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Re: A GNU “social contract”?

From: Jean Louis
Subject: Re: A GNU “social contract”?
Date: Thu, 2 Jan 2020 21:53:48 +0100
User-agent: Mutt/1.10.1 (2018-07-13)

* Samuel Thibault <> [2020-01-02 21:44]:
> Jean Louis, le jeu. 02 janv. 2020 17:12:16 +0100, a ecrit:
> > * Mark Wielaard <> [2020-01-02 13:43]:
> > > Thanks. Attached is an updated version and a diff with this change and
> > > a few other small nitpicks mainly aimed at making the text more
> > > concise.
> > > 
> > > - Put the introduction text in one paragraph.
> > > - Add "all" users for which the Four Essential Freedoms should hold.
> > 
> > To add "all" users is not necessary, as the freedom zero is very clear
> > that it is for everybody.
> > 
> > See: and where it says:
> > "The freedom to run the program means the freedom for any kind of
> > person or organization to use it on any kind of computer system, for
> > any kind of overall job and purpose, without being required to
> > communicate about it with the developer or any other specific
> > entity. "
> > 
> > Thus "all" users is not necessary, as that would mean nobody is
> > reading the actual freedom, but focus on your "social contract" which
> > is not "social" at all.
> Just to give an example on why we'd want to emphasize "all".
> We have been discussing with RMS on this precise kind of point, about
> accessibility. He first said that accessibility was a "desirable
> feature", but not a priority, and freedom #0 does provide the right
> to run the software, so it was seeming all good already to him, even
> if the software happens to be unusable for some people. He said that
> making a program available, that unfortunately can't be used by e.g.
> blind people, is not hurting them. But that's *precisely* ignoring
> that you can't get completely away from social questions: as a program
> becomes more and more used by a lot of people, it becomes more and
> more mandatory to be able to use it (and not just run it...) in
> order to be able to participate to the society, because not being
> able to use it makes you excluded from that part of the society. The
> UN definition of discrimination does include "denial of reasonable
> accommodation". Eventually accessibility was made a priority on
> just like internationalization.
> I do believe it is important to emphasize "all".

That is more specific, but obviously, not yet enough

To say all in the context as you explained it would bring burden to
developers who did not plan to make it for blind users.

I suggest that any consent to provide software with features for
blind users shall come from individual decisions and participations in

What is not good is changing direction of GNU project, which is based
on individualism to some sort of coercive, imposed "social" contract.

If you wish to make software accessible to blind users, file bugs, or
program it for blind. Don't impose on GNU programmers such
requirement, as everybody is welcome to contribute including those who
did not program software for blind users.


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