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Re: Why does Debian Care about the FSF

On Thu, Mar 25, 2021 at 07:18:35PM -0400, Sam Hartman wrote:
> Debian works with (or at least has worked with) the FSF in the past.
> We've invited people speaking in official FSF roles to our conferences.
> We've had people interact with them in their events and when working on
> maintaining their software and other things.
> Many of us believe the FSF is not creating a safe, welcoming space.
> We believe that they are making a strong statement by allowing rms to be
> on their board , and we hear that statement as inconsistent with
> creating a safe, welcoming, respectful space.
> How does this impact Debian.
> Imagine I'm mentoring someone and they find a bug in an FSF project.
> If it was a bug in a project with an upstream  that created a safe
> environment, I'd probably as a mentor encourage someone to submit the
> bug upstream.
> With the FSF or another project that I don't think will respect my
> mentee, I'm going to focus more on that than getting the bug fixed.
> There are thousands of other cases where this sort of trade off happens.
> One of the big ones is the overall perception of the free software
> community.
> Because the FSF enjoyed such a prominent position in the community, when
> they stumble, at least now, it brigs us all down.
> People experience the FSF and paint all of us with that brush to a
> greater or lesser degree.
> And they should.
> If the larger community doesn't police the organizations that make it
> up, people should take that into account when they decide whether to
> associate with us.
> We are debating whether the FSF has done something strong enough that
> Debian as a whole should ask the FSF to fix it and distance itself from
> the FSF until they do.
> It's appropriate for Debian to consider that as a project because at
> least one side argues that being closely associated with the FSF is
> inconsistent at this time with goals Debian has adopted as a project.
> I think Debian should distance itself.  You may disagree.
> But I hope you can see from my viewpoint why it's a reasonable question
> for Debian as a project to answer.
> Obviously if you view things differently, you can vote your conscience.
This sounds like (and this is really a popular opinion inside and outside
Debian) the FSF is the problem, not just RMS, and it's not clear to me
whether anything will be actually fixed if RMS holds fewers positions
inside FSF.
Opinions of Debian on FSF (or at least on some of its products) and,
especially, FSF on Debian are well-known, maybe it's time to make this
more official.


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