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Re: GR: Removal of non-free

On Thu, Dec 25, 2003 at 06:40:47PM +1000, Anthony Towns wrote:
> On Wed, Dec 24, 2003 at 08:43:11PM +0000, Andrew Suffield wrote:
> > I propose the following resolution:
> > ------------------------------------------------------------------------
> > The next release of Debian will not be accompanied by a non-free
> > section; there will be no more stable releases of the non-free
> > section. Uploads to the non-free section of the archive will be
> > disabled as soon as is feasible. The Debian project will cease active
> > support of the non-free section.
> > ------------------------------------------------------------------------
> This resolution violates the social contract, so cannot be passed. I
> therefore call on the secretary to reject it on procedural grounds.
> HTH, HAND. :)

You're completely incorrect.  The resolution, if passed, may not be
enforceable, but there is no procedural bar within the Constitution to
passing a general resolution that is contrary in intent to anything at

If passed, and if the Social Contract has not been amended in a
compatible fashion in the meantime, all this means is that "enforcement"
of the general resolution would have to be suspended until the tension
is removed -- whether by having another GR to retract Mr. Suffield's, or
by amending the Social Contract.  This GR, if passed, could remain in
uneforceable limbo for a long time, but that's no bar to the Project
expressing its will via the GR process.  At worst, it makes more
explicit some form of tension or conflict within the Project, and given
that we claim "We Won't Hide Problems"[1], I don't view that as
particularly problematic.

Perhaps you'd care to quote language from our Constitution that
contradicts my position.  Just to help you out, I'll note that Mr.
Suffield's proposal is clearly specific and technical in nature.  It
does not:

* describe the goals of the Project;
* describe the relationship of the Project to other free software
  entities; or
* describe nontechnical policies such as the free software license terms
  that Debian software must meet.

For my part, I will refrain from closing my message with dismissive and
disrespectful little acronyms.

[1] http://www.debian.org/social_contract

G. Branden Robinson                |    A celibate clergy is an especially
Debian GNU/Linux                   |    good idea, because it tends to
branden@debian.org                 |    suppress any hereditary propensity
http://people.debian.org/~branden/ |    toward fanaticism.    -- Carl Sagan

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