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Re: A GNU “social contract”?

From: Andreas Enge
Subject: Re: A GNU “social contract”?
Date: Fri, 1 Nov 2019 18:19:29 +0100
User-agent: Mutt/1.12.1 (2019-06-15)

Hello all,

attached is a new proposal; I am not using org-mode and I am not a native
speaker, so bear with me for any mistakes.

On Fri, Nov 01, 2019 at 12:04:13PM +0100, Ludovic Courtès wrote:
> > "The purpose of the GNU project is to provide an entirely free operating
> > system."
> To better match reality, I would write: “… to provide an entirely free
> operating system and free applications.”
> Or: “… is to contribute to an entirely free operating system and to
> develop applications.”
> Regarding “free” and the fact that it’s not defined yet, I would
> actually rather write: “… is to develop an operating system and
> applications that respect user freedom.”

These are good points. I wrote "that respect users' freedom" everywhere,
and spoke a bit more vaguely of "systems", as well as dropped all references
to computers. Given that the document is aimed to be valid longterm, there
should indeed be some opening for future projects. For instance, providing
a free system for smartphones might be the next big project; this seems to
be the area where currently we experience the biggest restrictions of our
daily life when we want to limit ourselves to free software. And while this
is, strictly speaking, covered by "operating systems for computers", I
wanted to avoid to sound too specific like "GNU/Linux for 'traditional'
computers". Also, there is the topic of free hardware. Why this does not
seem to be something that we can tackle currently, it might be an option
and entirely reasonable in a few years from now. And I would argue it can be
within our mission statement (also given that the boundary between soft- and
hardware becomes quite blurry).

Then, as discussed, I merged the points 1, 2 and 4.

Unlike discussed so far, I rewrote parts in my personal style:
- I replaced most occurrences of "the GNU Project" by "we", to emphasise
  that this is indeed a commitment by us towards our users.
- As I like snappy text, I shortened things quite a bit and occasionally
  left out the rationale for a paragraph.

Everything is of course up for debate, amendments, reversals, in short:


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