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Re: Honesty in Debian (was Re: Amendment to GR on GFDL, and the changes to the Social Contract

On Sat, Feb 11, 2006 at 01:46:14PM -0500, Nathanael Nerode wrote:
> The reason I would do this is the same reason I often get so vocal and
> sometimes angry about these matters: the issue of honesty.  I feel that the
> current situation is one in which Debian is using its Social Contract to
> lie to its users, and that that has been going on for a long time.

Nobody is lying.  A "lie" is an untruth made with the intent to deceive.
Debian doesn't try to hide these unmodifiable licenses; it's been discussed
openly on public lists many times.

> However, there is also a dishonest way.  That is to leave the Social
> Contract claiming that everything in Debian is free (or "free software",
> doesn't matter) according to the DFSG, but then to go ahead and put
> DFSG-non-free stuff into Debian.  And that is just not right.

I don't believe anyone has ever honestly felt misled by the Social Contract
after finding out he couldn't reuse all of the license texts in Debian.

Nobody is being misled, and nobody is trying to mislead; this would be
fixing a contrived problem.  If the foundation documents are changed, it
should be for a good reason--and avoiding misleading people when nobody
is being misled is not.  Is SC#3 deceptive, if the machine hosting bugs.d.o
doesn't have perfect 24/7 uptime, or if control@bugs ever becomes temporarily
backlogged?  Is SC#2 deceptive if a maintainer doesn't communicate with
upstream because upstream explicitly declines to do so?

(tangentals sorted to the bottom)

> The Social Contract used to say "Debian will remain 100% free software."
> Someone recently said that he thought a valid intepretation of this was "The
> sotware in Debian will remain 100% free."  Well, that is *not* a valid
> interpretation of the English language sentence "Debian will remain 100%
> free software".

Incidentally, I disagree.  It's a perfectly valid interpretation.  It's
merely a wrong one, in that it's not Debian's--and it's only "wrong" when
"software" is interpreted to exclude documentation, etc.  Personally, I
interpreted this as roughly "everything in Debian is software which is

> To clarify why this is not a valid interpretation:

Er, you followed this with three paragraphs that seemed like a reply to
someone arguing "documentation isn't software, so it doesn't have to be
free", but nobody was doing that.

> -- 
> ksig --random|

er?  :)

Glenn Maynard

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