Social Contract proposal 20040119-13
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This is an update to my previous proposal to address some of the
criticisms the propsal has received. In this proposal, I spell out
in a bit more detail the relationship between our guidelines and our
"non-free" distribution, and clean up the rest of part 5 to fit.
Let's hold off on seconding this until the 21st, as there's a non-zero
chance I'll need to make additional changes.
The rationale for this proposal is: clean up the social contract and
bring its words in line with the way we have been interpreting it.
This includes some continuing support for non-free.
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 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. Software that doesn't meet our free-software standards
We acknowledge that some, but not all, of our users require
the use of software which does not conform to the Debian Free
Software Guidelines. In order to accommodate these users, we have
created "contrib" and "non-free" areas in our internet archive.
The software in "non-free" satisfies some, but not all, of our
guidelines and we do not guarantee all software in the non-free
area may be distributed in other ways. For those who need to run
software we do not distribute, free or non-free, we support worthy
application binary interface standards and namespace management
standards. 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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