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Re: about the GNU promise
Re: about the GNU promise
Mon, 10 Feb 2020 09:42:39 +0300
* Ludovic Courtès <email@example.com> [2020-02-09 23:39]:
> Hi Benno,
> Benno Schulenberg <firstname.lastname@example.org> skribis:
> > Anyway... I've carefully read https://wiki.gnu.tools/gnu:social-contract
> > (Last modified: 2020/01/22 11:55), and here are my comments.
> Thanks for taking the time to read it and to comment it.
Benno and others shall take into consideration that the website
gnu.tools is not authorized by GNU project, and that GNU project
already rejected the "Social Contract", and that Ludovic Courtès is
not authorized to speak on behalf of the GNU project.
> > Please don't call the document a Social Contract. The first sentence says:
> > "These are the core commitments of the GNU Project...". In other words:
> > these are promises. A better title for the document would be:
> > The GNU Promises
> I agree these are promises. I personally find the name “Social
> Contract” clear, but perhaps the context is missing: it is a reference
> to Rousseau’s Social Contract¹, and the phrase has since been used
> broadly to designate documents that are a collective pledge or set of
> promises (an example is Debian’s Social Contract).
> I think “social contract” accurately defines the document, but “GNU
> Pledge” or similar would also work I guess, although it does not have
> the nice effect of making it clear that it’s a social construct.
> ¹ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_contract
The context of Jean-Jacques Rousseau's "Social Contract" does not fit
into GNU project. GNU project is about free software philosophy and
does implies liberties for users. Jean-Jacques Rousseau's "Social
Contract" is about taking away liberties from citizens and applies
methods of running governments. GNU project is private, founded by and
governed by RMS and delegation given by RMS to other people, and is
not a governed by users or citizens.
Number one, I am trying here to clarify it, so that public does not
get further deceived by Courtès writings -- so by priority, this is
not a "social" contract in any sense, as Ludovic is coercing the
specific society to agree to set of policies his small group is
imposing onto others -- thus it is not a "social", and also not in the
sense how Jean-Jacques Rousseau envisioned it.
"Rousseau begins The Social Contract with the notable phrase "Man is
born free, but everywhere he is in chains." Because these chains are
not found in the state of nature, they must be constructions of
convention. Rousseau thus seeks the basis for a legitimate, political
authority in which people must give up their natural liberty."
GNU project was never about making any kind of political authority
over people, and it is and never will be imposing to people to give up
their natural liberty.
Thus in the context of Jean-Jacques Rousseau's "Social Contract",
people reading the non-authorized writings of Ludovic Courtès shall
know what he actually wants -- for people to give up their liberties
to do, to speak, to be what they want to be, while contributing to the
Comparison of 2 different stances between GNU and Ludovic Courtès:
GNU project's stance is that everybody is welcome to contribute
regardless of who they are, what they speak in public, what they are
in their private lives.
Ludovic Courtés "Social Contract" would like to coerce people to
behave nicely, so for him, it would be so that small group of people
who have decision powers and who are controlling the "Social Contract"
would then be deciding who have breached the "contract" and who
not. For example, of person like RMS would defend his friend at campus
to be innocent, and if media would pick it up to sell news for money,
he would like to expell such person for "bad behavior". Ludovic
already declared publicly his intentions.
But RMS by contrast, does not expell Ludovic Courtès for his indecent
public shamings of the RMS and the damage to GNU project. This is
because the purpose of the GNU project is more important than the
behavior of its participants, because distribution of free software is
more important than the behavior of its participants.
By contrast "Social Contract" would like to police the behavior of its
participants, but that was never the stance of GNU project, it is
contrary, GNU project allows participants to do what they wish and
will never publicly shame them -- unless they are proprietary software
vendors or otherwise companies or proprietary software producers
stamping onto the freedom.
"Rousseau asserts that the establishment of government is not, as
philosophers such as Hobbes and Grotius have argued, a contract. The
sovereign employs the government as a representative of the people in
charge of carrying out the general will. The sovereign thus can alter
the form of government and replace its leaders as it chooses. "
Ludovic Courtès stance is following, because he and his few people who
support him, think that RMS have done something wrong, it is in their
"authority" to expell the RMS, so for this reason, to ensure that it
becomes possible in future to expell people from GNU project, they are
making up their "social contract". This is because the "sovereign"
society should be able to replace its leaders.
But RMS is not a leader of any citizens, he is founder of the GNU
project, and GNU project is not a government, and is not representing
people's will. If RMS would be representing people's will, he would
probably now be CEO of Apple or something like that, and even that
would not be people's true will, it would be artificially imposed
will, as Apple does marketing to cause people to agree with Apple, so
that they can sell more of abusive iPhones -- then one can say, that
is what people want.
Definition of the word "usurpation" from WordNet:
* Overview of noun usurpation
The noun usurpation has 2 senses (no senses from tagged texts)
1. trespass, encroachment, violation, intrusion, usurpation -- (entry to
another's property without right or permission)
2. usurpation -- (wrongfully seizing and holding (an office or powers) by force
(especially the seizure of a throne or supreme authority); "a succession of
generals who ruled by usurpation")
GNU project is not governed by society, yet members of society are
free to contribute to GNU project.
What Ludovic Courtès and few of his supporters are doing is usurpation
of the GNU project, they would like to hold power in GNU project. They
are making meetings how to do that, making public statements,
wrongfully and fraudulently misrepresenting the GNU project and thus
deceiving the public.
