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Re: A GNU “social contract”?
Re: A GNU “social contract”?
Mon, 23 Dec 2019 17:53:09 +0100
Gnus/5.13 (Gnus v5.13) Emacs/26.3 (gnu/linux)
Mark Wielaard <firstname.lastname@example.org> skribis:
> (It looks like your message never made it to the list, so quoting a bit
> more extensively to make sure everything you wrote is also in this
> On Fri, 2019-12-20 at 12:28 +0100, Ludovic Courtès wrote:
>> Mark Wielaard <email@example.com> skribis:
>> > I agree. But it feels like we can describe this more concise
>> > without
>> > having the explain the exact policy we are following. For example
>> > could we just state here: "The GNU Project prefers to distribute
>> > software under /copyleft licenses/, designed to ensure that users'
>> > freedoms cannot be strip off."?
>> I think such a document has to be self-contained, and that’s why I think
>> it’s good to concisely define copyleft and its intent here.
>> Outsiders reading the document may not know what “copyleft” means; yet
>> we want them to have a good grasp of what we’re trying to achieve.
> Agreed. But I think I didn't explain very well what my concrete
> suggestion was. So this is what I am actually suggesting:
> Replace this text:
> Unless the GNU Project deems that a different choice furthers the
> advancement of free software, all software written by the GNU
> Project is distributed under /copyleft licenses/, designed to ensure
> that developers cannot strip off users' freedom from GNU software.
> With this:
> The GNU Project prefers policies that encourage and enable
> developers to actively defend users' Freedom. Which includes
> distributing GNU software under /copyleft licenses/, designed to
> ensure that users' freedoms cannot be strip off.
OK. (with s/Which/This/)
> This leaves off when/how we precisely define these policies (when not
> to use copyleft, or LGPL or some exception, and when to require
> copyright assignment/bundling or not). But does make clear that the
> first priority is defending user freedom.
I see, especially in light of your other comments about copyright
It seems to me that the wording you propose somewhat softens the
preference for copyleft, though. How about:
The GNU Project adopts policies that encourage and enable developers
to actively defend user freedom. These policies include distributing
GNU software under /copyleft licenses/, designed to ensure that users’
freedoms cannot be stripped off, unless the GNU Project deems that a
different choice furthers the advancement of user freedom.
Anyway, I guess we’re really nitpicking at this point, overall we’re
saying the same thing!
>> I’m aware of this, but it is a policy for copyright assignment to the
>> FSF; it’s not a policy to avoid copyright “held by corporations”. The
>> motivation stated in why-assign.html is that assignment allows the FSF
>> “to enforce the GPL most effectively” and doesn’t mention corporations.
> Right, but the point is to be able to enforce defending user freedoms
> effectively. And leaving copyrights with corporations instead of the
> actual developers or the FSF makes it so we cannot effectively do that.
>> Regarding the pros and cons of copyright assignment, we could discuss at
>> length. :-) However, regardless of what we think of copyright
>> assignment, I believe the social contract should be positioned at a
>> higher level. IOW, I view copyright assignment as a policy issue, and
>> not as a defining principle. (Note that currently copyright assignment
>> is not mandated for new packages, and in practice only a fraction of GNU
>> packages require it.)
> I believe using a copyleft license (and which one), and having a
> strategy to effectively use it to defend user freedom are both policy
> issues. The defining principle is that we favor policies (using
> copyleft licensing) and strategies (keep copyright with the active
> developer/FSF that will enforce copyleft) that maximize user freedom.
Right, that clarifies to me the purpose of the rewording above.