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Re: GNU - Principles and Guidelines (was: Re: A GNU “social contract”?)


From: Jean Louis
Subject: Re: GNU - Principles and Guidelines (was: Re: A GNU “social contract”?)
Date: Wed, 8 Jan 2020 12:36:27 +0100
User-agent: Mutt/1.10.1 (2018-07-13)

* Andreas Enge <address@hidden> [2020-01-06 22:36]:
> Hello,
> 
> On Mon, Jan 06, 2020 at 04:05:51PM +0100, Andreas R. wrote:
> > Andreas Enge, in response to the difference between a "Social contract" and 
> > a 
> > "Code of Conduct" writes on the 6th of November[1]:
> > "a social contract, which is a "mission statement" and statement of the 
> > general principles 
> > of an organisation, as well  with respect to the inner workings as well as 
> > an engagement 
> > to the outer world"
> > which could be summed up as:
> > - a statement of the general principles of an organisation, 
> > - a statement with respect to the inner workings 
> > - a statement regarding an engagement to the outer world
> 
> maybe my wording caused misunderstandings, but I did not mean the Social
> Contract to be a comprehensive document that codifies our inner
> working;

If not approved by RMS, you are speaking in vain. How about you make
your own free software project, and do it there?

> just as a document that outlines our mission, which then of course would
> have implications on our internals (for example, internally we could have
> documents stating the licenses under which GNU packages may be published,
> but according to the Social Contract, only free licenses would be
> acceptable).

There are enough documents written since decades by RMS that outlines
mission statements.

GNU project was always based on individualism, whereby people
contributed by its individual decisions, regardless of their political
opinions.

"Social Contract" implies collectivism approach where small group of
people who are making the social contract would like to coerce larger
group of people into certain frames or rules, which is contrary to
long term individualism approach.

Would you have guns and liberty to use guns, you would now by lynching
RMS and taking it over. That is what it is about, you are using force,
not consent, you wish to coerce majority into some kind of
"contracts", yet that is not how GNU project works and never did so.

> As it stands, the Social Contract is compatible with different organisational
> structures of the GNU project (having a benevolent dictator for life, a
> committee making decisions, a Debian style bottom-up organisation).

See above question about individualism and collectivism, it is not
compatible.

First, "social contract" has negative connotation from Jean-Jacques
Rousseau. It is bad in its title. See:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_contract and start thinking.

GNU project was not coercive, ever. It is based on individual
decisions to contribute.

> Well, I am not quite sure; as stated above, the Social Contract is
> essentially a summary of the goals of the GNU project, and I think more
> or less everyone working in the project will agree with its content.

I do not agree. It is short, it does not say anything new. It is badly
worded, badly titled. It implies "contract" onto people who maybe did
not agree to it. It brings boundaries, not freedom. GNU project
accepts contributions from everybody, you need not coerce people to
contribute. It is based on individual decisions, not on coercion.

> It has been attacked, as I understand it, essentially by people who fear
> change in the governance structure of the GNU project, on the basis
> that

There is no change in the governance.

Nobody invited anybody to even talk about the GNU governance, you few
people imagined it, it is fantasy. You can speak, and write, but it is
in vain.

FSF did not invite you to talk or propose any governance, and FSF does
not govern GNU project. FSF invited people to comment about relation
between FSF and GNU, that is all. Word "governance" was not a
question, and is not question now.

You are mistaken. You are off-topic.

> Notice that this is not stated *in* the Social Contract itself, but in a next
> logical step would be required, in a document describing the governance
> structure of the GNU project, from the people making decisions for the
> project. In theory, it would make sense to require this even from a bene-
> volent dictator for life (it sounds strange to require something from a
> dictator, but maybe a benevolent one can be expected to follow the basic
> guidelines of their project, even though it would by definition be
> impossible to hold them to account).

Please don't use word like "dictator" when RMS is not a dictator. He
is founder of a GNU project and has final say, just as millions of
other software projects.

Please don't be disrespectful, can you find some better words?

> It is no secret that I am in favour of a bottom-up organisation, in
> which all members of a, say, "GNU Assembly" would be required to
> pledge allegiance to the Social Contract. Initially, I thought of
> the GNU maintainers, but it has been pointed out that more people
> are stakeholders and do volunteer work for GNU, so the exact peri-
> metre of the GNU Assembly would have to be discussed. Conversely, it
> would also be possible to decide that GNU maintainers need not agree
> to uphold the GNU Social Contract (which, in my opinion, makes
> little sense, since it really is very broad and general, but the
> argument has been made during the discussion), but that then they
> would not be part of the GNU Assembly and not have voting rights.

Those are complications beyond limits.

Can you just let people contribute what they wish? They need not
assemble and parliaments and governmental structures. GNU project was
functioning very well before your evil take over attempt and is
functioning now very well, software is disseminated and
distributed. So nothing changed in its function.

Just stop spreading fears, uncertainties and doubts.

Please stop with the strategy to influence perception by disseminating
negative and dubious or false information and a manifestation of the
appeal to fear.

Jean



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