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Re: Results for General Resolution: Lenny and resolving DFSG violations

On Mon, 2008-12-29 at 15:02 +1000, Anthony Towns wrote:
> For example, having "non-free" in the archive and the BTS (and potentially
> buildds and elsewhere) is implied by point (3) (ie, supporting Debian
> users who choose to use non-free software to the best of our ability),
> and potentially using non-free software ourselves (such as qmail or pgp
> in the past) may be implied by point (2) (using the best available tools
> and techniques to do the best job we can). I would personally prefer
> for the project to have the freedom to decide those sorts of things
> on a day-to-day basis through regular decision making (maintainers,
> list debate, DPL, ftpmaster, RM, tech-ctte, simple majority vote), but
> I don't know if the rest of the project will buy that these days. I'm
> fairly sure some people won't, at any rate.

I would prefer this.  But I am afraid of it, and so I would vote against
it.  I am afraid that there are folks in the project who really don't
care if Debian is 100% free--even as a goal.  I think that Ted Tso is
even one of them.

My fear is that if we say, "It is a goal that Debian be 100% free", and
leave it up to the ordinary process of people doing their work, then
people who oppose that goal, who think it is a foolish goal, or an
unworthy one, will simply obstruct it.  

It is this which bothered me about the release team's methodology
vis-a-vis this issue this time around.  Not that I thought they were
deliberately obstructing our goals--I have no reason to think they were
doing anything but making a pragmatic decision as best as they could at
the time--but because I can't know for sure.  And, then when the
controversy erupted, there were people expressing views that I *do*
think are simply contrary to our goals, lauding the release team for
ostensibly obstructing the social contract's "absolutism".

I wish we could have in the world of GNU/Linux one, just one,
please--just one--distribution which really took free software as of
cardinal importance.  Debian has promised to be that, while living up to
the promise only in fits and starts.  That's ok with me.  But I'm afraid
that if we stopped the promise, and simply decided it would be our goal,
the folks who are against the promise will be against the goal, and will
see this as permission to simply *never* work toward the goal, and to
obstruct others who do.

> Since it's worded as a pledge, it might make sense that if it (or
> something like it) is ever adopted, that existing developers membership
> being dependent on them agreeing to the pledge. That didn't happen with
> the previous SC change, but it seems strange to claim to have a social
> contract when a significant number of members don't actually support
> it 100%.

In my opinion, developers who are unwilling to abide by the Social
Contract in their Debian work should resign.  But they don't, and this
is what has me afraid.


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