[Top][All Lists]

[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Re: [address@hidden: What's GNU -- and what's not]

From: Andreas R.
Subject: Re: [address@hidden: What's GNU -- and what's not]
Date: Sat, 8 Feb 2020 11:00:12 +0100
User-agent: NeoMutt/20170113 (1.7.2)


On Fri, Feb 07, 2020 at 01:37:56PM +0100, Ludovic Courtès wrote:
> Thank you Alfred for forwarding this message.  I suppose it was sent to
> a subset of the maintainers since I didn’t receive it.
> > You may have recently received an email asking you to review a
> > document titled "GNU Social Contract" and then to endorse it or reject
> > it.  It does not entirely accord with the GNU Project's views.  It was
> > created by some GNU participants who are trying to push changes
> > on the GNU Project.
> >
> > The message also proposed to "define" what it means to be a "member of
> > GNU", and cited a web page presented as a "wiki for GNU maintainers",
> > It may have given the impression that they were doing all those things
> > on behalf of the GNU Project.  That is not the case.  The document, 
> > the
> > wiki, and the proposed idea of "members" have no standing in the GNU
> > Project, which is not considering such steps.  The use of a domain not
> > affiliated with GNU reflects this fact.
> >
> > GNU package maintainers have committed to do work to maintain and add
> > to the GNU system, but not anything beyond that.  We have never
> > pressed contributors to endorse the GNU Project philosophy, or any
> > other philosophical views, because people are welcome to contribute to
> > GNU regardless of their views.
> I feel sad to see you try to shut down discussion, Richard.

This is an interpretation I cannot derive from the text. What is stated is:
- The ideas presented on the wiki do not accord with the current GNU
- The wiki is not an official part of the GNU project.
He did not ask you to shut down the wiki or stop discussion on the mailing
list. As I read it, he states the opposite:

"People are always free to publish what they think"

>From GKCG: "Please respond to what people actually said, not to exaggerations 
>of their views."

> Formally endorsing a core set of values can only make GNU stronger in my
> view.  It’s also a necessary step to allow some of the project’s
> decision-making to be delegated to maintainers—

These are two different things. There was an informal mandate for the first 
one, which
was then misinterpreted as a mandate to push for the latter.

> you were the one who
> pointed out that maintainers do not currently agree to uphold the
> project’s values, and thus cannot be trusted, and this is precisely what
> the Social Contract is fixing.

But it isn't. As things turned out, a demand for more politics within GNU 
governance was introduced. Then, when naturally an opposition formed and
started asking questions, they were mostly ignored and by and large
those who introduced the notion set their own course without taking any
critical input or showing any willingness to compromise[1].

As an exercise and example of things to come, the drafting of the document
as an example of building trust and showing political responsibility was
a failure.

> I don’t see how telling people to ignore those “GNU participants who are
> trying to push changes on the GNU Project” is a contribution to the
> well-being of the project.

There was no mention of ignoring, just about being aware that the wiki
and those who maintain it were not acting officially within GNU.
> > The wiki that they set up "for GNU maintainers" represents them, not
> > the GNU Project.  People are always free to publish what they think
> > the GNU Project should do, but should not presume it will be accepted
> > or followed by the GNU Project.
> You’re bringing up a key question: what’s GNU, and what’s not?

By design, this can only be answered in a personal capacity. For me, 
GNU is rms's vision of a free (operating) system.
> When you mention “the GNU Project’s views” above, whose views are these?

By corollary of my definition, it's rms's and by proxy those who trust 
his track record of having defended software freedom for longer than the
GNU project has existed. 

That might not be convincing for everyone, but it is an ongoing concern
and so far no one who wants to change GNU policy has given me any
reason to actually trust them.

> When you write that the “wiki […] represents them”, where “them” refers
> to the loosely-defined “some GNU participants”, are you implying that
> “they” are not really part of GNU?  Are you forgetting that the wiki is
> open to all GNU maintainers?

What part of "GNU participants" implies they are not really part of GNU?
If anything he's implying that people might be involved who are not
GNU maintainers but who he would consider part of GNU in spite of that.

> More importantly, what message are you sending to fellow GNU hackers who
> build GNU every day, who _are_ GNU?  That they’ll never be part of the
> process to decide what’s “accepted or followed by the GNU Project”?

Those are two very loaded questions and completely inapproriate in
the current discussion.

> I fail to see a vision for the future of GNU.  What you describe is far
> away from the ambition of building a cohesive GNU Project, with shared
> responsibilities.  

That's a valid ambition, but so far the effort has not been very
convincing to many. Too many questions, not enough answers.

> Many in GNU would like to see it happen and I will
> keep working for it with all the GNU hackers who want to help shape GNU.

That is, of course, your prerogative.

        Andreas R.

[1] with the exception of Andreas Enge (and sporadically Mark Wielaard)
who did seem to want to engage in good faith and showed willingness
to answer questions and suggest compromise.

reply via email to

[Prev in Thread] Current Thread [Next in Thread]