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Re: Analysis of the ballot options

On Sat, Jun 19, 2004 at 11:43:17PM +0100, Andrew Suffield wrote:
> [This guy is a troll; just rebutting the misinformation so that people
> aren't confused]

Yeah, right.

> On Sat, Jun 19, 2004 at 09:23:05PM +0200, Wouter Verhelst wrote:
> > > On Fri, Jun 18, 2004 at 12:59:33PM -0500, Debian Project Secretary wrote:
> > > > [   ] Choice 1: Postpone changes until September 2004  [needs 3:1]
> > > > [   ] Choice 2: Postpone changes until Sarge releases  [needs 3:1]
> > > > [   ] Choice 3: Add apology to Social Contract         [needs 3:1]
> > > > [   ] Choice 4: Revert to old wording of SC            [needs 3:1]
> > > > [   ] Choice 5: "Transition Guide" foundation document [needs 3:1]
> > > > [   ] Choice 6: Reaffirm the current SC                [needs 1:1]
> > > > [   ] Choice 7: Further discussion
> > > 
> > > Options 1-3 are essentially clones with subtle variations. 2 is the
> > > same as 1, but without the time limit. 3 is the same as 2, but is less
> > > intrusive
> > 
> > Modifying the social contract permanently (as opposed to temporarily
> > overruling it) to address temporary problems is seen as "less
> > intrusive"?
> This is factually incorrect; that is not what option 3 does.



Well, OK. Missed part 2 of that proposal. Sorry; my bad.

The rest of what I said stands, though; I think that modifying the SC to
add an apology is one bridge too far. The Social Contract is a statement
of principles; it should not disvalidate itself. If we cannot follow up
on our principles because they happen to conflict[0], then that is a
problem; but an explanation of that fact does not belong in that very
statement of principles (it should be "somewhere", but not in the SC).
Therefore, I resent the idea that option three would be a "refined
version" of option one and two.

[0] Yes, they conflict. I am aware of your opinion that "having free
software" and "doing what's best for our users" can not conflict;
however, I disagree. Let me explain:
* "Having a distribution that consists entirely of free software" is,
  indeed, good for our users. Many of our users depend on Debian being
  entirely free software; changing that without notice wouldn't be nice,
  so it's better to release only when the distribution is fully free.
* "Having a distribution which actually releases within a decent period
  after the previous release" is also good for our users. Our users are
  not served best by having horribly outdated software in our latest
  stable release; the world changes, and so do software requirements.
  For some of our users (and their number increases every day as the
  "woody" release gets older), stable is already completely useless.
These two are, at this very moment, in conflict. To get a distribution
which is best according to the first argument, we would need to postpone
the release. To get a distribution which is best according to the second
argument, we would need to release ASAP.

The question, however, is not what is "good" for our users (both courses
of action are, depending on the POV); the question is what's "best" for
our users. To answer that question, we have to decide how bad it is that
the software in "woody" is outdated. Some people, including you, have
the opinion that it is not so bad that we should release sooner rather
than later; others, including me and, if I'm not mistaken, Andreas
Barth, have the opinion that the problem with woody being outdated has
now reached the point where it's more of a problem than the problem
where some parts of a stable distribution are non-free. Parts which, I
should note, have not been considered as "parts that should be free" in
/any/ previous release.

> > > Option 5 may in itself be a good idea, but it is essentially
> > > orthogonal here, and worse, it doesn't actually answer the question of
> > > "what do we do about sarge?" - it just says "carry on", which says
> > > "non-free release" if you were expecting a non-free release and "free
> > > release" if you were expecting a free release.
> > 
> > Actually, it says "we reaffirm the previous GR, but it won't be active
> > before the next release".
> This is pure fiction.

I don't see how.

OK, granted, it does not literally say that the previous GR is
reaffirmed. However, I don't think that anyone who would want such a
transition plan would want to get rid of the previous GR. In practice,
if this option is accepted, the previous GR will be accepted as well.

The transition plan does, in practice, also lay out when the changes to
the SC made by the previous GR will be active: when sarge gets out the

To quote the proposed transition plan:

 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.

> > > Option 6 is the other position - that free software is what matters.
> > 
> > Indeed. It also "happens" to be the option you proposed; and you are not
> > listed as seconder on one of the other options.
> Irrelevant.

Not even remotely. You're pretending to offer unbiased voting advice,
which is an outright lie; you are biased towards option 6.

> > If you think some of the options
> > shouldn't have been on the ballot, you should've said so before. You
> > didn't, AFAIK.
> I did, and furthermore you were aware of that (we've had this
> discussion before),

With that phrase, I was referring to the discussion that put the options
on the ballot in the first place, not to any discussion that tried to
remove some (I didn't know (or, at least, don't recall) there had been
one; references are welcome)

> so now you're just lying outright. The conclusion was that a summary
> along the lines I wrote was the appropriate way to proceed, rather
> than removing some of the options from the ballot.

In that case, wouldn't it have been appropriate to ask for approval from
all parties involved, instead of just coming up with something, and
posting that without prior feedback?

> > So, leave it at that, and don't pretend to offer voting
> > advice when all you really do is advocate your own position. If you want
> > to advocate your own position, that's fine, there's nothing wrong with
> > that; but in that case, please say "summary: you probably want 6"
> > instead of this.
> Except that I am not doing that, but rather providing a concise
> analysis of the options available for people who haven't been
> following the discussion.

Yes, but your analysis is biased.

Again, there's nothing wrong with that, but you should either have asked
for feedback from people advocating other opinions, or not have
mentioned any of the options other than those you would like to
advocate. Pretending to give unbiased advice which isn't is worse than
lying in my world view.

     smog  |   bricks
 AIR  --  mud  -- FIRE
soda water |   tequila
 -- with thanks to fortune

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