Re: Constitutional Amendment GR: Handling assets for the project
Manoj Srivastava writes ("Constitutional Amendment GR: Handling assets for the project"):
> In order to bring the constitution in line with current needs
> and practices of handling assets globally, and allowing the projet to
> add and remove partner organizations from the set of organizations
> currently authorized to hold assets for Debian, I would like to
> propose the following amendment to the Debian constitution. This had
> been discussed at length last month, and suggestions and discussion
> have died down. I would like to seek seconds for this proposal at
> this time.
I agree with the sense and letter but have a few factual, grammar and
other minor corrections, which I'd like to formally propose as
amendments. I'd appreciate it if you'd accept them. I propose each
change as a separate amendment so you may accept some or all of them;
they're numbered 1 to 14, below.
I hereby also second the proposed resolution as is, even if you don't
accept my amendments.
1. Replace all occurrences of `organization' (and derivative words)
with `organisation', so as to maintain consistent spelling.
2. Change wording from `legal presence' to `legal entity':
> + Debian has no legal presence in any country worldwide, and as such
Debian is not a legal entity (in any country in the world), and as such
Rationale: Having a `legal presence' is not the same as being a `legal
entity'; legal entities may exist but not have a presence in a
3. Change `maintain' to `own':
4. Change `Therefore, property...' to present tense:
> + cannot maintain any money or other property. Therefore, property will
cannot own any money or ... ... Therefore, property
for use for Debian
Rationale for 3.: Debian cannot own things; ownership is a legal concept. It
can maintain them; maintaining things is how you deal with them in the
real world. (Money does not need to be `maintained'.)
Rationale for 4.: We should use the present tense, not the future
tense, even though this amendment is currently a draft.
> + have to be maintained by any of a number of organizations as detailed in
has to be owned by any of...
Part of my amendment 3.
5. Insert a paragraph break:
6. Mark this whole section 9.2 as non-normative:
> + §9.2
> + Traditionally, SPI was the sole organization authorized to hold
> + property and monies for the Debian Project. SPI was created in
> + the U.S. to hold money in trust there.
-- insert paragraph break --
> SPI and Debian are separate organisations who share some
> goals. Debian is grateful for the legal support framework offered
> by SPI. Debian's Developers are eligible for contributing
> membership in SPI by virtue of their status as Developers.
Rationale for 6.: most of this is just factual information; the
contributing membership status is determined by SPI so is also
7. Add a comma:
> + 9.1 Relationship with Associated Organizations
> + 1. Debian Developers do not become agents or employees of
> + organizations holding assets in trust for Debian, or of
> + each other, or of persons in authority in the Debian Project
...in the Debian Project,
> + solely by the virtue of being Debian Developers. A person
Rationale: this makes it clearer that the `solely by virtue of'
applies to `do not become agents' rather than `persons in authority'.
8. Apostrophe correction:
> + authority within such an organization, subject to the
> + organizations decision and rules.
organisation's decision and rules.
(My amendment 1, "organisation", also applies.)
9. Remove comma-splice:
> + Debian has no authority to hold money or property, any
Debian has no authority to hold money or property. Any
Rationale: this fixes the grammar and breaks up an excessively long
10. Replace `such things':
11. Replace `in name of' and `on behalf of':
12. Capitalise `Project Leader' and Delegate:
> + donations for the Debian Project must be made to any one of a set
> + of organizations designated by the Project leader (or a delegate)
of organisations designated by the Project Leader (or a Delegate)
> + to be authorized to handle such things in name of the Debian
... to handle assets to be used for the Debian
Rationale for 10.: `Such things' is vague; we should say exactly what
Rationale for 11.: `In name of' is bad grammar. `In the name of' and
`on behalf of (see below) would be wrong because it might imply some
kind of legal existence for Debian. What we should talk about is the
12. Capitalise `Project':
> + project. Such authorization, or its withdrawal, and annual reports
> + of activities by such organizations on behalf of Debian must be
of Debian-related activities by such organizations must be
Rationale: we want all Debian-related activities, even those not
clearly connected to assets, and of course we want to avoid `on behalf
13. Replace `it would be preferable' with `should':
14. Replace comma-splice with phrase referring to "best practice":
15. Introduce paragraph break:
> + It would be preferable if the organizations holding assets in
> + trust for Debian undertake certain obligations for the handling of
> + such assets, as an example:
Organisations holding assets in trust for Debian should
undertake reasonable obligations for the handling of such
-- insert paragraph break --
As an example of best practice at the time of writing,
> SPI have made the following undertakings:
Rationale for 13.: `should' is defined in appendix B.
Rationale for 14.: Fixes the grammar and explains what the meaning of
the example is.