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

Glenn Maynard <glenn@zewt.org> wrote:
> It also seems like an invitation for people to take non-legal invariant
> sections, stuff them inside the license, and claiming that they're part
> of the text.

> Currently, this is a judgement call; the GPL's preamble 
> is allowed, but I hope that ftpmaster wouldn't accept a package with
> the GNU Manifesto tucked inside the license with "preamble" scribbled
> on top.
FYI, I'd prefer that to having the GNU Manifesto, and other random non-free 
writings of RMS, dumped in random locations in Emacs or the Emacs 
documentation.  As is the case *now*.

> Would happen or wouldn't happen, there's no knowing what would 
> result in advance, but given the lengths people seem to be willing to
> go to stuff Debian with invariant crap, I'd expect it.  This exception
> won't do any good, and might just create another "loophole" for people
> to try to exploit (or at least hold lengthy threads about).

As it is non-free stuff is squirrelled all over the Debian system.  It may be 
seen as a sort of "retreating", but I'd be so much happier if I knew that all 
non-free stuff was located strictly in the usr/share/doc/*/copyright 
and /usr/share/common-licences/* files, and wasn't infecting the rest of the 

Frankly, that's a compromise I'd be willing to make in order to get the stuff 
out of the rest of the system; I don't know about anyone else.  It seems 
really hard to get it out of the rest of the system, and the people who are 
most intransigent are the ones who keep bringing up the "license text" red 

Regarding emacs.  The maintainer has failed to address the RC bug for 2 years, 
168 days now and shows no signs of addressing it.  The emacs21 package has 
not been forcibly orphaned or transferred to another maintainer.  Nothing has 
been done to the maintainer for failure to adhere to the Social Contract.  
The release team has not removed emacs21 from etch.  The ftpmasters have not 
removed emacs21 from etch.  The DPL has done nothing either.

In other words, the Debian project as a whole is simply allowing arbitrary 
non-free documents in arbitrary places in the Debian system.  While claiming 
not to in the Social Contract.

Now, the vast majority of maintainers do try to adhere to the Social Contract.  
But nothing happens when a maintainer doesn't (or when a maintainer has a 
completely invalid interpretation of the Social Contract and refuses to 
abandon it, to be more charitable) -- the Social-Contract-violating package 
just stays in Debian.

So, Debian is being unthruthful to its users.  

Nathanael Nerode  <neroden@twcny.rr.com>

"It's just a goddamned piece of paper."
-- President Bush, referring to the US Constitution

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