"For the purposes of Emacs development (aka, emacs-devel), I would much rather have a semi-professional atmosphere focused on improving Emacs, than an easy-going social atmosphere focused on eloquent debates."
On Twitter, Wiegley thanked his supporters, and put out a call for people who have left the Emacs project to return.
Many thanks to all for their support, both before and now. I'm looking forward to working together with many of you in the coming months.— John Wiegley (@jwiegley) November 3, 2015
To all wishing to improve #emacs: Join me on the emacs-devel ML. We will make it a fun place again. Calling back all those who left!— John Wiegley (@jwiegley) November 4, 2015