> > * The GNU Project and the free software community
> >
> > The GNU project stakeholders are all users of the GNU system as represented 
> > by the FSF. As such, an 
> > FSF-sponsored maintainer for the GNU system as a whole (the Chief 
> > GNUisance) will ensure the GNU Project 
> > adheres to FSF guidelines pertaining to the GNU project in particular and 
> > software freedom in general.
> Two comments:
>   • Users of GNU matter, but they are not, to me, “stakeholders” in the
>     same sense as people who dedicate much of their time building GNU
>     (webmasters, sysadmins, developers, maintainers, etc.).
>     We envisioned the social contract as a connection among all these
>     stakeholders and as a pledge to people outside the project,
>     including users.

I would argue users of GNU are not "stakeholders" *to the same degree* as 
people who
dedicate their time building GNU, but certainly "in the same sense". GNU is not 
simply a product
where consumers would have no say in a company's products other than not buying 

During the early drafts there was some discussion about the definition of 
"stakeholder" but
it proved difficult to establish without being too exclusive and the matter was 

Fortunately another thread called "What is a software stakeholder" was recently 
created to address the problem directly.
DJ Delorie quoted a wikipedia page about project management which had the quote 
"Think broadly about stakeholders. 
This is good project management practice."

If any project should think broadly about stakeholders, it should be GNU, 
because its goal is not strictly a 
technical feat.

Those who deploy GNU, or advocate GNU, or even simply run GNU have a direct 
stake in the project, because 
GNU is not just a product. If the social contract is about fairness in 
governance, everybody stakeholder 
should be represented to a degree.

Finding a precise and generally acceptable definition of "stakeholder" might be 
one of the things that
is holding back adoption and acceptance of this document.

As far as I'm concerned, rms has always represented me in the GNU project. He 
is the one I could contact
directly with any concerns or questions.

After he stepped down from the FSF, he told me to trust the FSF. Having known 
of Alexandre Oliva's 
track record for a long time, this was not hard to accept.

If someone wants to restructure GNU governance and abolish the role of the 
Chief GNUisance and
cut out the FSF, something needs to replace that implicit chain of trust.

No design of new governance so far has addressed the implicit chain of trust to 
any satisfaction, and those in favour of
restructuring have given me no reason to trust them, but even if they had, 
there's no oversight
that guarantees the new governance structures wouldn't be corrupted from the 
inside over time. And 
given the scope of the GNU project, "over time" isn't measured in quarterly 
goals, but centuries,
if not millenia; it is, or should be, part of the future of our species.

It's fair to discuss governance of the GNU project in a post-rms era. It's not 
fair to say "Trust us, we
know what we're doing. We're the good guys."

Having to trust rms is a historical necessity and a fluke. We're lucky it 
turned out okay-ish. I agree relying
on flukes is not a solid plan for the future, but any replacement plans should 
address all aspects
of what he represents.

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