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 t=
> > 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 i=
> > or
> > 2) That it is possible to modify the social contract without reneging on =
> Reneging on a promise, or an unbinding contract, is easy: you just do it.
> It's not illegal or impossible or even necessarily unjust.
To add support to this...
I've seen an objection raised that this GR would break the Debian
Social Contract. I've seen a response that I would characterize as
"Well, it's not a -real- contract anyway, so it isn't legally binding.
We don't have to follow it. We can change it unilaterrally if we want".
I find the response, or more specifically the justification for the
response, to be highly disturbing.
Debian differs from most of the other distributions ot there by
actually having a Social Contract. Debian is the only major
distribution whose stated goals are non-profit, who actively, through
word and deed, puts the Free Software Community first, etc. These are
all things which have gotten Debian lots of good press, and have made
Debian -highly- respected within the Linux community.
I do not want to see that respect and good press lost by Debian
treating the Social Contract as non-binding, as changeable.
> > 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.
As a user (who is not a developer...maybe one day) who has been using
and following Debian since before 1.1 was released (I heard about
Debian from the press release that said 1.0 wasn't gonna happen), I
find any attempt to change the Social Contract to be worrisome. I
started using Debian because of its commitment to Free Software, and I
find the Social Contract and the DFSG to be the cornerstones upon which
the modern Debian distribution was built. Changing those foundations
would place Debian on a weaker, unsettled, moral base.
As for the specific free/non-free issue... I use non-free software. I
even have apt-lines from non-Debian sources (Helixcode, right now). I
would hate to see non-free disappear. Somethings don't have suitable
Buddha Buck email@example.com
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