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Re: Final Draft: Interpretive Guideline regarding DFSG clause 3



On Wed, Dec 12, 2001 at 06:21:02PM -0800, Thomas Bushnell, BSG wrote:
> But it seems even more efficient to just oppose your proposal.  Why
> shouldn't I just do that?

Be my guest.  If it's just too much bother for you to participate in a
constructive, collaborative process, then I guess attempting a veto is
the only course of action left to you.

> I mean, if you want me to sign on as an ally, then you need to address
> the things that are important to me, and so far, you have shown very
> little willingness to do that.

You're right insofar that I am not willing to graft a blank check for
the FSF onto my proposal.  Try as I might, I cannot conceive of your
intentions as anything but:

Message-ID: <87vgfbhna4.fsf@becket.becket.net>
  Why not look at whether the views being pushed are consonant with the
  goals of the Debian Project?

Message-ID: <87r8pzhmvr.fsf@becket.becket.net>
  Well, saying the GPL sucks is, generally, contrary to the Debian
  Projects goals.  Debian is essentially neutral on "free software" v.
  "open source".  Debian is in favor of quality control and assurance
  technologies.
[...]
  So let's call this new package "debian-political".  It has whatever
  political messages Debian has chosen to put in its archive.  It goes
  in main; if it gets too big, we can split it into parts.  Of course,
  we would not print just anything in debian-political: if a political
  message is greatly offensive to Debian, we would not want to carry it.
  The right place for the emacs manual is then in the debian-political
  package.

Why, particularly, does the Debian Project need to undertake the duties
of a newspaper's editorial board?  Furthermore, who would comprise this
editorial board?  Shall we ordain and establish a Ministry of Truth?
Should it consist of the entire Project?  The entire Project is bound to
disagree about a great many political issues.  We ask that people abide
by the Social Contract in doing work for the Debian Project upon
entrance into our ranks.  We do not demand compliance with an
ideological orthodoxy.  Shall we purge our ranks of those who utter
assertions like "the GPL sucks"?  Or shall we simply disenfranchise them
of participation in our Ministry?

> I want a proposal that *at once* outlines both the guidelines, and
> whatever system there is for allowing exceptions.  A proposal that
> does only the first part of that is worse than no guidelines at all.

The existing DFSG fits exactly that description, and seems to have
functioned fairly well over the years.  My proposal can be regarded as a
footnote to the DFSG, and the fact that it has been written years after
the original document, once a concrete problem with its interpretation
came to light, is -- I think -- a testament to its success, not
indicative of its failure.  Your mileage may vary.

> Telling me "this is a great proposal, and we'll figure out the other
> parts later" is just no good.  I want to see the way the whole thing
> will work; not just part of it.

The proposal is self-contained.  I personally see no reason to
participate in punching a bunch of holes in it for the benefit of
packages that are unable to meet even this (strictly speaking) weakened
version of DFSG 3.  I am willing to use and contribute to Debian even if
packages have to be pulled from main for violating the DFSG (whether
under the DFSG with or without my guideline applied).

Why are you asking me to spend so much effort on an enterprise I can't
participate in with complete, principled enthusiasm?  Why can't this
work be done by the people who truly feel it is the Right Thing to do?

Perhaps a review of the Debian Constitution is indicated:

  2.1. General rules

  Nothing in this constitution imposes an obligation on anyone to do
  work for the Project. A person who does not want to do a task which
  has been delegated or assigned to them does not need to do it.
  However, they must not actively work against these rules and decisions
  properly made under them.

I ask you to contribute to Debian's progress, and not to impede it.

-- 
G. Branden Robinson                |
Debian GNU/Linux                   |              It tastes good.
branden@debian.org                 |              -- Bill Clinton
http://people.debian.org/~branden/ |

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