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Re: Alternate proposal for Declassification of debian-private archives

On Thu, Dec 01, 2005 at 08:37:18PM -0800, Russ Allbery wrote:

Reordering, trimming.

> Please note that I'm not saying this is a persuasive argument against the
> proposal.  I still haven't made up my mind.  I just think that the change
> in archive policy is a real, substantive change, and diminishing it by
> saying that anyone could join the project doesn't really hold water, IMO.

That's definitely true; at the very least there's a cost to joining
the project (viz, "contribute something to Debian") that's removed if
you let just anyone read -private. I doubt anyone really buys that as
a motivation, but no matter what, it's still a real, substantive change
by any measure.

> I think it's entirely possible that past mail to debian-private has been
> sent with the expectation that it will only be read by people who share at
> least that degree of similarity of mindset.

> Sure.  [Joining Debian] used to be easier.  Maybe it will be somewhat easier 
> again.  But still, that's not the same thing as the general public; [...]

I'm probably going off-topic here, but hear me out. :)

I don't really buy the "same mindset", "different to the general public"
theme: Debian's a fairly varied group of people, including folks from
lots of different countries, different religions, different political
persuasions, different cultures or languages, different sexual persuasions
and whatever else. We mightn't do as well as we perhaps could on all these
diversity things: I'm led to believe we have even fewer black-skinned
folks than we have women, even eg. About the only view that I can think of
that's not represented at all is "free software is worthless" -- but not
even Microsoft takes that view these days [0]. So in all honesty, I think
the idea that the general public isn't properly equipped to understand the
ideas we discuss in -private as well as we are just doesn't make sense.

There's another possible answer: Debian developers probably have a desire
to see *Debian* succeed, not just open source, so -private might be
valuable for strategizing when other free software folks' goals mightn't
match our own. But it's already pretty much not that, when we happily
allow FSF, Red Hat, Progeny, Ubuntu, IBM and HP folks to join anyway.

I was going to say that we do discriminate against non-programmers a
bit; but we're already trying to stop that by making it easier for
documentation types to become DDs.

So, I mean, I agree: the audience for -private is different to "everyone
in the world" and gut reaction says that does raise privacy concerns,
but thinking about it more deeply, I don't think that initial reaction
has as much merit as it seems. Obviously, YMMV.


[0] http://www.microsoft.com/resources/sharedsource/licensingbasics/permissivelicense.mspx

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