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Re: Amendment to GR on GFDL, and the changes to the Social Contract


You make good arguments and I agree with many points. But the following:

2006/2/8, Nick Phillips <nwp@nz.lemon-computing.com>:
> Even if for some reason that I am unable to fathom you do fervently
> believe that I am wrong in the above paragraph, then there is *still
> nothing* to say that we can't happily pass GRs that contradict each
> other. It would be foolish, sure, and perhaps reflect poorly on our
> ability to work through these things, but democracies pass laws like
> that the whole time and the courts seem to manage to resolve the
> contradictions.

Debian has no courts to resolve contradictions. No-one has the
authority to rule one way or the other. So we have to decide now,
before the vote, if there is a contradiction or not. Since there is
disagreement here already, we have a difficulty.

There are democracies that work this way. In some countries, courts
cannot rule a law unconstitutional because that is the role of
parliament. If the legislature says it's constitutional, it is.
Contradictions are solved by the legislature. The point being that
courts apply the law, but do not create it.

Back to the issue at hand. Given the only source of authority
considered by debian is the developers themselves, what we need to do
is draft a GR as follows (I think Manoj suggested something like
If there is a belief that a GR contradicts the foundations documents,
this contradiction can be resolved by:

1. The project secretary
2. A majority vote
3. A 3:1 supermajority vote
4. The project leader.
5. The technical committee
6. Debian-legal
The only other possibility is to add a second option to every possible
vote asking developers to say whether they think this requires a
supermajority or not. Or commually binding arbitration system to sort
this out.

I hope this doesn't go that far.

> Note that the alternative to this process is for someone (usually a
> General, it seems) to stand up and tell the parliament not to be so
> damn silly, and to follow his interpretation of the constitution, or
> else. This usually ends badly for all concerned.

We have no courts, so what's the alternative? If we get a
super-majority of developers to say a majority is enough, we're home.
If a majority of developers say a majority is enough, what does that

Have a nice day,
Martijn van Oosterhout <kleptog@gmail.com> http://svana.org/kleptog/

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