> > to new threats to users' freedom as they arise." I applaud an organization
> > that takes it upon itself to respond to such threats, but I as an individual
> > maintainer cannot and will not make any such promise.
> Right, I think this is a collective pledge: this is what we members want
> the project to promise. Do you think the individual/collective
> distinction needs to be clarified?
It is not collective pledge, as that text is not made by
collective. The "Social Contract" by Ludovic Courtès implies coercion
over other people, which is contrary to anything that GNU project was
promoting in its philosophy.
Contributors to GNU project are individually deciding to contribute,
thus GNU project by its principles is on ground of "individualism" and
There are fewer groups and projects in this world based on
individualism and GNU project is one of those.
GNU project considers individual decision making. It does not impose
neither coerce onto individuals any decisions or rules. It gives to
individuals a chance to decide themselves.
> > It continues: "which works with companion free software projects that
> > develop key components of the GNU System". Oof... Who are those
> > "companion free software projects"? How can such projects "that
> > develop key components of the GNU System" not be part of the GNU
> > project itself? In short: what does this want to say? Where is the
> > promise here?
> The goal is to acknowledge that GNU is not the only free software
> provider, and that the GNU Project (socially) and the GNU System
> (technically) has to work with these other free software projects.
> The promise is that of working hand in hand with free software projects
> that are natural allies and/or develop tools that GNU relies on. It’s
> about being a “good citizen.”
""We Shall Force them to be Free."
Rousseau's famous statement in The Social Contract has been called
into question by a number of critics who believe that the idea of
"force" negates the requirement that a contract be entered into
voluntarily. Contract theory - as distinct from social contract theory
- permits individuals to abstain from entering into a
contract. Rousseau, however, holds that even individuals who disagree
with elements of the social contract must nevertheless agree to abide
by it or risk punishment. This perspective, however, ignores the fact
that social contract theory is more of a philosophy than an actual
contract, and is thus not held to the same standards. "
Contrary to that, GNU project never forced people to be free, it gave
the philosophical foundation for free software, and individuals
decided themselves to join, participate, distribute, study, program
the free software. GNU project has its free software philosopher which
is Dr. Richard Matthew Stallman, and other contributing free software
philosophers -- and need not abide to any "context" of the middle aged
Jean-Jacques Rousseau's philosophy that damages individual freedoms.
> There’s been several occasions in the past where GNU drove away some of
> its allies, or was perceived as failing to acknowledge the technical
> importance of other free software components. As I see it, this promise
> is a way to rectify that.
You are free to contribute to any of those projects. Yet, please stop
coercing people and deceiving people.
> WDYT? Can you think of a way to reword it to clarify this?
> > And then: "The GNU Project aims to extend the reach of free software to
> > new fields." Huh? What new "fields"? Again: what is the promise here?
> > Is it that we intend to assimilate everything?
> The idea I think is that GNU is not tied to a specific set of
> application domains and includes packages of any field—compilers,
> astronomy tools, math software, etc.
It was never tied, and please do not introduce fears, uncertainties
Best would be that you found your own free software project, and
continue with your social projects, but stop with disrespect and
misrepresentation of the GNU project.
For example, you can call your free software project "Ludofree" and
make your domain ludofree.tools and promote your free software.
But stop with usurpation of the GNU project, as you are not authorized
to speak on behalf of it.
> There probably lacks a transition from the previous sentence though.
> Any wording you would suggest?
What Ludovic is here basically asking, and he is intelligent, is for
people to participate in the usurpation of the GNU project, and he
knows it well.
Any time this small group of people get a comment on their social
contract that means that they are getting more and more kudos on the
splitting and division of GNU project.
As Ludovic Courtès Social Contract was already rejected by RMS, best
would be to stop that discussion on this mailing list, it is not
Ludovic can setup his own mailing list and speak what he wish, but
using this mailing list for the usurpation of the project is
disrespect and using resources of GNU for his middle aged French
philosophical purposes on how to coerce community into his mind frame.
> > The fourth section says: "The GNU Project wants to give everyone the
> > opportunity of contributing to its efforts..." To me this sounds as if
> > the GNU project will not put any hurdles and conditions in people's way
> > before they can contribute. But in practice the GNU project requires
> > that significant contributors sign a copyright assignment, and that
> > translators sign a copyright disclaimer. I think that these two things
> > make the GNU project quite unwelcoming to possible contributors. So,
> > in my opinion, that sentence is rather untruthful.
> Note that copyright assignment has always been optional; a number of GNU
> packages do not have copyright assignment at all, but for those that do,
> contributors are indeed required to sign an assignment form.
> To me this is more of a policy issue and beyond the scope of this
> Thanks for your feedback! I guess we’ll incorporate some of your
> suggestions in the coming days. (Note that the wiki contents can be
> accessed through Git:
I am sorry, but your "incorporating" of some of the suggestions, are
not authorized by GNU project, and please stop speaking like you are
Re: [Hangout - NYLXS] about the GNU promise, Alexandre François Garreau, 2020/02/14
- about the GNU promise, Benno Schulenberg, 2020/02/05
- Re: about the GNU promise, Alfred M. Szmidt, 2020/02/05
- Re: about the GNU promise, Kaz Kylheku (gnu-misc-discuss), 2020/02/05
- Re: about the GNU promise, Jean Louis, 2020/02/06
- Re: about the GNU promise, Mark Wielaard, 2020/02/08
- Re: about the GNU promise, Ludovic Courtès, 2020/02/09