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Re: The new Social Contract and releasing Sarge

On Thu, Apr 29, 2004 at 11:19:10PM +0200, Jeroen van Wolffelaar wrote:
> I do not consider it very strange if for practical reasons some
> agreements are not followed up to the letter -- that is done all over
> the world. Example: According to Dutch law, it is forbidden to posess
> any drugs (Opiumwet Artikel 2C&3C). For practical reasons however,
> individuals who posess small amounts of soft-drugs are not prosecuted,
> it is even official state policy to not do so.
> I actually agree with that policy, and this is a government having a
> policy to not abide by its own laws.

Sure. That's what making policy exceptions is about. This isn't a case
of that though; it's not a mere law were choosing to enforce selectively
or to leave unenforced, it's an amendment to our foundational documents.

I don't know much Dutch history, but afaics, it'd be the equivalent of
the US choosing to ignore the first amendment immediately after enacting
it because it was more convenient to be able to lock up folks as soon as
they said something vaguely in support of Communism, rather than having
to wait 'til they actually do something treasonous, eg.
> Abiding the SC is a duty of the whole project, not just of Release
> Manager. 

So why does the whole project seem shocked and appalled that I'm actually
trying to abide by it?

> Both not fixing a SC-compliance issue in a certain package in
> unstable today and releasing Sarge with such a package is IMHO a
> violation of the Social Contract. It should be fixed by the members of
> the project, but it is not a death-sin if that doesn't happen today.

Well, that's good, because it's not going to happen today -- it's a lot
of work.

It's not really a question of whether it's a mortal sin to take the time
to do it, it's a question of whether it's in any way appropriate to put
other priorities -- namely getting other RC bugs fixed, working on d-i,
etc -- above the commitment we're making in the various first point of
our social contract.

I can't see how we could do that without making a mockery of our social

> I apologize for suggesting this untrue thing.
> About the offensiveness, see above: I don't think it would be abject if
> it were actually the case, we seem to disagree on that. I'm sorry but
> I cannot do much about the fact that you feel offended by being ascribed
> my interpretation of your actions (the interpretation of which I now
> know is false).

Huh? Of course you can do stuff about the fact I feel offended: you can
apologise for things you say that are untrue, and not say them in future.

> [1] Slightly refers to border-line cases here, I would not have found
> 	it acceptible if the RM knowingly excused the inclusion of f.e.
> 	ArcView in main

The general policy is that licenses which have been previously considered
free, but which are then investigated more thoroughly and discovered
to have some problems, continue to get treated as free until we've had
a chance to see if the upstream author was aware of the problem and is
willing to fix it. If the problem is able to be fixed, it gets fixed in
the next update; if it's definitely not able to be fixed, it's moved
to non-free when that's found out. This applies in the case of the
SGI/xfree86 copyright issues, eg.

I believe that's the appropriate way of ensuring main stays 100% free;
and it's been Debian policy in practice for as long as I've been a member
of the project. Obviously, if the project thinks that is a violation
of the social contract, we'll need to work out some way of adequately
dealing with that too.


Anthony Towns <aj@humbug.org.au> <http://azure.humbug.org.au/~aj/>
Don't assume I speak for anyone but myself. GPG signed mail preferred.

Protect Open Source in Australia from over-reaching changes to IP law
http://www.petitiononline.com/auftaip/ & http://www.linux.org.au/fta/

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