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Re: Updated proposed ballot for the constitutional amendment (clarification of section 4.1.5)

On Mon, Oct 13, 2003 at 11:09:12AM -0500, Manoj Srivastava wrote:
> 	There are definitely two camps about this. One camp, whose
>  views I subscribe to, believes that the juxtaposition is mere
>  happenstance; and that when the social contract talks about us
>  including a definition of what is free, we meant included in Debian
>  itself.

I believe the juxtaposition is more than mere happenstance, but that
nevertheless the two documents are easily separable, are almost
invariably discussed as separate units within the project, and that they
serve distinct functions.

> 	The fact that I consider them separate is fairly clear in
>  the variant I proposed (Proposal A), since I mention them
>  specifically.
> 	You shall have to ask Branden, the author of variant C, to
>  clarify what he meant -- and if there is suggested wording clarifying
>  his position, I'll put it on the web page as well as the ballot.

I share your interpretation.  It might be wise to add some information
to the rationale statements on proposals A and C:

  If the Constitution is amended with the language of this proposal, the
  Project Secretary shall interpret the Debian Social Contract and Debian
  Free Software Guidelines as distinct works.

(I'm not sure you can formally bind future Project Secretaries, or even
yourself, to this imperative, but it feels wrong to encode the
independent clause above into the Constitution, and I think we're safe
enough if we cross that bridge when we come to it.  We've had a
completely clueless constitutional interpretation from the Project
Secretary before [not you], and we survived.)

I can't say I have much sympathy for people who want to vote for
proposal A or C but do not share your and my premise regarding the
separateness of these works.  This issue came up immediately prior to
the discussion period when the texts of the Constitutional amendments
were being drafted, we were both clear with our opinions, and nobody
proposed an amendement.  As a practical matter, I am not sure there is
time for a new amendment to be proposed and receive sufficient seconds
before the discussion period ends, but folks are welcome to try.

Those who are horrified by all three of the (operational) ballot options
are free to rank "further discussion" as their first choice.

In any event, if any of proposals A, B, or C passes, we can amend the
second sentence of clause one of the Debian Social Contract to
externalize the reference to our Free Software guidelines.

G. Branden Robinson                |
Debian GNU/Linux                   |      Please do not look directly into
branden@debian.org                 |      laser with remaining eye.
http://people.debian.org/~branden/ |

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