[Date Prev][Date Next] [Thread Prev][Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

Re: General Resolution: Removing non-free

On Wed, Jun 07, 2000 at 04:41:02AM -0400, Branden Robinson wrote:
> On Wed, Jun 07, 2000 at 05:46:39PM +1000, Anthony Towns wrote:
> > You now want Debian to renege on that agreement.
> You color your language interestingly, fully aware of the the fact that the
> Debian Social Contract isn't a "contract" in the sense that a group of
> individuals create a contract with each other.


Note that we *do* however call it a contract, whether it fits the dictionary
or legal definitions or not.

A better word for what it actually is might be "promise".

> By characterizing John's proposal as one to "renege" on the social
> contract, you must be positing one of two exlcusive positions:
> 1) That any modification of the social contract constitutes reneging on it;
> or
> 2) That it is possible to modify the social contract without reneging on it.

Reneging on a promise, or an unbinding contract, is easy: you just do it.
It's not illegal or impossible or even necessarily unjust.

I, personally, don't think that's a particularly moral way to behave

The proper way to behave would be to have the person or the group to whom
you've given that promise release you of it. Since it's not a particularly
formally defined group, that's hard to do.

> Finally, in the present case we would do well to ask ourselves just how
> much the free software community proper cares about our stance with regard
> to non-free software in and of itself.

Which is I guess what I'm getting at: we shouldn't be asking *ourselves*
this, we should be asking, not the free software community, but our
*user* community.

Note that it's our users that will be mostly affected by this. Developers
who aren't interested in non-free stuff don't have to care about it,
and other members of the free software community don't lose any privleges
because we also support non-free software.

> [...] If
> my observations on this point are accurate, then you either incorrect or
> being disingenuous to imply that amending the social contract -- whether
> generally or as proposed -- constitutes a betrayal of the free software
> community.

You seem to be confusing the free software community with our users for some
reason. They're not the same.

Certainly, from the perspective of the free software community, this
is a pretty neat thing. I've no doubt RMS wouldn't feel betrayed in the
slightest, for example. From the perspective of our users though?

> > If anything, you're the one trying to compell people: you're trying to
> > stop developers and non-free authors working on non-free software.
> > Certainly within the context of Debian, and, based on your rationale, in
> > the wider world as well.
> The rationale is not part of his proposal, and does not have to be voted
> on.  It describes how he came to propose it.

Read. What. I. Wrote. "You're the one trying to compell people". There's
no implication that he'll be successful, no implication that that's the
motives of everyone or even anyone who seconds his proposal.

> > And that's all very well, but don't try to tell us we're already being
> > compelled to do anything here. We're not.
> Certain individuals within the project, such as the FTP administrators and
> bug tracking system maintainers, are in fact compelled by the existing
> social contract to support infrastructure for non-free packages.

No, they're not. James, for example, has refused in the past to add
certain software to main because he believes it's more appropriate in
contrib, but the -policy consensus was that main was the proper place
for it.

And the BTS doesn't have a clue whether software is in non-free or
contrib, they only have to support software in main, that by doing so
they also support non-free software just falls out.

> > Words mean things, please choose them carefully.
> I presume you mean we should follow your example, with your reckless
> employment of the term "renege"?

Of course. I wouldn't say it if I didn't mean it.


Anthony Towns <aj@humbug.org.au> <http://azure.humbug.org.au/~aj/>
I don't speak for anyone save myself. GPG encrypted mail preferred.

  ``We reject: kings, presidents, and voting.
                 We believe in: rough consensus and working code.''
                                      -- Dave Clark

Attachment: pgpf3HEYOFT5J.pgp
Description: PGP signature

Reply to: