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Effect of GR 2004_003


Because there is some confusion over what the actual effects of the
various options in GR 2004_003 are, I have undertaken an analysis.

Choice 1 (Postpone until Sept 1), Choice 2 (Postpone until after
Sarge), and Choice 4 (revert to old wording), will have no effect on
release policy.  The Release Manager erroneously concluded that
nonfree material could be included in a release [1].  Bruce Perens'
comment about the freedoms expected for everything on a Debian CD, as
well as the near universal agreement on debian-legal attest to the
clear meaning of the DFSG.

I would suggest that anyone who wants the Social Contract to reflect
the Release Manager's previous erroneous interpretation should
introduce a specific amendment that says that.  For example, something
that says that documentation and firmware are explicitly exempted from
obeying the DFSG.

Choice 3 (Apology) will allow Sarge to be released, as well as point
releases and security fixes, since it explicitly exempts Sarge from
the Social Contract.  It will not allow nonfree material to be
included in any following releases.

Choice 5 (Transition Document) will also allow Sarge to be released,
as well as point releases and security fixes, since there is never a
strict requirement for a release to obey the Social Contract at all.
So if Sarge+1 were ready two months after Sarge, it could still be
released with nonfree material.

However, there is an implied promise in Choice 5 that Debian will work
towards making a DFSG-free release.  Because of that, Debian could not
release Sarge with nonfree components that are easy to take out.  For
example, some packagers have already done the work of splitting
nonfree documentation into separate packages, but have refrained from
uploading those packages until this matter is sorted out.  Under
Choice 5, they would be expected to actually do that.  Whether
something is "easy" or not is a decision I would expect to be made by
the Release Manager.  Thus, this should not unduly affect the release
date for Sarge.

Walter Landry

[1] He made another mistake in DFSG release policy in


    but then corrected himself soon after.  We're all human.

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