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Re: First call for votes for the Lenny release GR

On Thu, Dec 18, 2008 at 08:15:25PM -0600, Guilherme de S. Pastore wrote:
> On Thu, Dec 18, 2008 at 03:14:55PM -0800, Steve Langasek wrote:
> > On Thu, Dec 18, 2008 at 05:54:13AM -0600, Guilherme de S. Pastore wrote:
> > > 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.

> > Enforcement of the foundation documents is not defined in the constitution,
> > so no, this is not a question of constitutional law.

> Avoiding getting too technical about it, it is still illogical. You 
> cannot produce the same effects of an amendment, even though 
> temporarily, bypassing the requirements to an amendment. Creating an 
> exception by means of General Resolution is equivalent to adding a 
> little line to the document stating that "this does not apply to the 
> Lenny release", except for the fact that we leave it in another official 
> document for convenience reasons.

If the effect in question here is the release of lenny with sourceless
firmware included in main, you certainly can get that effect without an
amendment - precisely because under the constitution and in the absence of a
GR to the contrary, interpretation and enforcement of the foundation
documents devolves to the individual developers whose work it touches.

No other body for enforcement of the DFSG is defined in the constitution.
It's up to individual developers to determine for themselves whether their
actions are in keeping with the DFSG/SC, and with the promise they made when
they became DDs to uphold those principles in their Debian work.  No one
else, with the exception of the project as a whole by way of GR[1], has the
power to decree that a developer's understanding of the DFSG is wrong.

Well, I mean, obviously we can all shout at each other on the mailing lists
until the person we think is wrong gives up and quits, too, but that's not
exactly a constitutional power.

This is why having an "interventionist" secretary that decides a priori that
certain interpretations are incompatible with the DFSG is so problematic and
the cause of so much outrage on the mailing lists - because regardless of
whether it's done with malice (which I don't believe it is), the effect is
that the secretary assumes the power to interpret the foundation documents
and his personal interpretation of the DFSG suddenly become paramount.  You
(appear to) happen to agree with Manoj's understanding of the implications
of the DFSG for the lenny release.  That's fine; I'm not going to tell you
that you're wrong to think that.  But that doesn't make it ok for you, or
the secretary, to impose this interpretation on the project except *by way
of* the GR process.

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

[1] ... or the DAM by summarily expelling them from the project, I guess...

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