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Re: First call for votes for the Lenny release GR

On Tue, Dec 16, 2008 at 04:56:47PM -0800, Russ Allbery wrote:
> If you do so, you need to add to the constitution some statement about who
> decides what the foundation documents mean in the context of developer
> decisions, since right now the constititution does not give that authority
> to anyone and hence it devolves to the individual developers doing their
> work, as possibly overridden by a delegate decision or a GR (none of which
> require a 3:1 majority).

Abstractly considered, not pointing fingers at anyone, as usual, the
project overruling a developer or delegate going against the
constitution is by far different from vouching for that move. If a
single developer has a bizarre interpretation of the foundation
documents and violates them in their work, that's one thing. The Debian
Project, through its official decision-making body, the developers, by
means of general resolution, deciding to go against a foundation
document is a whole different issue, and it should be treated like an
amendment, requiring 3:1 supermajority.

It is in the basics of constitutional law. We cannot explicitly decide
not to enforce the text of a foundation document, making an exception to
its application, without reaching the quorum that would be necessary to
excluding that text entirely and forever. For a broader and easier to
understand example, guess what would happen if Congress needed a 3:1
supermajority to amend a country's constitution, but only needed a 1:1
majority to say that "actually, for the next couple of months, you don't
need all this civil liberties crap, and we are suspending it". Which, 
just to make the previous point clearer, is quite different from a 
police officer deciding that document is not worth the paper it was 
written on and disregarding what it states. Social anomaly versus


Guilherme de S. Pastore

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