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Re: A GNU “social contract”?

From: Mark Wielaard
Subject: Re: A GNU “social contract”?
Date: Sat, 2 Nov 2019 00:49:19 +0100
User-agent: Mutt/1.10.1 (2018-07-13)

Hi Andreas,

On Fri, Nov 01, 2019 at 06:19:29PM +0100, Andreas Enge wrote:
> 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.

Also not a "native speaker", but it reads very well to me. Thanks.

> Proposal of a “GNU Social Contract”
> This document states the core commitments of the GNU Project to the
> broader free software community.  All current GNU Project members
> have agreed to uphold these values.

This might be nitpicking, but should this be more specific to when
people work on the GNU project, or can be seen as making statements as
part of the GNU project?  Maybe add something like ", while working on
the GNU project."?

> The purpose of the GNU Project is to provide software and systems that
> respect users' freedoms.
> * GNU respects users' freedoms
> We provide software that guarantees to users the four essential freedoms,
> without compromise:
>   0. The freedom to run the program as they wish, for any purpose.
>   1. The freedom to study how the program works, and change it so it does
>      their computing as they wish.
>      Access to the source code is a precondition for this.
>   2. The freedom to redistribute copies so they can help others.
>   3. The freedom to distribute copies of their modified versions to others.
>      By doing this they can give the whole community a chance to benefit
>      from their changes.
>      Access to the source code is a precondition for this.
> All software written by us is distributed under copyleft licenses, designed
> to ensure that developers cannot strip off users' freedom from GNU software.

As pointed out earlier, this should really be something like "We
prefer to...", since there might be situations when we do distribute
under non-copyleft licenses.

> Besides upholding the four essential freedoms, we pay attention and respond
> to new threats to users' freedom as they arise, such as services as a
> software substitute (SaaSS), use of non-free scripts on web pages, mass
> surveillance, digital restrictions management (DRM), etc.

I think these examples are too specific and might not be clear in a
couple of years. The essence seems to be that we are looking out for
our users so the can effectively have the 4 freedoms. If people
technically have free software, but cannot practically exercise the
freedoms they should have, then we should take action.

> * GNU provides consistent systems
> We develop an operating system and a set of applications, in the form of
> GNU packages.  GNU package developers work together to ensure consistency
> across packages.  GNU packages follow the design and development guidelines
> of the GNU Project.
> * GNU collaborates with the broader free software community
> Free software has extended beyond the GNU Project, and we work with
> companion free software projects that develop key components of our system.
> We aim to extend the reach of free software to new fields.
> * GNU welcomes contributions from all and everyone
> We want to give everyone the opportunity to contribute to our efforts
> on any of the many tasks that require work.  We welcome all contributors,
> regardless of their gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, level of
> experience, or any other personal characteristics.  We commit to providing
> a harassment-free experience for all our contributors.

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