Apologies and the Debian Social Contract
Dale Scheetz, I realized this message was private post, but I thought I ought
to say some of this in "public" so that everyone would have a chance to read
it. I am not above admitting mistakes and want no one to think that to be the
I want, first off, to apologize for the rudeness with which I have recently
responded to some of your (Dale Scheetz's) messages. Yes, I have been
somewhat "upset" about some things with Debian, bu that gives me no excuse to
be rude. I hope you will accept my apologies. :(
I also have realized a large mistake in my arguement(s). I have been
mistakenly confusing the DFSG with the Debian Social Contract. I went to the
debian site just a little bit ago to specifically read them over again so I
could try to explain more sufficeiently what I felt needed changes and, quite
to my disgruntlement, realized that I had been confusing the content from the
I think this stems from two points. First, that I made some assumtions about
them without thouroghly rereading the DFSG and social contract. And, a post
made some bit ago someone which had section 4 and 5 excerped from the Debian
social contract. Since, at the time, I had been talking about the DFSG, I
assumed this was from where they were quoted and I went off on a seperate
discussion about that. And on top of that, changing either of these two
documents might not be the best solution, anyways.
Thus, secondly, I want to apologize to the debian-devel mailing list for not
thouroghly researching my complaints before I made them and for any rudeness
or lack of professionality I have used here.
And thirdly, I want to try to (if somehow possible now) explain the changes I
would like to see considered for the Debian project.
1. Incorporate the Social Contract into the "front" of our distribution more.
Methods: Move it from a link on our front page to part of our front page.
Make it and the DFSG a page in the beginning of our installation procedure.
Place copies of them strategically around our ftp and cd archive where they
will be conveniently ran into by any new person surfing the Debian system --
maybe name it something like README.social-contract and README-dfsg, our
something. And so on.
2. A consideration: revising section 5 of the Debian Social Contract.
The Aim: To strengthen our relations with the non-dfsg software community by
friendlying how we refer to them and what we simply have to say (all simply in
section 5, DSC)
Not The Aim: To weaken our stance towards non-dfsg software
3. I think it is a good idea but it would take some bit of work:
Splitting the non-free tree into non-dfsg and non-free.
What the heck am I talkiing about: non-dfsg would contain the non-free
software tree packages which could legally be put onto a Debian CD. non-free
would contain those packages which, without a shadow of a doubt and more then
anything, could not be put on a cd. And, of course, all non-DFSG compliant
packages would still have to go down this road.
Reasoning: This would "satisfactorily" without a shadow of a doubt prove that
a) we really hold no "we hate you cause you're not DFSG compliant" feelings
toward the non-dfsg packages and their authors
b) more importantly, it would prove that we, as stated in DSC section 4, "we
will be guided by the needs of our users and the free-software community". It
would make the "ok for a cd" packages still available for cd users and non-ftp
available/convenient people, but would still respect our relationship with
Please consider this carefully.
Paul J Thompson
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