Re: "Social Contract GR's Affect on sarge" or "Debian commits suicide"
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- Subject: Re: "Social Contract GR's Affect on sarge" or "Debian commits suicide"
- From: Nathanael Nerode <email@example.com>
- Date: Sun, 09 May 2004 01:07:40 -0400
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Joe Buck wrote:
Or indeed for insulting him, since I can't really apologize for that
without lying. Well, I did my best to craft an honest apology which
contains no further insults.
Exactly. And it is *that* that you might want to apologize to the
debian-devel list for: not for asserting that AJ was wrong about the
social contract and the DFSG,
Yes quite. It was precisely what you say *until* someone pointed out
that the Social Contract actually wasn't textually ambiguous in a way
which allowed non-DFSG-free documentation, and the explanation for that
was carefully and politely repeated on several different lists. My
hostility level, and that of others, rose significantly after that was
identified and ignored. Which was months ago. (In case you missed it,
if "Debian will remain 100% Free Software", and documentation isn't
software, how can Debian contain documentation at all?)
From where I sit, AJ was guilty of the crime of pragmatism...
I see. So you're saying that AJ judged the meaning of the Social
Contract fundamentally by prior actions, not by the text at all? This
is certainly an point of view which is quite hard for me to comprehend.
It also doesn't seem fit with his statements about his view.
Well, not quite;
(If you actually disregard the text in *favor* of prior actions, you can
get a reasonable position. There were people who did something similar
to that; they suggested amending the Social Contract to say "Debian will
remain a collection of Free Software and other works", on the grounds
that that was what was meant, or what should have been meant. Which was
a reasonable view, although there are a lot of people who politely
it's more like using prior actions to reason about points
where the DFSG appears to be ambiguous. It said "free software", as did
the social contract. Is documentation software? Based on previous
actions, one might think that the writers of the contract didn't think so,
but maybe they just didn't notice. The new GR makes things clearer, which
is why some don't think that it could be called an editorial change. Now,
there is also a good argument also that the DFSG should have been applied
to documentation all along, but AJ thought he found a way to avoid that.
Yeah, I did the thinking. I couldn't help myself, though, hence the
argument point above. Although I left out many others because I'm
assuming you actually know them. (But if I'm wrong, do tell.) That
paragraph deliberately completely misses the points of the arguments for
the debian-legal interpretation of the previous Social Contract, right?
Diplomacy and saving face requires, in this case, pretending one's
previous arguments never existed and never needed to? That makes me
Now, before you argue with me about the above paragraph, think about it as
Of course that would be the goal. :-) I'm not sure what saving face
would constitute for me, so I guess I don't get an equal share of this.
(Is a need for face-saving perhaps the 'looking good' psychological
a piece of diplomacy rather than as a purported theorem which it is your
job to disprove. The purpose of the diplomacy is to permit people like
you and people like AJ to all save face and to continue to work together.
You agree to disagree about the past, and you agree that, going forward,
no one can deny that the DFSG applies to every byte Debian ships.
Actually, *nobody* agrees that it should, going forward!
See the discussion over license texts. I guess people like me and
people like AJ agree (maybe) that the long-term *goal* is that it will
apply to the whole Debian system, but there are (endless!) arguments
over how to get to that goal. Of course, people like Marco D'Itri don't
even agree on *that*.
And there's the often glossed-over distinction between the Debian system
and 'what Debian ships'. It seems to be the majority opinion that
Debian should ship non-free, so...
Maybe you can come up with a better conclusion? :-p
<snip lots of random stuff I wrote and decided not to send, as usual>