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Amendment to the Constitution: Add a new foundation document [Typographical fixes]


        [This version contains typographical fixes, and a tightening
        up of the grammar, of the foundation document. I do not
        believe any substantive changes have been made.]

        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        existing ones withdrawn by amending the list of Foundation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 General Resolution 2004_003, the wording of the Social Contract was
modified. The Social Contract represents the core commitments of the
Project. The Social Contract leaves its marks in many ways, it's deeply
intertwined with the all parts of the Project. Any change to the Social
Contract has major ramifications, and may require a period of
potentially deep changes to the roots of the Project before it can come
into compliance with the changed Contract.

Meeting our commitments as described in the Social Contact is an ongoing
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 - abandoning users and our developers - the
regular activities of the Project must continue while we work towards

There is precedent for a gap between ratifying a change to the
foundation documents of the Project and implementing dictates of that
document; when the Project first accepted the Social Contract and the
Debian Free Software Guidelines, there was an interval before we came
into compliance with those then-new documents. Indeed, there was the
release of a minor version just days after the Debian Free Software
Guidelines were accepted, and this release by no means complied with the
new commitments.

We also continued to support older non-complying releases, nor did we
make them unavailable to our users.

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 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

    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

With this document, we, the Debian Project, do so affirm this. We affirm
that while we are working towards complying with a change in the goals
or identity of the Project, or towards compliance with any change to a
foundation document, the needs of our users will be catered to. This may
mean that for a limited time, Debian will not be compliant with the new
Social Contract.

We affirm that whenever a change to the Social Contract takes place, the
activities required to provide ongoing and proactive support for the
Debian user community shall continue. This includes, but is not
necessarily limited to, providing security updates for
previously-released versions of Debian, providing point-release updates
to previously-released versions of Debian, preparing for the next
(compliant) release of Debian, actually releasing the current
non-compliant version of Debian if such a release is imminent (as well
as any further updates to that version of Debian), as well as providing
all the Project's infrastructure such as bug-tracking and mailing lists.

In the specific case of General Resolution 2004_003, since that release
currently in preparation, 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 in the process of reaching compliance with the new
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.


"May the forces of evil become confused on the way to your house."
George Carlin
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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