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Re: Thanks and Decision making working group (was Re: General Resolution: Statement regarding Richard Stallman's readmission to the FSF board result)


On Sun, Apr 18, 2021 at 04:56:34PM +0300, Adrian Bunk wrote:

> Is it really still an open question whether Debian is a political
> project that has opinions on non-technical topics like the board of the
> FSF or the legal status of Taiwan, Palestine and Kosovo, or whether
> Debian is a technical project where people of diverse backgrounds and
> political opinions can work together on making a good distribution?

Debian is a political project that promotes the autonomy of users vis-a-vis
large organizations such as corporations and governments. It does this by
promoting the creation of free software, and by fostering a community
around free software.

We have never been apolitical, because our goals are political goals, and
they have far-reaching political consequences because free software enables
diverse groups to access information technology that would not have access
otherwise, ranging from disadvantaged groups for whom cost is the main
blocker in technology adoption to dissident groups who are reliant on
verifiability and disconnected operation.

In all of this, "our priorities are our users, and free software."

This means we have dual priorities and we need to be smart about
reconciling them. We've seen proposals to open the ecosystem to commercial
software as that would be in the interest of users, and we've seen a shift
towards more complex technology stacks that are all free software but less
accessible to modification due to the learning curve, thus disempowering

Free software isn't created in a vacuum, but by people in the free software
community. While stewardship of the community is neither our sole
responsibility nor are we tasked with it alone, it is part of our core
mission, and we cannot abdicate it without failing to also promote future
free software (in addition to failing as members of the community).

Make no mistake, the quest to have "apolitical" free software is deeply
political in itself: the process that decides which group can establish
their identity politics as default and therefore mark any deviation
therefrom as "political posturing" is itself a political process.

The demand to lower societal standards for "socially awkward nerds" is a
demand to symbolize a political hegemony: the identity of the "socially
awkward nerd" is to be protected politically, at the expense of the other
members of the free software community, therefore at the expense of the
free software movement and free software itself.


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