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Re: GNU - Principles and Guidelines


From: Mike Gerwitz
Subject: Re: GNU - Principles and Guidelines
Date: Sat, 04 Jan 2020 00:19:12 -0500
User-agent: Gnus/5.13 (Gnus v5.13) Emacs/27.0.50 (gnu/linux)

On Fri, Jan 03, 2020 at 22:55:04 -0500, DJ Delorie wrote:
> Mike Gerwitz <address@hidden> writes:
>> The FSF does provide essential resources for the GNU Project, but it has
>> no say in how the project is governed.  Those decisions must be made by
>> rms.
>
> It's important to remember that one of the "essential resources" is the
> GNU trademark itself, which means that the FSF has the final say over
> who/what can use it and who/what cannot.  While this "say" is typically
> ceded to RMS, that is at the FSF's sufferance, legally.
>
> So - worst case - the FSF could revoke RMS's permission to use the GNU
> trademark and effectively remove him from the GNU project.  I don't ever
> expect this to happen (and hope it doesn't) but I'm not going to agree
> that the FSF has "no say in how the project is governed" when they
> legally/effectively have the power to choose the leader.

What you are describing is holding the GNU Project hostage, against its
will---a hostile takeover.  That isn't governance.

> Perhaps remedying this is something that could be added to the
> governance discussion - how the GNU leader is chosen, what powers the
> FSF is required to cede, and how to enforce those.

Discussions of how to mitigate potential legal issues related to
Copyright, the GNU trademark, hosting, funding, etc are certainly worth
discussion.  Even though I have confidence in the FSF today, maybe
something will change a decade from now.

But those issues are entirely separate from governance.

-- 
Mike Gerwitz

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