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Re: Please remove RFCs from the documentation in Debian packages

On Thu, Jul 03, 2003 at 03:54:20PM -0500, Joshua Haberman wrote:
> * Branden Robinson (branden@debian.org) wrote:
> > On Thu, Jul 03, 2003 at 01:42:01PM -0500, Joshua Haberman wrote:
> > > I think non-free removal will seem more radical if it means that
> > > Debian will no longer distribute RFCs on the basis that their
> > > licensing is not permissive enough.
> > 
> > After years of watching and waiting, I have concluded that resolving to
> > stop shipping non-free software in our archives will be regarded as
> > "radical" no matter how great or small the practical consequences.  For
> > some people, Debian is about "apt-get install w4r3z", not about any sort
> > of principle.
> Do you resent everyone for whom Debian is a tool, not a principled
> political statement?

Of course not.  Do you resent the first clause of the Social Contract,
which could easily be characterized as a principled political statement?

> > > RFCs are the end product of a community process that represents
> > > everything Debian stands for.
> > 
> > Really?  What exactly does Debian stand for, then?  And what does the
> > IETF's process represent?
> 1. Transparency.  Debian carries out discourse in private only under
> compelling circumstances.  Likewise IETF working groups work over public
> mailing lists and publish drafts of all their work for the public to
> review.
> 2. Community involvement.  It doesn't take a company or a membership
> fee to participate in the RFC process, which is not the case for many
> standards organizations.  Likewise, very few of Debian's processes are
> closed off from public participation.
> 2.

"On the third hand..."

> Open and freely-availble standards.  Free software naturally favors
> interoperability, and the IETF has historically provided many of the
> standards that make this interoperability a reality.  The fact that these
> standards are freely available makes them more accessible to free
> software developers working without a budget, in contrast to standards
> from ANSI and ISO that cost money to obtain.

So, Debian should be committed merely to that which is freely available,
and not to that which is freely modifiable and distributable?

> Is it such a stretch to recognize that the IETF is an organization whose
> goals and procedures are reasonably aligned with Debian's?

I am unwilling to make an assertion one way or the other without
context.  I'd imagine that there are issues with respect to which Debian
and the IETF would be strongly aligned; there may be others where we are

As an example of the latter, Bruce Perens, former DPL and current SPI
Board member, has come out in opposition to the IETF's patent disclosure
policy, fearing that the IETF will be co-opted by large corporate

Is it such a stretch to recognize that the IETF is an organization whose
goals and procedures may not always be aligned with Debian's?

> Since you seem to favor absolute precision in language,

Substantially more precision than you've managed will suffice.

> I will concede that the IETF process may not literally represent
> "everything" Debian stands for, since parts of Debian's principles lay
> outside the scope of standardization processes.

I think there is insufficient evidence for the assertion that one
project's goals are a strict subset of the other's.

> > Without foundation, your remark serves as sloganeering, perhaps
> > calculated to intimidate or silence those who are simply viewing the
> > RFCs' licenses in an objective light.
> Do you always read the most malicious and manipulative motivations in
> other people's words?

I said "perhaps".  In any event, your remarks may have that effect
regardless of your intentions, so I urge you to lay stronger foundations
for your arguments

> What experiences have jaded you to the point that you cannot presume
> goodwill on the part of others, even within an organization of
> volunteers?

Another categorical statement.  You assert that I am completely unable
to presume goodwill on the part of others.  Without the benefit of
telepathy, How you could possibly know such a thing is quite beyond me.

That's known as an ad-hominem attack, which happens to be a form of
fallacious reasoning.

G. Branden Robinson                |       Convictions are more dangerous
Debian GNU/Linux                   |       enemies of truth than lies.
branden@debian.org                 |       -- Friedrich Nietzsche
http://people.debian.org/~branden/ |

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