On Wed, Nov 06, 2019 at 04:06:42PM -0500, Alfred M. Szmidt wrote:
> Is it meant as a short summary of what the GNU project does?  I could
> see how it would serve such purpose, but then it isn't a contract.  If
> it is a contract, who is agreeing to it?  The GNU project? In that
> case, those goals are already written in the GNU manifesto, no?
> What is the exact _goal_ of this text?

I thought I had answered this question in the other thread on Enlightenment,
but you disagree, so I will give a few more explanations on my point of
view here. For me, the GNU Social Contract is a first step towards defining
a governance model for the GNU Project. It summarises the main purpose of
the project, and as such, as you rightfully noticed, its content should
not come as a surprise. I think it should be a necessary (but not sufficient)
condition for stakeholders in the GNU project to take part in its governance.

The term "social contract" seems to lead to confusion. So let me repeat that
it is not meant as a contract in the sense of civil law, signed by two
parties; but as a moral engagement of people invested in GNU (maintainers,
web masters and so on) in their relationship to each other, but also to the
outer world (for instance, users of the GNU system must be sure that they
are getting only free software from the project).

When you mention the GNU manifesto, it is a much longer text, rather of
historical interest, and also a personal account. It is not something
you can give to people and tell them "look, this is our project, and these
are the points you are expected to heed when you join us".

Of course, it is no coincidence if you have a déjà vu feeling when looking
at the proposed GNU Social Contract. It is intended as a base for going
forward with the GNU Project, but of course it takes the existing into


Reply via email to