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Re: DFSG#10

* Raul Miller

 > Here's the prior text of the first clause of the social contract:
 >   1. Debian Will Remain 100% Free Software
 >      We promise to keep the Debian GNU/Linux Distribution entirely free
 >      software. As there are many definitions of free software, we include
 >      the guidelines we use to determine if software is "free" below. We will
 >      support our users who develop and run non-free software on Debian, but
 >      we will never make the system depend on an item of non-free software.
 > It's clear to me that the release manager was drawing a distinction
 > between "software" and "copyrighted works distributable in digital form".

  This is what I don't follow.  I've been trying very hard to understand
 how it was logically possible to interpret the old social contract like
 that, with no luck.

  To be able to make the distinction, one would also have to forget about
 the mathematical fact that "100%" refer to the whole thing, alternatively
 concede that we have always violated the social contract by distributing
 "copyrighted works distributable in digital form" (which are not

  The social contract never read "Debian Will Remain 80% Free Software and
 20% Copyrighted Works Distributable In Digital Form (Which Are Not
 Software)", nor "100% Of The Software In Debian Will Remain Free".  As I
 read the old SC, and I can see no other way, it would have had to instead
 read something like one of my above examples for Mr. Towns' interpretation
 to be logically possible.

  For Debian to be "100% Free Software", it first must be "100% Software",

  I'm entirely willing to be educated where I'm wrong.

 > In other words, before the release of the new social contract, there was
 > ambiguity as to which definition of "software" was intended in the DFSG
 > -- the release manager picked the most typical definition, and this was
 > supported in his opinion by historical practice.
 > With the release of the new social contract, it's clear to him that
 > this is not the correct interpretation.  That people are not arguing
 > the opposite reinforces that belief.

  I always assumed that there were no ambiguity, and that the Sarge RC
 policy deliberately violated the social contract on a few select issues,
 in the name of pragmatism.  Not that it was immoral to do so - there was
 not any uproar against it, and my impression was that the developers
 found it to be an okay thing to do while we awaited the talks with the
 FSF to progress and so on.

 > With the release of the new social contract, it's clear to him that
 > this is not the correct interpretation.  That people are not arguing
 > the opposite reinforces that belief.

  Every single one of the GR proposals that's on the table right now
 seems to me to suggest that the meaning -has- changed, and none speak
 of the changes as editorial.  That seems to me as a fairly strong
 indication that people feel Mr. Towns' interpretation to have been the
 correct one.

  Except parhaps the rationale of proposal A, which seems to me to be
 some sort of admission that the proposal itself is not needed except to
 allow Mr. Towns to return to his (incorrect) SC interpretation and thus
 reinstate the (SC-violating) Sarge RC policy.  I would guess that, if
 you're correct in your claim that Mr. Towns has realized that his
 interpretation was incorrect all along, passing this proposal will
 effectively become a no-op.

  I'm reluctant to vote for a resolution that acknowledges that the
 changes made to the social contract were anything but editorial.  I'd
 much rather just override the RM so that the old RC policy is reinstated,
 in the spite of the fact that is violating the social contract.  But I
 guess there won't be a fitting option on the ballot for me..

Tore Anderson

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