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Re: An ammendment (Re: Formal CFV: General Resolution to Abolish Non-Free)

On 16 Jun 2000, John Goerzen wrote:

> Anthony Towns <aj@azure.humbug.org.au> writes:
> > On Thu, Jun 15, 2000 at 10:33:17PM -0500, John Goerzen wrote:
> > > My proposal does not throw out the social contract.  It strengthens
> > > it.  I fail to see how you can call supporting and spreading non-free
> > > software "good, valuable principles."  There is no logical or ethical
> > > basis for such a statement.
> > 
> > Well, there may be no logical or ethical basis that you'll accept,
> > but that's a different matter from there being none at all.
> There haven't been any put forth then either, so there you go :-)

Your attempts to own a mythical "moral high ground" is neither ethical nor
logical. There have been plenty of ethical and logical arguments made
during this flame fest, and you and your supporters have chosen to
miss-characterize or ignore every one of them.

As someone who has worked on the new-maintainer process for some time now,
and had other efforts of mine squandered in similar fashions, if this
proposal passes, I will be dropping all my Debian responsibilities with
the exception of my personal contribution packages (seesat5), and will be
forced to abandon the new-maintainer process. I see no other choice that
satisfies my principles and ethics.

Here is some logic for you:

New maintainers are required to agree to support the Social Contract and
the DFSG. If not you specifically, some of your supporters have said quite
clearly that the DO NOT support the Social Contract, and will not support
it until or unless some substantial modifications to the principles
expressed by this contract are changed. (said changes being argued on a
fictitious moral argument) How can I ethically continue with new
maintainer if I do not also call for the immediate an summary
expulsion of every member who has expressed this belief?

I say: "We have a Constitution that allows us to govern our behavior and
define specific methods that we will use to implement our ideals
through the definition of goals. The principles on which this Constitution
were founded are the Social Contract and the DFSG, which are, in my mind,
an immutable statement of what Debian stands for (i.e. principles) and any
changes to these documents constitutes a change in the foundations of this
organization. These are principles that have been proven by the great
software that we release, and I am not willing to sacrifice them for
someone else's compulsions to change things to suit their personal
beliefs. This group will only work if all the participants agree to work
to the same set of principles. That is why we demand of all new
maintainers that they agree with these principles as applies to their work
for Debian. (We make no constraint on what you say on slash-dot, or what
kind of proprietary company you might work for to make an income, or what
you may say in debate at some conference or another, but we do, and we
must, demand that Debian's foundation principles be adhered to, or we are
no longer Debian. As least not the Debian I have worked on for the last
five years!)"

The freedom to use non-DFSG compliant software, that is otherwise free of
distribution restrictions for Debian (otherwise known as non-free) is an
important guiding principle for Debian and always has been, as it falls
within the founding principle of an open approach that maximizes software 
freedom. No one is saying Debian has the only answer to these questions,
only that we _do_ have a specific position on them. 

I hope that it always will be, but I know what to do if it isn't. I will
go somewhere else, and I would strongly suggest that those who "really
can't stand" the principles expressed in these documents should make the
same decission and go elsewhere, instead of trying to polute these
principles by demanding substantive changes.


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