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Re: First call for votes for the Lenny release GR

On Fri, Dec 19, 2008 at 05:09:32PM +0000, Matthew Johnson wrote:

> > Yes, that's perfectly fine - and also non-binding, so the 80% of the DDs who
> > didn't vote, the 47% of the voters who voted against it, and the 2% of the
> > voters who didn't read before voting can ignore that position statement and
> > continue doing things just as they were before.

> So... you're saying there's no point at all in such a GR? The GR says
> "we will do X" but even after we pass it we still can't do X because it
> would contravene the SC or DFSG? How is that a useful thing at all?
> What's the point?

The point in *allowing* this is to have a simple system by which the
project's majority view can be expressed.

On Fri, Dec 19, 2008 at 08:20:30PM +0000, Matthew Johnson wrote:
> But... _how_ can it be the case that having the NVidia drivers in main
> (sorry to keep on with this example, but I want something where it's
>  clear whether it meets the DFSG or not) is what the project wants when
> it's clearly going against our foundation documents. There's an inherent
> contradition. The SC says "we won't ship non-free stuff" and the GR says
> "actually we will ship non-free stuff (except we can't really because
> the SC says we can't)". It makes no sense.

In this hypothetical case which is not at all analogous to the complex issue
currently under discussion:  if a majority of voters vote that we should put
Nvidia drivers in main, then your fundamental problem is that you have a
majority of people (or at least, voters) in Debian who think it's ok to put
Nvidia drivers in main.  Your only real choices, then, are to persuade them
that they're wrong, live with it, drive them off, or leave.

The other option you're proposing here, to prevent them from doing what they
want to unless they have a 3:1 majority, reduces to "coerce the majority to
do what you say they should do, even though they don't think you're right".

Do you really think that's a solution to the above pathological scenario?

> NVidia drivers are just a placeholder to illustrate the point. You
> definitely _can't_ claim that they meet the DFSG (but you could change
> it to allow them anyway). However, you do raise something here which
> people may be confusing. A vote that said "we will assume that firmware
> is in source form" is very different to one which says "we don't care
> whether or not it is source form". The former says "we keep the DFSG as
> it is, but we are asserting that they comply unless we can prove
> otherwise" and the latter says "even if we can prove otherwise we will
> change the DFSG so that it is allowed" The former is 1:1 and the latter
> is 3:1. It may be a subtle difference, but it's an important one,
> because it sets precedent for future issues where the difference is not
> so subtle.

I think the difference between the two is that in the former we're blatantly
lying to ourselves about whether we're in compliance and rewarding people
for not providing evidence of non-compliance by giving them a timely release
in return, and in the latter is being honest with ourselves and our users.
I don't see why we should be encouraged to lie to ourselves.

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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