On Mon, Jan 20, 2020 at 01:59:14AM +0100, Mark Wielaard wrote:
> Hi Mike,
> On Thu, 2020-01-16 at 21:48 -0500, Mike Gerwitz wrote:
> > Yes, this is what I meant.  I've volunteered in an administrative role
> > for the GNU Project for a number of years now---with the authority to
> > appoint comaintainers to existing packages---and never has the FSF
> > attempted to exercise any type of control over GNU's governance.
> >
> > FSF does have authority over things we delegate to them entirely, such as
> > copyright assignments and trademark enforcement; system administration;
> > and such.  But that doesn't give them authority over our other procedures.
> Of course, if we got into a "fight" with the FSF that would be pretty
> bad. I don't think anybody wants that. It would be outrageous. But that
> the FSF never needed to explicitly use their authority doesn't mean
> they don't have the final responsibility over the GNU project. And that
> isn't a bad thing. We need each other.

You keep repeating this and it is just not true.

No matter how bad you want the FSF to have oversite of GNU, they do not.
GNU is an organization of volunteers lead of Richard Michael Stallman,
and he has final say on all matters.  the built GNU into its current
form, and volunteers has no authority over its direction or controll,
and neither does the FSF.  If Richard chose to, he could ditch any
participation of the FSF over GNU with a simple proclamation.  Any
Trademarks that the FSF holds would need to be handed to GNU, and
copyright assignments are a formality of law to establish standing if a
court case happens.  But if of itself, GNU is protected in its code base
by the GPL itself.

Furthmore, for good reason is it the case that GNU is run under a single
hand and not a Democracy.  Simply put, GNU makes unpopular decisions
that the majority of coders and corperate entities in the world not only
disagree with, but they would LOVE to just see GNU evaporate, as well as
the entire copyleft community.

When folks volunteer for GNU, they do not pledge there allegence to
Richard personally, they are simply contributing to his vision, which is
clearly encuciated and enumerated.  They no more plegdge allegnce to
RMS's personage then a worker at a bank swear fidelity to the CEO of the
bank.  They are just making a contribution in exchange for some personal
advatage, might it be for recieving gratitude, or just satisfaction of
being involved in something, or for the personal education, or because
they buy into the RMS vision for Free Software, lock stock and barrel.
Regardless of the reward, that doesn't give any volunteer to make any
governing decisions.  Stallman has rightfully alway reserved that for
himself.  It is rightful, because he alone set forth this orgnaizaiton,
and steered it, for over 3 decades.  It is his baby in total.  Attempts
to remove him from it are imorral.

Furthermore, Richard understood from the beginning that GNU would best
be served by NOT requirin the kind of fidelity to himself or the Free
Software ideal, although people are aqusing him of that, and accusing
him wrongfully.

In fact, GNU would take contributions and volunteers from any walk of
life, gender, creed or political orientation in order each its goals.
In order to do that, it would be essential for Richard to retain
governace control.  Otherwise the desenting and diverse volunteers to
GNU projects would indeed corruption the GNU vision from the inside.

and that is where we are current at, BTW.

Folks need to do the right this and put this rebelion to rest and let
richard do his job.

> The FSF is our legal guardian, without the FSF GNU just wouldn't exist.
> And the FSF is a public charity, which means we can rely on them to
> function according to their mission. And their mission is basically our
> mission too! Except that theirs is broader and more philosophical and
> ours is focused on actually producing Free Software through working on
> the GNU operating system. 
> When we release the software we produced collectively the FSF takes on
> some liability. And we should be really glad they do. As a GNU
> Maintainer I have had some interesting discussions years back with
> people at "big corp" who warned me that I should be really sure that
> what I was releasing was "correct" because the consequences for me and
> my employer might not be pleasant if I wasn't (which was double awkward
> because they confused who my employer was just because I was the
> maintainer that accepted patches from others who worked for that
> employer...) It was really nice that I had the backing of the FSF (who
> actually had arranged some discussions with legal counsel to make sure
> we did know what we were doing) and could say that they should contact
> the FSF if they had any "legal concerns" about the GNU package for
> which I was responsible. But that does mean the FSF has to be sure we
> don't do totally stupid things. They cannot take on unlimited
> liability. So they do have a responsibility to monitor our processes.
> Also given that they are a public charity they have a responsibility to
> make sure the activities they support are fair, actually support their
> mission and are for the public good (they cannot "enrich" individuals).
> So again, they do have ultimate responsibility over our procedures.
> > I've had a personal relationship with a number of people at the FSF over
> > the years, including John Sullivan, and I've never gotten the impression
> > that they had desire to exercise control over GNU.  In fact, a current
> > FSF employee is a GNU maintainer, and that employee is treated the same
> > as any other maintainer.
> Sure. The GNU Classpath maintainer before me was also an FSF employee
> and I have always had good relations with various FSF staff members. I
> don't believe any of them wants to exercise control. They all feel
> really responsible for the GNU project. And they just want to work
> together with, enable and empower the GNU volunteers who make it all
> happen.
> Given the new situation we just need to figure out how to do that.
> Hopefully the questions we sent the FSF will clarify how we can proceed
> with that.
> https://lists.gnu.org/archive/html/gnu-misc-discuss/2019-12/msg00026.html
> Cheers,
> Mark

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