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Re: call for seconds: on firmware

On Sun, Nov 23, 2008 at 03:13:38PM -0600, Manoj Srivastava wrote:
> On Sun, Nov 23 2008, Steve Langasek wrote:

> > On Sun, Nov 23, 2008 at 02:21:47PM -0600, Manoj Srivastava wrote:
> >>         The constitution does not give release teams the powers to
> >>  override the foundation documents,  so the release team can not ignore
> >>  SC violations.

> >>         I can make a formal interpretation of the constitution, if you
> >>  wish. 

> >   3. Individual Developers
> >     3.1. Powers

> >     An individual Developer may

> >      1. make any technical or nontechnical decision with regard to their own
> >      work;

>         Does that mean I can just ignore the DFSG in my packages, and no
>  one can override that? I don't think so.

No, it means that the *secretary* doesn't have special powers to decide the
DFSG has been violated and a remedy is in order.

We have lots of other structures in place to override developers when we
think they've made a decision that's wrong: the ftp team can remove packages
from the archive; the release team can refuse to release the package; the TC
and the developers can override the decision via the documented processes in
the constitution.  The secretary is not, and should not be, one of the
parties with power to directly override decisions made by developers, no
matter how improper you might think they are.

> > And the DFSG is not a "decision properly made under [the rules of the
> > constitution]" because the DFSG predates the constitution and has
> > never been amended or re-confirmed by General Resolution.
> > (2004/vote_003 only amended the text of the Social Contract, not the
> > DFSG.)  So there's no way that the constitution gives you special
> > authority in disputes over interpretation of the DFSG, either.

>         The constitution has wording on what the foundation documents
>  are, and how they can be overridden. I am interpreting the constitution
>  when it comes to my role, to the best of my ability to do so.

It has language about how the foundation documents can be *superseded*.  If
you had meant to say "overridden", you should have written that when
proposing the GR for 2003/vote_0003, instead of claiming after the fact that
"supersede" implies "override".

The Debian Project did not ratify any statement about the circumstances
under which the foundation documents can be overridden or ignored.  That
doesn't mean overriding the DFSG is *ok*, but it does mean that if you
assert /in your role as secretary/ that a particular action taken by a
developer is a violation of the DFSG or SC and therefore not permitted,
you're legislating from the bench, which harms the integrity of the office
of Project Secretary overall.

> > (Even if it had been ratified by GR, I find the claim that the Secretary's
> > powers include deciding whether a developer is "working against" a
> > constitutional decision to be dubious at best.)

>         I can only say what the constitution does or does not allow, and
>  what powers the constitution confers on people. I have no idea of
>  people are working against the constitution or  not.

Then on what grounds does the secretary, as interpreter of the constitution,
have any authority to say that "the constitution does not give release teams
the powers to override the foundation documents"?  By my reading, the
constitution gives any developer the power to make any decision regarding
their own work, as long as it a) doesn't work against decisions made under
the constitution, and b) isn't overridden by one of the documented

>         Overriding parts of the foundation documents as you please is
>  tantamound to, and generally indistinguishable from, replacing the
>  document (perhaps temporarily) with a new version.
>         When I wrote that proposal, this is what I did have in mind.

When I seconded it and voted for it, it was not.

Steve Langasek                   Give me a lever long enough and a Free OS
Debian Developer                   to set it on, and I can move the world.
Ubuntu Developer                                    http://www.debian.org/
slangasek@ubuntu.com                                     vorlon@debian.org

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