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Constitutional issues in the wake of Lenny

Dear all,

The votes around the Lenny release revealed some disagreements around the
constitution, DFSG, supermajority requirements and what people think is
'obvious'. What I would like to do is clarify some of these before they come up
again. To avoid overloading -project I'd like to move the initial discussion
somewhere else. If you are interested in developing the ballot options for
this, please follow up on -vote. We'll move back to -project when there are
more firm suggestions.

I'm going to try and outline what I think are the issues and relevant factions.
Please use this as a starting point for finding out where there are
disagreements and what points of view people have in order to construct a clear
ballot. We're not aiming to decide what is the right answer in the discussion,
we are aiming to decide what is the right question and so I hope the discussion
can remain polite.

Because we have disagreements about whether or not supermajority is required, I
would like all of these votes to explicitly amend the constitution in all
options, so it is completely clear. After the first vote that may not matter
for the rest, of course and this is why I would like this vote to be the first
one to run.

Overriding vs Amending vs 'Position statement'

When a GR has an option which contradicts one of the foundation documents, but
doesn't explicitly amend it; does this count as amending it? If it does not,
then how is this reconciled with the fact that we have just agreed to do
something which would contravene our own foundation documents?

Positions (in no particular order):

	- The supermajority is rubbish and we should drop it entirely, so it doesn't
	  matter what the difference is.
	- Anything which overrides a FD implicitly modifies it to contain that
	  specific exception, even if it's not specified in the GR, so always needs
	- Actually, the Social Contract isn't binding per-se, individual delegates/
	  developers are aiming for it as a goal, but can interpret it as they see
	- The DFSG doesn't automatically trump our users, we'll cope with DFSG
	  issues if it's needed for things to work.
	- Single exceptions don't require supermajority, but permanent changes do
(and slightly orthogonal, but:)
   - Ballots which are ambiguous about resolving the clash between them
     and a FD should be rejected and not run.

Constitutional/FD interpretations

Someone sometimes will need to interpret the constitution or other FDs, however
well we word it (but I think where we find disagreements/ambiguities we should
then fix them)


	- Secretary does it
	- DPL does it
	- some other group (eg the TC does it)
	- The DD making the relevant decision does it

Release team vs DFSG issues

DFSG applies to sid. If it's there and no-one has removed it, the RT can
snapshot the archive at any point for the release. DFSG or other RC bugs; it's
up to them whether to ignore them. This is possibly a subset of the above two
items, however, I think it's important enough to warrant being explicitly


	- RT can snapshot releases whenever and ignore whatever bugs they like
	- If it's not a regression there's no problem, we're still improving,
	  there's no point in delaying releases for it.
	- No, the release is what counts, transitive problems in sid less so, but we
	  mustn't release with DFSG problems

I'm sure there are other related positions I've missed off too.


Matthew Johnson

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