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Re: The General Public Licence (GPL) as the basic governance tool

From: Alfred M. Szmidt
Subject: Re: The General Public Licence (GPL) as the basic governance tool
Date: Sun, 23 Feb 2020 17:18:02 -0500

   > That's just the tip of a very large iceberg.  I know it, you know it,
   > and every GNU maintainer knows it.  When we get appointed, we receive
   > a 1000-word message from RMS with some quite non-trivial instructions,
   > including, but not limited to, a pointer to maintain.texi as the place
   > to find specific policies and guidelines that are mandatory to follow.
   > That is what I alluded to when I said "maintaining a GNU project
   > according to the guidelines".  I don't know how things are on your
   > plate, but for me following those guidelines takes most of my free
   > time, and requires some non-trivial efforts.

   Of course, but these are mostly technicalities.  Richard’s point here is
   that we’re expected to do nothing beyond following those policies, and
   even the guidelines can be sidestepped.

That isn't at all RMS's point, you know that quite well.  It has
always been encouraged to go further supporting the GNU project, but
that is quite different than forcing people to hold those values.

   >> The GNU Social Contract is about changing that. 
   > How can you change that if the document is voluntary?

   Endorsers will know what to expect from each other and people who work
   with them will have a clearer picture, too.

That is already documented in the various documents that we as GNU
maintainers agree to when we are apointed.

     The goal of this document is to state the core values GNU maintainers
     and uploaders and contributors who have endorsed it are committed to
     uphold.  It is both an agreement among us, GNU contributors, and a
     pledge to the broader free software community.

The GNU project doesn't force anyone to adher to a specific set of
values, so it isn't really your place to decide what those values are
for GNU maintainers.

   If you and I both state our commitment to upholding that set of values,
   then we have something in common that we can build on.  We know we’re on
   the same page.

The commitment is to work on the GNU system.  Not to share the same
set of values -- the GNU project encourages anyone to join, not just
people who agree with each other.

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