[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 t=
> he
> > Debian Social Contract isn't a "contract" in the sense that a group of
> > individuals create a contract with each other.
> Indeed.
> 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=
> t;
> > 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.

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 
replacements yet.

     Buddha Buck                             bmbuck@14850.com
"Just as the strength of the Internet is chaos, so the strength of our
liberty depends upon the chaos and cacophony of the unfettered speech
the First Amendment protects."  -- A.L.A. v. U.S. Dept. of Justice

Reply to: