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[Proposal] Revised Social Contract


This proposal serves as a replacement for my earlier proposals:
one which is not yet in the mailing list archives, but which is quoted at

I'd like to call for seconds on this proposal, [especially from Sven
and Hamish, if this new one meets your requirements].

Changes from the previous version (msg01188.html):
[1] replace "programs" with the more general term "software" (part 5),
[2] change the free alternatives language to better reflect what
     we do (part 5),
[3] Incorporate wholesale updates to parts 2, 3 and 4 as suggested
    by Andrew Suffield at 
[4] Make explicit the constitutional removal of the DFSG from the 
    social contract,
[5] Remove a bit of language from the meta-title which I added in 
    the previous version (msg01188.html).

- -- 

I propose the following resolution:

We will replace our social contract with two documents, as specified
by the recent constitutional amendment.  The first replacement document
will be the social contract below, and the second replacement document
will be the Debian Free Software Guidelines extracted from the remainder
of the original social contract.

Here's the replacement for the social contract:

Debian's Social Contract

The Debian Project is an association of individuals who have made common
cause to create a free operating system.  This is the "social contract"
we offer to the free software community.
"Social Contract" with the Free Software Community
  1. Debian will remain 100% free software`

     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. 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.

  2. We will give back to the free software community

     When we write new components of the Debian system, we will license
     them in a manner consistent with the Debian Free Software Guidelines.
     We will make the best system we can, so that free works will be
     widely distributed and used. We will communicate things such
     as bug fixes, improvements and user requests to the "upstream"
     authors of works included in our system.

  3. We will not hide problems

     We will keep our entire bug report database open for public view
     at all times. Reports that people file online will promptly become
     visible to others.

  4. Our priorities are our users and free software

     We will be guided by the needs of our users and the free software
     community. We will place their interests first in our priorities. We
     will support the needs of our users for operation in many different
     kinds of computing environments. We will not object to non-free
     works that are intended to be used on Debian systems, or attempt to
     charge a fee to people who create or use such works. We will allow
     others to create distributions containing both the Debian system and
     other works, without any fee from us. In furtherance of these goals,
     we will provide an integrated system of high-quality materials with
     no legal restrictions that would prevent such uses of the system.

  5. Programs that don't meet our free-software standards

     We acknowledge that some of our users require the use of software
     that don't conform to the Debian Free Software Guidelines. We
     support interoperability standards such as "Linux System Base", and
     will accept bug reports where our system violates those standards.
     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 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. 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 find, package and support free alternatives to non-free
     software so people who use only free software can work with users
     of non-free software.

- -- 

Version: 2.6.3ia
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