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Re: Turning GNU into a bottom-up organization

From: Samuel Thibault
Subject: Re: Turning GNU into a bottom-up organization
Date: Thu, 24 Oct 2019 22:50:45 +0200
User-agent: NeoMutt/20170609 (1.8.3)

Alfred M. Szmidt, le jeu. 24 oct. 2019 16:31:41 -0400, a ecrit:
> > Alfred M. Szmidt, le jeu. 24 oct. 2019 15:33:51 -0400, a ecrit:
> > > > > The GNU project is not a porject that is suitable for a bottom-up
> > > > > organization -- its mission, and only mission, is to see that the GNU
> > > > > system is and keeps being free software.  This has been explained
> > > > > ample of times.
> > > >
> > > > I don't see how bottom-up cannot get this. How different is this from
> > > > Debian in that regard for instance?
> > > 
> > > Debian renegaded on their goal of being a 100% free software system,
> > > they now include non-free software.
> >
> > What is called "Debian" does not include the non-free archive, that
> > archive is not enabled by default, the user has to make an explicit
> > action to enable it.
> Debian clearly

That's your view. My view is that when I burn a Debian CD, on it there
is only free software and links to non-free software (which is *not* on
the CD). And that is what the Debian social contract allows.

There is no point in arguing more here, that has been done at lengths
elsewhere and we won't get any agreement on that anyway.

What is important here is this:

> And that is the exact type word wiggling that we shouldn't accept
> here, and the exact reason why this project is run the way it is run.

And that is where a social contract would allow to enforce it, without
the need for stubborn governance which hurts in other ways.

> > > And I've been involved for 30 years...
> >
> > That's irrelevant.  You can't say that it has worked for 30 years,
> > when I have seen issues for at least 8 years, which is already too
> > long (and these issues may have crop up before I have been
> > involved, I can't say, that's what I meant).
> I haven't seen any of these issues,

Well, I have seen them.

> what I have seen is people trying to remove the protections we have
> from being turned into a project that would start accepting non-free
> software.

That can be enforced by a social contract.

> Saying that someones experience is irrelevant is also not the nicest
> way of a disucssion, you raised the amount you've been involved, and I
> did not ignore that.

The way you expressed it made me think on the contrary that you were
sweeping it. I said it is irrelevant because it's not because you have
not seen issues for 30 years that they don't exist, and in particular
when I say I have seen some for 8 years.

> We don't promote non-free software, we don't host non-free software,
> so clearly things have worked for 30 years where they have not for
> Debian.

The goals were different. In the Debian case it was written in the
social contract right from its writing in 1997 that it provides
infrastructure for non-free packages. So you can't say "things didn't
work" for Debian: it worked the way it was written in the social
contract. The main archive of Debian does not contain non-free software,
only mentions to it (which is what the social contract allows).

> And the reason for that is the strong stance against non-free
> software, and dedication from RMS on the subject.

And a social contract can provide this as well.

Stubbornness can also, but it is also detrimental for other parts of the
GNU project.


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