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Re: Proposal - Statement that Sarge will follow Woody requirement for main.

On Tue, May 25, 2004 at 06:10:25PM -0400, Raul Miller wrote:
> > Except the constitution doesn't say anything about pink tutus, and while
> > it does explicitly mention the social contract.

On Wed, May 26, 2004 at 02:17:27PM +1000, Anthony Towns wrote:
> Sure. It says that it's crucial to the project's purpose and we can't
> modify it.

That's not all it says, but that's one of the things it says.

> It also mentions the project leaders delegates, are we to
> presume an implied rule that anything one of them says must be obeyed
> absolutely?

Absolutely?  Of course not.  For example, with a 3:1 majority
we can pretty much change anything we feel like.

> Or how about the DFSG -- it's mentioned in the same spot as
> the social contract; should we assume we have to obey it to the letter,
> rather than treating it as guidelines?

Actually... if we obey it to the letter we would be treating it as a
set of guidelines.  Instead, however, we seem to be obeying the spirit
of the thing [which apparently goes far beyond treating it as a set
of guidelines].

> Does the DFSG apply to everything
> we do as the social contract presumably does, and not just the contents
> in main?

The DFSG are what we use to determine if something is free.

Mostly we are concerned about the contents of main being free,
but other people use it in other contexts as well.

> Does that mean in spite of the recent GR, we're required to
> remove non-free anyway?


> > > Let's put it differently. I think most people in the US would happily
> > > agree that the Bible has been very important to the US historically and
> > > it's very important to many today. They could decide that "the Bible
> > > is critical to America's mission and purpose" -- on the presumption,
> > > perhaps, that its the basis for the morality of a large chunk of the
> > > population -- and declare it a "Foundational Document". Maybe throw in
> > > the Koran or The Art of War too for a bit of variety.
> > This isn't a good analogy because the U.S. constitution doesn't make
> > any such claim about the bible.
> Well, of course it doesn't. We made up the whole "foundation documents"
> thing ourselves -- no one else is going to have the same provisions.

The problem is you're contrasting "X which is part of constitution W"
with "Y which is not a part of constitution Z".

> If the US were to adopt Debian's provisions, is there some reason to think
> the Bible couldn't be a Foundational Document for the US?

That's so nonsensical I can't begin to formulate an answer.

Having the US adopt the Bible as a foundation document would be something
like having Debian adopt the Microsoft EULA as a foundation document.
Theoretically, it could happen, but considering that possibility doesn't
shed much light on the current state of much of anything.

> > > > > > In what way has it "not been made under the constitution"?
> > > > > There's no specification of what we'll actually do with the social
> > > > > contract.
> > > > Except that we're not supposed to work against it.
> > > No, we're not meant to work against the specifications that are there.
> > Why "No"?
> Because the terms of the social contract aren't rules made under the
> constitution, afaics. The _text_ of the social contract is governed
> by rules made under the constitution (viz, "the text can't be modified
> without a 3:1 vote"), but that's it, afaics.

Under is a rather broad category.  You seem to be interpreting it
extremely narrowly.  So narrowly, in fact, that I wonder if the word
has any meaning at all to you.

We made the social contract be under the constitution in the amendment
which introduced the concept of "foundation documents".

> > > > None of this means that the social contract isn't currently in the set of
> > > > "decisions properly made under the rules of the constitution".
> > > Well, you can't prove a negative in that sense, so if that's what you're
> > > demanding, you won't ever be satisfied.
> > Eh?  Are you claiming that I cannot prove that I'm not a marshmallow?
> No, you can't prove a negative of the form "There's no evidence that
> such-n-such is the case." For the case of "You're a marshmallow" there's
> positive evidence that it's not the case that you can provide -- you're
> bigger and not as tasty.

I can prove that the Microsoft EULA does not represent rules made under
the debian constitution.  [The constitution doesn't mention that EULA in
any positive sense, there's nothing froom our leader or any delegates
indicating that this something that needs any special attention, etc.
It's just plain not ours.]

> > Ok, granted, proofs are "convincing explanations" and a person can simply
> > refuse to be convinced regardless of any relevant evidence,
> But there's no positive evidence you can provide that says "This
> isn't a rule under the constitution" for the social contract, any more
> than there's positive evidence that we're not required to wear pink
> tutus. 

Negative evidence can be adequate, if there's enough of it (see above,
about the Microsoft EULA and our constitution, for an example).

> The only way to be sure there's not is to do an exhaustive search
> of everything, but that doesn't form a persuasive argument, because how
> does the reader know that some GR or DPL pronouncement hasn't been missed?

That doesn't seem to be the issue here.

> Which means that the person claiming there is a rule has to meet the
> burden of proof. Seriously, I'm happy to discuss this; but if you want
> proof that there's no such rule, you're asking for the impossible,
> even if it's the case.

Let's settle for "if we are going to disregard the social contract,
what is our basis for doing so, why is that ok, and how is that not
setting aside some part of the social contract for something else?"

> > > But consider it this way: each one of the above, if written into the
> > > constitution explicitly, would result in different ways of looking at
> > > the social contract. Some would be stricter than others. Some mightn't
> > > be that much different from not having a social contract at all. Which
> > > one does the constitution imply? Why doesn't it imply the others?
> > I think you're trying to argue that the social contract should be looked
> > at as a goal we've never achieved (and there's plenty of evidence that
> > we've never fully followed it).
> No, I don't believe that; I think we've always followed it properly,
> including from the moment we first adopted it, and that we should always
> follow it properly. But what I believe isn't really the question: it's
> what the project believes, and what's best for the project.

One of the bests way we have of determining what the project believes
is probably voting.  The other best way is looking at history.  The next
best way after that is probably the mailing lists.

The problem, in all these cases, is that sometimes important
viewpoints get overlooked.

That said, I'm not sure what you mean by "we've always followed it
properly".  If I understood that in a way that makes sense to other
people, I'd probably be way ahead.

This message has gotten too long.  I'm clipping the rest.


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