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Re: General Resolution: Removing non-free



On Wed, Jun 07, 2000 at 05:36:49PM +1000, Anthony Towns wrote:
> A more ...moral... way of changing a contract might be to let both parties
> to the agreement get some say in whether the change takes place.

See my previous mail for an analysis of the "contract" aspect of this
issue.

Your "...moral.." remark implies a degree of immorality about John's
proposal.  I didn't think it was immoral to hold an honest opinion or
submit a proposal through the democratically sanctioned constitutional
process.  There appears to be a bit of ad hominem attack here.

Words mean things.  You should choose them carefully.

> In this case, the agreement is between Debian, embodied by the
> developers, and both the free software community in general, and Debian's
> users in particular.

Nowhere in the contract does it state, or can it be logically construed,
that Debian's users are a proper subset of the free software community.
In fact, section 4 of the Social Contract presents "our users" and the
"free-software community" as distinct, if not necessarily disjunctive,
entities.

The Contract is, as it says, one with the free software community.

It may in fact be plausible to argue that all Debian users are members of
the free software community by virtue of the fact that they use our
distribution, but it is not reasonable to cite the Social Contract as
support for this hypothesis because the Social Contract offers none.

> Having one party able to decide "Oh, no, we didn't really mean that part
> of the contract" and scratch it out without the other party having any
> say whatsoever just doesn't seem Right. It makes some sense here, and I
> suspect that it would even be a perfectly legal and above board thing
> to do in this case under US law (hear-say), but... It still doesn't
> seem proper.

Perhaps it would be a worthwhile excercise to select some representatives
from the free software community, and outside Debian, to represent the
interests OF the free software community, the party with which Debian has
entered into its one-sided[1] contract?

How do you propose to select such a group of representatives?  Or do you
think it is feasible to identify all the members of the free software
community and poll them on this issue?

[1] I mean this only in the most literal sense, because (so far as I have
been able to determine) the free software community had no representation
when this contract was formed, and -- contrary to most contracts as such --
there are no explicit commitments of any kind from any party to this
contract except Debian.  Cf. my previous message on this subject.  I'm not
certain that the Social Contract is invalidated by these characteristics,
but I do submit that it is rendered quite unusual by them, and must thus be
treated with special consideration given its uniqueness.

-- 
G. Branden Robinson            |      "I came, I saw, she conquered."  The
Debian GNU/Linux               |      original Latin seems to have been
branden@ecn.purdue.edu         |      garbled.
roger.ecn.purdue.edu/~branden/ |      -- Robert Heinlein

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