08 October, 2006


Debian Voting Galore

I've crawled out from underneath my Mondo Rescue stone and looked in bewilderment at the various vote messages in my inbox. (It's not quite as bad, I've followed things to some detail passively on private and planet.)

The main questions seem to be:
Here is how I've voted and why:

[ 1 ] Choice 1: Re-affirm DPL, wish success to unofficial Dunc Tank
[ 2 ] Choice 2: Re-affirm DPL, do not endorse nor support his other projects
[ ] Choice 3: Further discussion

[ ] Choice 1: Recall the project leader
[ 1 ] Choice 2: Further discussion

I think AJ is trying to improve things in Debian and that Dunc Tank is one attempt to do so. I believe it is a worthwhile attempt and can understand that he wants to be involved. While I also understand the concerns raised by other people, I believe that only time will tell whether Dunc Tank is in fact good or bad for Debian (I hope it's good). As far as the conflict of interest issue goes, I think it's less than ideal but the smaller evil to keep AJ as DPL whilst he's involved with Dunc Tank. I don't think AJ should run again if he stays involved in Dunc Tank as he is at the moment. I think that we need to consider integrating Dunc Tank into Debian if it is still alive and kicking in 12 months time. (Or to set up something similar as part of the project.)

[ 1 ] Choice 1: Release Etch even with kernel firmware issues
[ 2 ] Choice 2: Special exception to DFSG2 for firmware as long as required [3:1]
[ ] Choice 3: Further discussion

[ ] Choice 1: DFSG #2 applies to all programmatic works
[ 1 ] Choice 2: Further discussion

I believe that we should indeed release Etch as planned even if that means shipping a number of firmware blobs. I do not think that an ongoing exception is appropriate here. If this is still not resolved by the time we want to release Etch+1, let's have an other GR.

I am not sure what "program" really means in DFSG #2 - I've always taken it to mean the software, documentation, fonts and artwork that we ship as part of Debian. It likely has to comprise more than that, but I am convinced there have to be some exceptions:
I believe that these are just two examples of potentially many where 'free' versus 'non-free' are inadequate categories to think in.

Finally, the DFSG are part of the Social Contract and not the other way round. I like this because I value doing the best for our users higher than some rules. The DFSG exist to empower our users - I don't believe that removing firmware blobs from the kernel serves this purpose. That said, we should by all means strive towards free firmware, but I view this as more of an incremental, ongoing task of convincing vendors over time.

* I believe for example that the dispute over Firefox would be best resolved by Debian using the Firefox logo (and name) and the Mozilla folks dropping there requirement for patch review.

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