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Re: RFD: amendment of Debian Social Contract

On Wed, Nov 05, 2003 at 04:44:32AM +1000, Anthony Towns wrote:
> That's because it doesn't make any sense. Debian's ideology has always
> been that pragmatism is more important than ideology: that's why we've
> said "hey, look, we strongly believe in free software, but you know,
> if you don't that's fine with us, here, let us help you with that".

Pragmatism _is_ an ideology (at least, that's what I learned when we
read James in philosophy class).  Stated very crudely, I understand it
to be an ideology that stresses the value of expediency over efforts to
achieve distant or unattainable states.

> What you're saying above is that ideology should be *more important* than
> pragmatism, since what goes in the social contract is definitively more
> important than stuff that doesn't: we require new maintainers to agree
> to it, we expect existing maintainers to conform to it at all times,

Er, well, maybe not *all* the time, at least not as I and others
understand clause 1 of the Social Contract.[1]

> We already have a group that'll put ideology before everything else;
> that's what the FSF is for.

This is a relativistic sort of statement.  The Debian Project is
commonly critiqued from without as being hopelessly idealistic[2].

> > It's a distinction
> > I'm not surprised that not everybody see but it is important to me.
> Mmm. You're very special.

Is it really necessary to adopt this belittling tone?

> Just because supporting non-free software doesn't have any moral value
> for you, doesn't mean that's the same for everyone.

Does supporting non-free software have a moral value for *you*?  If so,
can you explain how that moral value is contingent upon the opinions of
your peers[3]?

[1] http://lists.debian.org/debian-devel-announce/2003/debian-devel-announce-200308/msg00010.html
[2] I am too lazy to provide a URL here, but it's a perennial complaint
    in the comments to any Slashdot article that mentions Debian.
[3] "there's no way I'm going to put up with that sort of crap over
    something that's specifically had 75% of interested developers say
    they don't care about it."[4]
[4] http://lists.debian.org/debian-vote/2003/debian-vote-200311/msg00113.html

G. Branden Robinson                |     I am only good at complaining.
Debian GNU/Linux                   |     You don't want me near your code.
branden@debian.org                 |     -- Dan Jacobson
http://people.debian.org/~branden/ |

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