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Re: A GNU “social contract”?

From: Andreas Enge
Subject: Re: A GNU “social contract”?
Date: Sat, 2 Nov 2019 09:56:21 +0100
User-agent: Mutt/1.12.1 (2019-06-15)

On Sat, Nov 02, 2019 at 12:49:19AM +0100, Mark Wielaard wrote:
> > 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."?

I think it is implied, but why not. Actually, I made a few more changes
that I did not comment on in my previous message. Here I also replaced
"GNU maintainers" (if I remember well) by "GNU Project members"; it had
been pointed out that there are quite a few more people working on GNU
in a position of responsibility (committee work, examination of new package
proposals, website, and so on), so one would expect all of them to work
the GNU way. Actually also individual contributors in their work on GNU.
So I broadened the stakeholders expected to heed the document, and indeed
then it is less clear that this only refers to their maintainer role, for
instance. So maybe a bit shorter, add "in their work on GNU"?

Indeed the rules should not forbid anyone to write non-free software outside
of the project, for instance. Although the more visible someone is as a
representative of GNU, the more stringent the implied requirements should be;
but this cannot be written down in detail in a document about our principles.

> > 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.

Is this true for GNU packages? Do you have an example? I thought it only
applied to third-party software that is considered as part of the GNU

> > 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.

So you would drop this paragraph, or just the examples?


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