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Re: Amendment of Proposal - Deferment of Changes from GR 2004-003

On Wed, Apr 28, 2004 at 04:59:00PM +0100, Colin Watson wrote:
> On Tue, Apr 27, 2004 at 08:41:35PM -0500, Steve Langasek wrote:
> > 1. that the amendments to the Social Contract contained within the
> >    General Resolution "Editorial Amendments To The Social Contract"
> >    (2004 vote 003) be immediately rescinded;
> > 2. that these amendments, which have already been ratified by the Debian
> >    Project, will be reinstated effective as of September 1, 2004 without
> >    further cause for deliberation.

> While I would certainly prefer this to "further discussion", I would
> like to propose the following amendment. (Alert eyes will note that it's
> Option C from Jeroen's post yesterday; I drafted the text that forms the
> basis of that Option anyway. I talked to Jeroen, who says he's currently
> busy with real-life tasks.)

As a point of order, I am rejecting this amendment to my proposal, but
would very much like to see it gain the required seconds to appear on
the ballot.  If it's permitted, I even second it myself.

Steve Langasek
postmodern programmer

>   Points 1. and 2. above are removed and replaced with:
>   1. that the following text be appended to the first clause of the
>   Social Contract:
>     We apologize that the current state of some of our documentation and
>     kernel drivers with binary-only firmware does not live up to this
>     part of our Social Contract. While Sarge will not meet this standard
>     in those areas, we promise to rectify this in the following release.
>   The first clause of the Social Contract as amended will read as
>   follows:
>     Debian will remain 100% free
>     We provide the guidelines that we use to determine if a work is
>     "free" in the document entitled "The Debian Free Software
>     Guidelines". We promise that the Debian system and all its
>     components will be free according to these guidelines. We will
>     support people who create or use both free and non-free works on
>     Debian. We will never make the system require the use of a non-free
>     component.
>     We apologize that the current state of some of our documentation and
>     kernel drivers does not live up to this part of our Social Contract.
>     While Debian 3.1 (codenamed sarge) will not meet this standard in
>     those areas, we promise to rectify this in the next full release.
> > Rationale: 
> > 
> > As a seconder of the earlier GR, I certainly do consider these
> > amendments to be editorial in nature, as they are consistent with my
> > understanding of the existing Social Contract; and I believe these
> > clarifications are beneficial in the long term, because the ambiguities
> > in the Social Contract led mostly to sterile arguments about whether the
> > DFSG *should* apply to works we distribute that are not programs.
> > 
> > It's just the timing that sucks.
> > 
> > In talking with the Release Manager, it is apparent to me that his
> > understanding of the previous wording of the Social Contract, while
> > different from mine, is internally consistent; and that attempting to
> > persuade him that a different interpretation should have held would do
> > nothing to move the release forward, as I cannot in good conscience
> > argue that he should be less principled in the enforcement of the Social
> > Contract than he has been to date.  I am therefore putting forth this
> > proposal because my *own* principles hold that releasing sarge this year
> > with the same blemishes that have existed since the beginning is better
> > than releasing a sarge next year that has no non-DFSG content.
> > 
> > A fixed four month period should (based on current projections) give us
> > ample time to release sarge, while not allowing so much time that
> > maintainers are left to think that resolving the status of non-program
> > components of Debian vis à vis the DFSG is not an imminent concern.
> > 
> > I realize that others have other prospective GRs in progress, but I
> > believe that it's important to bring a quick resolution to the current
> > situation, and would therefore like to be able to start the clock on the
> > discussion period ASAP.  I am looking for seconds for this proposal, or
> > barring that, amendments.
> I largely concur with Steve's rationale above. However, having amended
> the Social Contract already in a way that many of our developers feel
> best expresses their principles yet being quite some distance away from
> being able to meet those standards, I feel that the most honest approach
> is to note in the Social Contract itself that we apologize for not
> living up to those principles just yet. We can then get on with
> releasing something that's the best we can do in the time we need to
> satisfy those of our userbase who are frustrated with the age of the
> previous release, and start removing or rewriting whatever's necessary
> after that.
> As well as being, in my opinion, more honest, amending the Social
> Contract rather than resolving to ignore it means that the Release
> Manager will no longer be in the position of either having to violate
> the Social Contract or else having to postpone a full Debian release for
> an as yet indeterminate period of time. (This also applies to Steve's
> original proposal.)
> The Social Contract as amended here does not require the removal of
> non-free documentation or kernel drivers with binary-only firmware from
> sarge or its point releases; but it restores the full force of version
> 1.1 with effect from sarge+1. It does not excuse any other DFSG
> violations in sarge. I feel that we already have plenty of incentive to
> release sarge in a short timeframe, and that we're well on the way to
> doing so.

> I'm looking for seconds for this amendment.

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