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Re: A GNU “social contract”?

From: Mark Wielaard
Subject: Re: A GNU “social contract”?
Date: Sat, 26 Oct 2019 20:01:39 +0200

Hi Ludo,

On Fri, 2019-10-25 at 15:56 +0200, Ludovic Courtès wrote:
> Looking at the form of Debian’s Social Contract, its conciseness and
> clarity, I was inspired to think about a few points that would summarize
> GNU’s mission and workings in a way that would hopefully be rather
> consensual among maintainers (I’d like to draw attention to the six
> headings, not necessarily on the detailed wording.)
> Thoughts?

I do like it. Thanks for just writing up a first draft. The headings
seem pretty good as a starting point:

   * GNU is software that respects the freedom of computer users
   * GNU licenses uphold user freedom
   * GNU is a consistent operating system and set of applications
   * GNU cares for computer user freedom beyond software
   * GNU collaborates with the broader free software community
   * GNU welcomes contributions from all and everyone

Although I wish we could combine some, 6 seems a bit much, 4 would be a
much nicer/smaller number :) Points 1 (freedom), 2 (uphold freedom) and
4 (beyond software freedom) could maybe be merged together somehow?

I appreciate the links to some of the existing documents in the
explanations. But having them in kind of defeats the purpose of a small
and concise social contract that should imho be self-explanatory.

There is one thing I think it doesn't really capture. But maybe that is
on purpose? That is that GNU has grown beyond just being about what the
GNU manifesto originally described. Do we want the social contract to
be about the narrow interpretation of the the GNU operating system, or
about GNU as the core of the Free Software Movement? The first is
definitely easier, the second is definitely harder. It might be that
this will only work if we take as small a definition as possible. But I
think we should try a bit to show it is about a broad movement.

Basically the preamble that talks about GNU package maintainers (what
about all those other GNU contributors!) plus point 3 (GNU is an OS)
and point 5 (the broader free software community) kind of clash.



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