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Re: Firmware & Social Contract: GR proposal

Anthony Towns <aj@azure.humbug.org.au> wrote:
> Heh, a FAQ on a website overriding the clear and explicit wording from the
> license itself ("Everyone is permitted to copy and distribute verbatim
> copies of this license document, but changing it is not allowed.")? Who
> would've thought...

What the FSF means by verbatim copying is not the usual English meaning,
but what the FSF means by Software isn't the usual either, so that's not a
particular surprise.  Unlike certain other FAQs, that one isn't clearly
rejected by the licence it covers, and there are examples which show how
the copyright holder approaches this.

> I don't think creating a "Debian General Public License" with the same
> terms as the GPL, but without the preamble, and pretending all the
> currently GPLed stuff is licensed under those terms would be in the
> interests of either our users, or the free software community.

How would it be pretending if it was?

> Yet, our social contract says that the Debian System will be 100% free...

The GPL is far closer to 100% free than a source-withheld hard-to-edit
blob of a program.  At least we can see an easy route to make it 100%
free without losing anything.

Really, this argument feels like a proposal that we shouldn't aim to be
good because we can never be perfect.  It sounds like the popular English
state education system approach in the 70s and 80s, that we shouldn't set
high standards for students because it will demoralise the little dears
when they don't score 100%.  It was nonsense then and it's nonsense now.

Yes, it looks like we're probably not going to deliver 100% on the social
contract with etch.  Life's hard and we need to accept that.  Maybe we'll
want to issue a statement about etch and the social contract, or declare
a lower target for this release in advance, but that's different from
declaring that debian's giving up on our social aims forever so its
developers can feel a little better about this failure.

See http://irascibleprofessor.com/comments-12-21-05.htm for a US-centric
comment about the self-esteem movement.  Revising your mission downwards
is just a different form of failure, more commonly used by share-market
corporations than volunteer projects.  Let's shoot for the stars and we
might get into space as a by-product...
My Opinion Only: see http://people.debian.org/~mjr/
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