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Re: A GNU “social contract”?


From: Mark Wielaard
Subject: Re: A GNU “social contract”?
Date: Fri, 27 Dec 2019 23:21:14 +0100

Hi Ludo,

On Mon, Dec 23, 2019 at 05:53:09PM +0100, Ludovic Courtès wrote:
> Mark Wielaard <address@hidden> skribis:
> 
> > (It looks like your message never made it to the list, so quoting a bit
> > more extensively to make sure everything you wrote is also in this
> > message.)
> 
> Oh, weird.

Maybe the moderators were both on vacation. I just got multiple of
your messages to the list.

> > On Fri, 2019-12-20 at 12:28 +0100, Ludovic Courtès wrote:
> >> Mark Wielaard <address@hidden> skribis:
> > Agreed. But I think I didn't explain very well what my concrete
> > suggestion was. So this is what I am actually suggesting:
> >
> > Replace this text:
> >
> >    Unless the GNU Project deems that a different choice furthers the
> >    advancement of free software, all software written by the GNU
> >    Project is distributed under /copyleft licenses/, designed to ensure
> >    that developers cannot strip off users' freedom from GNU software.
> >
> >    With this:
> >
> >    The GNU Project prefers policies that encourage and enable
> >    developers to actively defend users' Freedom. Which includes
> >    distributing GNU software under /copyleft licenses/, designed to
> >    ensure that users' freedoms cannot be strip off.
> 
> OK.  (with s/Which/This/)
> 
> >    This leaves off when/how we precisely define these policies (when not
> >    to use copyleft, or LGPL or some exception, and when to require
> >    copyright assignment/bundling or not). But does make clear that the
> >    first priority is defending user freedom.
> 
> I see, especially in light of your other comments about copyright
> holders.
> 
> It seems to me that the wording you propose somewhat softens the
> preference for copyleft, though.  How about:
> 
>   The GNU Project adopts policies that encourage and enable developers
>   to actively defend user freedom.  These policies include distributing
>   GNU software under /copyleft licenses/, designed to ensure that users’
>   freedoms cannot be stripped off, unless the GNU Project deems that a
>   different choice furthers the advancement of user freedom.
> 
> Anyway, I guess we’re really nitpicking at this point, overall we’re
> saying the same thing!

Yes, I believe we are nitpicking at this point. And we do seem to
agree. But if we are nitpicking anyway, then I would keep it short and
to the point. Shorter is better:

  The GNU Project adopts policies that encourage and enable developers
  to actively defend user freedom.  These policies include using
  /copyleft licenses/, designed to ensure that users’ freedoms cannot
  be stripped off, when appropriate.

But not being a native speaker, maybe this is too short. It is good
that we have this discussion publicly, now we at least have an archive
of the discussions which hopefully explains the background when people
try to interpret it in the future.

Thanks,

Mark



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