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Re: On the subject of Git, Bazaar, and the future of Emacs development

From: Richard Stallman
Subject: Re: On the subject of Git, Bazaar, and the future of Emacs development
Date: Wed, 03 Apr 2013 14:07:56 -0400

      But I'm not crystal clear on what it means to be a GNU
    project, other than agreeing to say publicly "We are a GNU Project" and
    be licensed under the GPL.

Making a program GNU software means that its developers and the GNU
project agree that "This program is part of the GNU project, released
under the aegis of GNU"--and say so in the program.

This means that we normally put the program on ftp.gnu.org (although
we can instead refer to your choice of ftp site, as long as it allows
connections from anyone anywhere).

This means that the official site for the program should be on
www.gnu.org, specifically in /software/PROGRAMNAME.  Whenever you give
out the URL for the package home page, you would give this address.
It is ok to use another site for secondary topics, such as pages meant
for people helping develop the package, and for running data bases.
(We can make an exception and put the web pages somewhere else if
there is a really pressing reason.)

It means that the developers agree to pay attention to making the
program work well with the rest of the GNU system--and conversely that
the GNU project will encourage other GNU maintainers to pay attention
to making their programs fit in well with it.

Just what it means to make programs work well together is mainly a
practical matter that depends on what the program does.  But there are
a few general principles.  Certain parts of the GNU coding standards
directly affect the consistency of the whole system.  These include
the standards for configuring and building a program, and the
standards for command-line options.  It is important to make all GNU
programs follow these standards, where they are applicable.

Another important GNU standard is that GNU programs should come with
documentation in Texinfo format.  That is the GNU standard
documentation format, and it can be converted automatically into
various other formats.  You can use DocBook format or another suitable
format for the documentation sources, as long as converting it
automatically into Texinfo gives good results.

If a GNU program wants to be extensible, it should use GUILE
(http://www.gnu.org/software/guile/guile.html) as the programming
language for extensibility--that is the GNU standard extensibility
package.  For some programs there's a reason to do things differently,
but please use GUILE if that is feasible.

A GNU program should use the latest version of the license that the
GNU Project recommends--not just any free software license.  For most
packages, this means using the GNU GPL.

A GNU program should not recommend use of any non-free program, and it
should not refer the user to any non-free documentation for free
software.  The campaign for free documentation to go with free
software is a major focus of the GNU project (see
http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/free-doc.html); to show that we are
serious about it, we must not undermine our position by recommending
documentation that isn't free.

Occasionally there are issues of terminology which are important for
the success of the GNU project as a whole.  So we expect maintainers
of GNU programs to follow them.  For example, the documentation files
and comments in the program should speak of GNU/Linux systems, rather
than calling the whole system "Linux", and should use the term "free
software" rather than "open source".  Since a GNU program is released
under the auspices of GNU, it should not say anything that contradicts
the GNU Project's views.

For a program to be GNU software does not require transferring
copyright to the FSF; that is a separate question.  If you transfer
the copyright to the FSF, the FSF will enforce the GPL for the program
if someone violates it; if you keep the copyright, enforcement will be
up to you.

As the GNU maintainer of the package, please make sure to stay in
touch with the GNU Project.  If we come across a problem relating to
the package, we need to tell you about it, and to discuss with you how
to solve it.  Sometimes we will need to ask you to work with other
maintainers to solve a problem that involves using multiple packages
together.  This probably will happen less than once a year, but please
make sure we can contact you in case it does happen.

For details on all policies and recommendations for GNU packages,
please see the GNU maintainers information, at
http://www.gnu.org/prep/maintain/, and GNU coding standards, at

Dr Richard Stallman
President, Free Software Foundation
51 Franklin St
Boston MA 02110
www.fsf.org  www.gnu.org
Skype: No way! That's nonfree (freedom-denying) software.
  Use Ekiga or an ordinary phone call

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