[Comments] Re: [Proposal] Social Contract Amendment
This is a somewhat detailed description of the changes I'm proposing.
1. Debian Will Remain 100% Free Software
There were two sentences here, in my proposal there are three.
I changed the first sentence so the point of "entirely free software"
was clear, and to not contradict the constitution, which was recently
changed to indicate that the DFSG is a different document from the
Social contract. In doing so, I split it into two sentences.
Before: We promise to keep the Debian GNU/Linux Distribution entirely
free software. As there are many definitions of free software,
we include the guidelines we use to determine if software is
After: Debian exists to distribute a general purpose system composed
of entirely free software. As there are many definitions of free
software, we use the "Debian Free Software Guidelines" to determine
if software is free.
I changed the second sentence to get rid of the implication that we're
providing support for non-free software which we're not providing for
Before: We will support our users who develop and run non-free software
on Debian, but we will never make the system depend on an item of
After: We will also support our users who develop and run other software
on Debian -- free or non-free -- but we will never make the system
depend on an item of non-free software.
5. Programs That Don't Meet Our Free-Software Standards
There were five sentences here, in my proposal there are six.
This part of the social contract is fairly detailed, to avoid problems
I make no changes in the first sentence.
We acknowledge that some of our users require the use of programs
that don't conform to the Debian Free Software Guidelines.
The LSB did not exist when the Social Contract was first written.
However, it's of critical importance in the context of supporting non-free
software, so I've added a sentence about LSB.
New: We support interoperability standards such as "Linux System
Base", and will accept bug reports where our system violates those
I added a statement of purpose to the next sentence, and made it a bit
less dependent on dated technology, replacing "FTP" with "internet".
Before: We have created "contrib" and "non-free" areas in our FTP
archive for this software.
After: To make our system more attractive to people with mild
dependencies on non-free software, we have created "contrib" and
"non-free" areas in our internet archive.
The next two sentences of the original were disclaimers. I combined
them into a single sentence, and made it a bit less dependent on
dated technology, and got rid of the confusing "not a part of
Before: The software in these directories is not part of the Debian
system, although it has been configured for use with Debian. We
encourage CD manufacturers to read the licenses of software packages
in these directories and determine if they can distribute that
software on their CDs.
After: The software in these directories is not needed by most people,
and we do not guarantee all software in the non-free area may be
distributed in other ways.
The last sentence of the original was a weak rationale. I've turned it
into two sentences, making it less apologetic and saying more of what
the point is.
Before: Thus, although non-free software isn't a part of Debian,
we support its use, and we provide infrastructure (such as our
bug-tracking system and mailing lists) for non-free software
After: Thus, although we're working to reduce people's dependence
on non-free software, we support users who are still dependent.
Additionally, we will work to provide free alternatives to non-free
software so people who using only free software can work with users
of non-free software.
I think my proposal is superior to Andrew's in a variety of ways,
but here are the most important:
 I propose that we fix part 1 of the Social Contract, his would leave
several contradictions in place.
 I think Debian will be easier for new users to adopt with my proposal
than with his.