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Amendment to the Constitution: Add a new foundation document

  [MY new CVS Emacs seems to have munged th headers, here is a new
  version, with a few typographical errors fixed]


        In order to handle the changes introduced in the GR 2004_003, 
 I propose we adopt a foundation document that tries to provide
 guidance and explanation for the transitions required whenever a
 change occurs in a foundation document like the social contract, and
 also provides specific remedies to the current dilemma that we find
 ourself in. This GR proposal is related to the GR currently in
 discussion for deferring of the changes made in GR 2004_003, and
 would be on the same ballot, and is an alternative to the GR
 currently in discussion.

	I hereby propose that we amend the constitution to add to the
 list of foundation documents the document attached in this proposal,
 titled "Transition Guide" 
     <OL style="list-style: decimal;">
       <LI>A Foundation Document is a document or statement regarded as
        critical to the Project's mission and purposes.</LI>
       <LI>The Foundation Documents are the works entitled <q>Debian
-       Social Contract</q> and <q>Debian Free Software Guidelines</q>.</LI>
+       Social Contract</q>, <q>Transition Guide</q> and 
+      <q>Debian Free Software Guidelines</q>.</LI>
       <LI>A Foundation Document requires a 3:1 majority for its
        supersession.  New Foundation Documents are issued and
        existing ones withdrawn by amending the list of Foundation
        Documents in this constitution.</LI>

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			   Transition Guide
 A working guide to achieve the transition for changes in Foundation documents
with specific remedies for the change in the social contract made by GR 2004_003
	 containing explanations and Rationale, and defining
		  guidelines for future transitions

In GR 2004_003, the wording of the social contract was modified. The
sociial contract represents the core of what the project is, and the
implications of the Social Contract leave their mark in many ways,
deeply intertwined with the components of the distribution. Any
change in the social contract has major ramifications, and may
require a period of work and potentially deep rooted changes before
we can come into compliance with the contract.

Meeting out commitments to the  Social Contract is an on going
process. Since we have recently changed these commitments, we need
an interval of time before we can approach compliance.  Unless we
shut down the project completely, leaving our users in the lurch,
the day to day activities of the project have to continue while we
are working towards compliance.

There is precedence for this gap in ratifying a foundation and
implementing the dictats of that document; as Joey Hess reminded me:
when we first accepted the Social Contract and the DFSG, there was an
interval before we came into compliance (indeed, it is arguable if we
were ever completely in compliance -- see above about it being an on
going process). Indeed, there was a release of a minor version just
days after the DFSG was accepted, which by no means complied.

We also did not yank out older releases, or drop support for them
immediately (as shown by the minor release).

The binding principle here is that we have to balance the needs of
our users and the need to make Debian strictly free. As Raul miller
has stated:

        In my opinion, the needs of the free software community take
        precedence in the context of adopting new packages, in the
        setting of release goals, in our choices about infrastructure
        and philosophy, and of course in the context of any
        development work we do.

         In my opinion, the needs of our users take precedence in the
         context of security fixes, in the context of support for
         packages and systems we've released, and in the context of
         the quality of our work.

With this document, we, the Debian Project, do so affirm this. We
affirm that while we are working towards a change in the long term
goals and identity of the project, or any change in a foundation
document, the needs of the users shall not be catered to during the
transition period.

We affirm that whenever a change in the Social Contract takes place,
the activities required to provide ongoing and proactive support for
versions of Debian that have already been released shall continue in
the period where we are working towards compliance. This includes,
but is not necessarily limited to, providing security updates, bug
fixes, preparing for the release of the next (compliant) release,
adopting new packages, and making point releases to refresh already
released versions of Debian.

In the specific case of the GR 2004_003, since that current release,
code named "Sarge", is very close to release, and the previously
released version is quite out of date, our commitment to our users
dictates that the "Sarge" release should go on as planned, even while
we are trying to reach compliance with the Social Contract. This
exemption for "Sarge" applies to security releases, and point releases
as well.

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	I am actively looking for seconds for this proposal.


3rd Law of Computing: Anything that can go wr fortune: Segmentation
violation -- Core dumped
Manoj Srivastava   <srivasta@debian.org>  <http://www.debian.org/%7Esrivasta/>
1024R/C7261095 print CB D9 F4 12 68 07 E4 05  CC 2D 27 12 1D F5 E8 6E
1024D/BF24424C print 4966 F272 D093 B493 410B  924B 21BA DABB BF24 424C

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