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Re: RFD: amendment of Debian Social Contract

On Sat, Nov 01, 2003 at 07:15:13PM -0600, Manoj Srivastava wrote:
> On Sat, 1 Nov 2003 15:41:15 -0500, Branden Robinson <branden@debian.org> said: 
> > I think it's the only formal or structural impediment, yes.  But
> 	In which case this needs to be pointed out;

I thought it was common knowledge how the archive administrators
operated.  At least up to a point.  :)

>  since this is likely to be the last chance that the mere mortal
>  developers have of having any say in the process of elimination of
>  non free.

I don't see why that should be the case.  I would expect that you, as
Project Secretary, would be well aware of the Developers' collective
powers under section 4.1.3 of the Constitution[1].

> > 1) We may have archive admins who don't deliberately attempt to make
> >    decisions out of proportion to their authority;
> 	Is it beyond their authority?

As far as I know, their authority isn't defined.  I am presuming that
the Project recognizes some limits of propriety, though, beyond which
the archive admins could not operate without provoking a negative

> > 2) We may have archive admins who feel a responsibility to the
> >    wishes of the rest of the Project;
> 	If this proposal passes, wouldn't it be a mandate to also
>  remove non-free, and the admins shall be acting in accordance with
>  the wishes of the developers?

The Social Contract neither mandates nor forbids that we have a mirror
network, that we break main up into sections, that we implement a
central package pool into which the distributions are collections of
symlinks, or that we sequester new packages uploaded to the master U.S.
archive from access by all developers until cryptographic source code
can be submitted to the U.S. government pursuant to the EAR[2].

Is it your understanding that everything that is not foribbiden by the
Social Contract is mandated by it?  If not, then why does the
elimination of a mandate to keep non-free mean a counter-mandate to
remove it?

> > 3) We may have archive admins who fear that their positions will be
> >    formalized, and their powers circumscribed, if they abuse their
> >    authority -- and the Golden Age would come to an end.
> > These are, however, purely speculative on my part.
> 	Quite. However, I think that your usual hyperbole may work
>  against you,

There's no need to be redundant.  Anyone who's read any message by you
in reply to any message by me in the past five and a half years knows
that you consider most of what I say hyperbole, that you feel it
undermines me in the eyes of the rest of the Project, and that you feel
I have serious character flaws which you waste no time in underscoring.

In fact, you seem to spend far more energy attacking my character and
arguments that you place in my mouth than you spend attacking anything I
actually propose.  Over in the "irrelevant amendments" subthreads you
constructed not fewer than three straw men in one message[3] as an
alternative to substantive discussion.

>  since it seems that if your characterization of our current situation
>  (re golden age) is true,

Please read more carefully.  All three of the points your are rebutting
are hypotheticals.  *If* we have archive admins who "fear that their
positions will be formalized, and their powers circumscribed", then
wouldn't they find preferable a situation under which their positions
*aren't* formalized, and their powers *not* circumscribed?

>  then your proposal must
>  needs be inextricably intertwined with the act of removinf non
>  free.

This is a complete non-sequitur.  How do the personal feelings of the
archive administrators have anything to do with the meaning of the
Social Contract?

> Hmm. I must rethink my initial reaction.

It is fortunate for me, then, that I am accustomed to the mercuriality
of your support for various positions of principle when they are
espoused by people against whom you feel you can score rhetorical points
in a dispute.  I have come to understand it as a form of sport for you.

[1] http://www.debian.org/devel/constitution
[2] http://www.eff.org/Privacy/ITAR_export/
[3] http://lists.debian.org/debian-vote/2003/debian-vote-200311/msg00028.html

G. Branden Robinson                |    Humor is a rubber sword - it allows
Debian GNU/Linux                   |    you to make a point without drawing
branden@debian.org                 |    blood.
http://people.debian.org/~branden/ |    -- Mary Hirsch

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