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Re: The new Social Contract and releasing Sarge

Anthony Towns <aj@azure.humbug.org.au> writes:

> ] Andrew Suffield's editorial-fixes proposal deals with the contentious
> ] issue of the meaning of "Software" and the limitation of section 5
> ] to "Programs", by clarifying that the DFSG applies to *all* works.
> ] This is in keeping with the original intent of the Social Contract and
> ] DFSG authors, and the debian-legal consenus interpretation.
> http://lists.debian.org/debian-vote/2004/debian-vote-200401/msg01830.html
>     -- Nathaniel Nerode
> http://lists.debian.org/debian-vote/2004/debian-vote-200401/msg01831.html
>     -- my response to the above
> http://lists.debian.org/debian-vote/2004/debian-vote-200401/msg01846.html
>     -- a mail from me discussing some of the implications of changing the
>        social contract that way

Thank you for providing this references.  They were part of a
different discussion, about the non-free GR, so it was easy to
overlook that they were relevant to the recently passed GR.

The last includes the following paragraph:

  The current rules are that programs don't get into main unless they
  appear to have DFSG-free licenses, and get removed from main if it
  turns out that there are some non-DFSG-free terms in there, and
  upstream isn't willing to change them. DFSG-free licenses are
  preferred for documentation and other data in main, but as long as its
  distributable, it's more or less up to the maintainer's discretion.

This does match my understanding of what we were in fact doing, so it
was an accurate state of what we did.  However, in my opinion it was
inconsistent with the Social Contract, as it previously existed and as
it exists now.

I will freely grant, however, that the old form of the Social Contract
was ambiguous in just this regard.  I intend no criticism of those who
implemented the above-quoted policy--they were following what they
believed in good faith to be what the Social Contract required.  I
disagree with their interpretation, but I do not have any quibble with
their integrity or commitment to follow our rules.

But it is because of this that I supported the GR which passed.  I
believed that our previous practice was wrong, and that it needed to
change.  I am actually more willing than Anthony to tolerate little
areas of ambiguity, and leaving things in main "for the time being"
while difficulties get worked out.  I think that as a general rule
DFSG bugs are just like other bugs (provided we aren't violating the
licenses ourselves), and we don't need to fix them immediately all the
time.  But Anthony disagrees, and that's fine.

In any case, I disliked the old procedure; I thought it was based on
an incorrect interpretation of the Social Contract; so I happily
supported and voted for the GR which amended the Social Contract to
make clear that the old procedure was not allowed.

Because I'm willing to tolerate slowness and areas of ambiguity, I did
not expect that this would mean that sarge would have to be delayed
until it gets brought into compliance.  But it's really Anthony's
decision, and I'm still trying to make up my mind just what I think
about the proposals to have another GR that would allow sarge to be
released under the old rules.


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