Re: Amendment to the Constitution: Add a new foundation document
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Manoj Srivastava <email@example.com> writes:
> [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 existing ones withdrawn by amending the list of Foundation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>
> 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.
> I am actively looking for seconds for this proposal.
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