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Jeroen Dekkers (was: Re: sid: libc6-2.2.5-4 kills vmware workstation 3.0)

Mr. Dekkers, don't take this email as a personal attack. It isn't.

On Tue, 09 Apr 2002, Jeroen Dekkers wrote:
> On Tue, Apr 09, 2002 at 07:22:55AM -0700, tony mancill wrote:
> > > On Mon, Apr 08, 2002 at 11:47:42PM +0200, Jeroen Dekkers wrote:
> > > > It's your own fault. You choosed to run non-free software, now you get
> > > > the consequences. Debian doesn't support vmware, so go somewhere else
> > > > with your vmware problems. (Debian does support plex86 and bochs, BTW)
> > I find this attitude highly offensive and unconscionable, particularly
> > coming from someone who is not even a developer (yet).  

Well, as far as I am concerned it would have been worse if Dekkers were
already a registered developer.  It would mean he passed NM without a clear
understanding of the real position of Debian regarding non-free software,
and of the DFSG.

Debian *does* tolerate software non-compliant to the DFSG, and will continue
to do so in the foreseeable future.  It is in the social contract, and as
such it is very clearly stated in the last sentences of paragraph 5.  This
is the plain truth.

Dekkers, you don't have to like it, but you have to follow this rule while
acting as a Debian registered developer.  What you believe the social
contract should be does not matter at all; you have to follow what it really
*IS*.  I am sure that by now you have seen just how many developers already
in Debian -- some of them who did a lot for Debian and have been with us for
a long time -- take to heart the fact that paragraph 5 is there in the
social contract.

You MUST understand that you have to work alongside with non-DFSG-free
software users, if you are to join our ranks.  You don't need to like it,
but if you cannot handle that without being obnoxious, you will be a pain in
the ass for everyone.  Debian will never stop being about DFSG-free
software, but it won't stop being about supporting our users -- including
those that use non-DFSG-free software -- any time soon, either.

I am sure you now know first hand just how instable a mix our mailinglists
are.  Don't stir it or a lot of people can't help but lose a lot of time in
the resulting blow-up.  THIS IS NOT FUNNY, we have a lot of real work to do,
and not enough people doing it.

> > Debian's focus *is* free software, but I don't believe that warrants a
> > publicly antagonistic stance towards users of other types of software.

True.  This is the more important issue we are talking about, here.  Debian
(and therefore, any person speaking for Debian, especially any registered
Debian developers _while in duty_) does NOT take a publicly antagonistic
stance towards users of non-DFSG-free software.

Anyone incapable of grasping that concept has no place being a Debian
developer, for he will be unable to uphold the social contract.

> > Developers can advocate applicants, but I'm not familiar with a method to
> > express reluctance concerning an applicant.  I'd like to request that the

Well, one talks to the applicant and his AM. One can also talk to the DAM.
The proper place to do it publicly is this mailinglist AFAIK, unless the
issue is one that should NOT be made known to the public at large because it
could bring dire consequences for the people involved.  For those touchy
subjects, debian-private is the correct place.

> > DAM to reconsider Jeroen Dekkers' application for new maintainership, and
> > potentially place that application on hold for a period of time to further
> > assess the signal-to-noise his membership represents to Debian.  I believe
> > that his immaturity is detrimental to the project.
> Because you don't think the same way I do?

Maybe it is because you have been more than a bit obnoxious about it lately,
Dekkers.  Consider that possibility, please.  Others have already told you
this, and I am telling you the same: it is not really what you said, it is
HOW you said it that is the biggest problem.

Let me expand on that... Let's go back a bit in time.  I first remeber your
name from the kernel packages naming thread.  And my first impression of you
was not a good one.  You came across, to me, as someone that could not and
would not wait for an opportune time to expose, and try to implement his
ideas.  You also did not strike me as someone particulary tolerant of (let
alone open to) opposed ideas to your own either (especially because of the
kernel packages thread).

Maybe those impressions I had of you are unfair; time will tell.  However,
we just watched the flamewar that got started by you giving that same
impression to others, only that this time the mess directly involved an
user.  Many developers take that as a Very Bad Move, to be immediately acted
upon.  Maybe that was the reason the thread blew up that high, this time

Still, IMHO you should seriously consider the possibility that you are
coming out as too agressive and confrontational (and therefore aggravating)
when talking about your personal beliefs, or pet projects.

Do you understand, now, that Debian is not made only of people that think
exactly like, or as strongly as you do, regarding non-free software?  Do you
understand now why the Social Contract has that fifth clause, and exactly
what that clause means?  Is it clear to you how the Debian project, as a
social system, keeps a balance between the first, and fourth (plus fifth)
clauses of the social contract?

I advise you to seriously consider replying to the questions in the
paragraph above *at length*, and sending a carbon copy of that reply to your
AM so that he adds them to your application report.

  "One disk to rule them all, One disk to find them. One disk to bring
  them all and in the darkness grind them. In the Land of Redmond
  where the shadows lie." -- The Silicon Valley Tarot
  Henrique Holschuh

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