On Thu, Nov 07, 2019 at 02:58:42PM -0500, Alfred M. Szmidt wrote:
>    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".
> That is what we did when the the project was started, that is what we
> did for many many many years after.  That is infact how I learnt what
> GNU was, does, how to get involved, and more importantly _why_
> (something your summary completely lacks).  How has that changed so
> fundamentally that the founding document of this project is now
> something you cannot give people to read?

Please do not twist my words in my mouth; I did not say we cannot give
this to people to read. I said it is not the type of document that GNU
stakeholders can pledge to, or that we can give to the public as explaining
our commitments. Let me give a few random quotes and it should be clear
why (apart from its length):

"Why I Must Write GNU" - I do not know, do GNU stakeholders need to write GNU?
Maybe they want to. Or they want to moderate a mailing list. What would this
mean as a pledge? Who is "I", actually, apart from the historical author?
"I am asking computer manufacturers for donations of machines and money."
Not something that it would be meaningful to sign as a new GNU maintainer,
"So far we have an Emacs text editor with Lisp for writing editor commands,
a source level debugger, a yacc-compatible parser generator, a linker, and
around 35 utilities."
You who spent a certain time trying to take apart our text, comparing wording
of the fourth point with a similar sentence in the kind communication guide-
lines and complaining that they were not exactly the same, would certainly
frown at sending this out to new people joining, given how wrong it is now?
As I said above, it is a historical document.
Also, there is no need to mention Unix, as the manifesto (in its historical
situation) does to great lengths; since GNU/Linux is working well, all
proprietary Unices are essentially dead, since about 20 years ago I would
guess. So only we elderly people still know what a "Unix" is, and it is
not important any more.

Anyway, it is idle discussing the social contract with you, since you are
fundamentally against it, and then you advance fallacious arguments going
in circles.
First, you claim that no special commitment is required from maintainers,
which may be true currently.
I reply that to remedy this, we are working on a social contract that
maintainers are expected to commit to.
Second, you claim that nothing of this is new, since it can be scraped from
various parts of the GNU website.
Then I reply that what is new is that we are working on a (short) document
that GNU stakeholders are expected to commit to, that distills the essentials
of what GNU is about.
Third, you claim that no special commitment is required from maintainers.
(da capo ad libitum)
So either, nothing is new; then why this resistance to having people commit
to it? Or it is new, then why the resistance to writing it?

>From what I understand, you are opposed to a self-organised GNU Project and
instead prefer an organisation where Richard Stallman takes all decisions at
his own discretion, without being accountable to anybody, contributors to the
project and users alike. This is a possible position, but which is indeed
contrary to the purpose of the social contract. So instead of claiming not
to understand the goal of the social contract, it would be intellectually
more honest to state that you are against the goal. After which, there is
indeed little point in continuing the discussion.


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