[Proposal] Revised Social Contract
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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):
 replace "programs" with the more general term "software" (part 5),
 change the free alternatives language to better reflect what
we do (part 5),
 Incorporate wholesale updates to parts 2, 3 and 4 as suggested
by Andrew Suffield at
 Make explicit the constitutional removal of the DFSG from the
 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.
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