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Re: getting personalities out of the FSF-Debian argument

[RMS not CCed]

On Mon, Sep 08, 2003 at 09:56:51PM -0700, Bruce Perens wrote:
> Richard, Branden, and Co.,
> I remain convinced that hot tempers are getting in the way. Thus, I would like
> to make two requests:
> 1. That the Debian folks designate someone other than Branden to speak
>    the Debian side of this argument. Diplomacy counts. Branden, please
>    do your talking to that person.

Thanks for staying on top of things.  I have a question:

What, specifically are you requesting?

A) That I stop CCing or otherwise mailing RMS with queries or commentary
   on this subject until your efforts have reached a conclusion, or are


B) That I be placed under a gag order and forbidden from discussing the
   GNU FDL in any Debian forum (or just this one?).  (Presumably, this
   restriction would have some sort of sunset as well.)

I realize you're a busy person, so you may not have noticed that I have
already resolved to A), as I noted in an earlier message to the -legal
mailing list.

If B), I am afraid I do not recongize your or anyone else's authority to
issue such an order.  My commentaries, while occasionally skeptical or
critical, do not resort to the baseness of personal attacks.  If you
believe a condition of the Free Software Foundation's détente with
Debian regarding the GNU FDL and the GNU Manuals licensed under it is
that I stop talking in public about the issue, then 1) I have to say I'm
flattered by the degree of influence you credit me with, and 2) I
suggest we think very carefully about indulging such practices as a
negotiating tactic.  Such a precedent might even be used against people
who aren't me in the future.  :)

However, I'm hopeful that you meant A), in which case I'm glad to share
the news that I had independently reached that conclusion.  Please clarify.

> 2. That FSF designate someone like Henri Poole, Eben Moglen, or Dan Ravicher
>    to speak the FSF side of this argument. I do not recommend Bradley Kuhn for
>    this role, as he's an FSF employee and I'd be putting him between a rock
>    and a hard place.
> I am hoping that I can deal with both organizations _as_ organizations.

That's great, but if you want any sort of official designee of the Debian
Project to serve as a liaison with the FSF, I'm afraid you're going to
have to ask the Debian Project Leader for that -- we have a delegation
process under our Constitution[1].  We on the -legal mailing list don't
have the authority to act in such an official manner, to my knowledge.
I also don't think Martin Michlmayr reads this list, so I urge you to
conact him at <leader@debian.org>.

Never fear, the delegation process is not weighty, and should require no
more than a few minutes of the DPL's time once a suitable person is
found to act in the role.  All he really has to do is send an email
announcing it, and it shall be.

In summary, if you want to deal with the Debian organization _as_ an
organization, I think the most efficient thing to do is to start at the
top with our Project Leader.

As a postscript, could you please summarize, to the debian-private list,
the efforts you've made to date to bring the parties to the table, apart
from those we've already seen on this list?

Thanks again for your efforts at brokering productive negotiations.

[1] http://www.debian.org/devel/constitution

G. Branden Robinson                |     What influenced me to atheism was
Debian GNU/Linux                   |     reading the Bible cover to cover.
branden@debian.org                 |     Twice.
http://people.debian.org/~branden/ |     -- J. Michael Straczynski

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