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Re: Conflicts between developers and policy

>>"Ian" == Ian Jackson <ian@chiark.greenend.org.uk> writes:

Ian> According to the proposed constitution, the policy documents do
Ian> not of themselves have any power to override a developer's
Ian> decisions.  I think that to allow this would be to hand far too
Ian> much power to the policy editor(s), so I think this situation
Ian> should be preserved.

	The policy editor is supposed to be someone who starts
 discussions about policy, and incorporates the consensus into the
 document itself. I suppose a formal process could be worked out, but,
 by and large, this works quite well.

	There also is a process to get policy amended, in case the
 developers feel the policy editor has exceeded their authority.

	In the light of this, I find the statement about too much
 power to the policy editor, umm, unconvincing.

Ian> If Christian or anyone else disagrees they should take the matter
Ian> up on debian-devel, where the proposed constitution is being
Ian> discussed.

	I have copied the developers list on this.

Ian> The question then arises: what does it mean when something is
Ian> policy ? Answer: policy is a set of technical specifications and
Ian> procedures which developers are expected to use to make
Ian> decisions, which people reporting bugs can refer to as
Ian> authoritative, and which bodies like the Technical Committee will
Ian> refer to (though not unquestioningly) when asked to adjudicate.

	So, people may report bugs for policy violations, and when it
 comes to adjuducation the Technical committee refers to this, but
 apart from that, Policy has as much relevance as Wodehouse?

Ian> So what power does a policy document have, in and of itself ?
Ian> Answer: just the power to declare what is and is not policy.

	I find the intent quite unclear. Is policy like a standards
 document? Are individual maintainers at liberty to flout, say, the
 WWW standard, of the file system standard? Can my package start
 modifying /var/lib/dpkg/status at will? I mean, if policy has no
 power whatsoever exept say this does not conform, where exactly does
 that leave us?

	I understand that one may want a little more leeway than say
 the policy documents are writ in stone (I personally prefer that),
 but to deny that and make no mention of any mechanism of enforcement
 of policy is disquieting. 


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