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Re: getting personalities out of the FSF-Debian argument

On Thu, Sep 11, 2003 at 02:48:26PM +0000, Dylan Thurston wrote:
> On 2003-09-11, Jeremy Hankins <nowan@nowan.org> wrote:
> > Would it be useful for debian-legal to designate a point-man, as it
> > were, who could summarize discussions here and send the result to the
> > FSF?  It would introduce quite a delay in any back-and-forth, but that
> > seems unavoidable, and it would certainly cut down on the amount of
> > text the FSF side would have to read while maintaining transparency.
> For precedent for this, see the excellent (informal) work Jeff Licquia
> did in communicating Debian's concerns to the LaTeX project, reported
> in
> http://lists.debian.org/debian-legal/2003/debian-legal-200304/msg00006.html
> In the earlier discussions, Frank Mittelbach had expressed in
> inability to keep up with all the messages addressed at him, much like
> RMS has done this time around.
> OTOH, the LaTeX project had expressed considerable willingness to
> change, much more than I've seen from RMS, who seems completely
> inflexible on the core issue of invariant sections.

There is another difference between this situation and the current one,
though I don't honestly know if it an essential one: in the LPPL case,
Jeff Licquia, a Debian Developer spontaneously nominated himself to this
role.  Bruce is no longer a Debian insider, having resigned in hot blood
some years ago.

This means is that Bruce is better suited to be a mediator between
the Debian Project and the FSF, rather than a direct representative of
Debian.  Fortunately, this is what he appears to have in mind.

So, yes, to engage in diplomacy in the manner discussed, we need a
Debian "insider" to be our representative in these negotiations, and as
far as I can tell Bruce has not yet approached the Debian Project
Leader to ask him to delegate one.

I am also a poor choice, as RMS has asserted that he is not on speaking
terms with me, and has not shared his criteria for remedy of that

If we were to elect a person to serve in this role, I suggest we permit
people to self-nominate for a period, and then the Developers can elect
one using the procedure described in the Debian Constitution.  We could
even use the debian-vote list for this, if the Project Secretary
doesn't have his hands full.  Otherwise we can conduct the same
procedure on this list, and I would be willing to serve as the election
officer.  (Everything from nominations to ballots would be public, so I
trust there would be no questions about propriety.)  Nominees for the
position need not be Debian Developers, but the voters would have to be.

Before anyone gets upset, this is just one proposal for "designating a
point-man", and it may not be the best.

Bruce, if we were to appoint a representative in this or a similar
manner, would you accept the outcome?

Manoj, do you have the time and resources necessary to conduct such a
vote in your capacity as Project Secretary?

(Incidentally, if RMS can't keep up with all the messages addressed to
him, then I must wonder why *my* messages addressed to debian-legal are
a problem in particular.  But I digress.)

G. Branden Robinson                |    To Republicans, limited government
Debian GNU/Linux                   |    means not assisting people they
branden@debian.org                 |    would sooner see shoveled into mass
http://people.debian.org/~branden/ |    graves.          -- Kenneth R. Kahn

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