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Re: true-democratic association & the Ethics Officer's veto power

From: Davi Leal
Subject: Re: true-democratic association & the Ethics Officer's veto power
Date: Sun, 28 Jan 2007 13:59:11 +0100
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Just my current personal opinion. I could be mistaken.

Our options:

 V: Get in contact with RMS to replace the veto power by
    a protocol to remove the GNU part of the name, and
    anything more if necessary.  Delay the Italian
    announcement up to we clear the veto power.

 P: Clearly state that the "Amendment" section of the
    Charter has priority over the "Committee" section.

 ?: any more?

After thinking about it, my vote is for 'V', so solving the problem from its 
base. Anyway, the Charter is a draft yet.

I think this is about:
 * "fear the association will go out of the FS way"
 * "fear others will not join the association due to
    the veto power force to follow the FS way,
    or due to others just will not understand the veto,
    or ..."

I think the association must take the responsability to follow the FS way 

Note: We can delay the reply to the below question:
  "Does the GNU Herds Association want to be part of The GNU Project?."

MJ Ray wrote:
> Davi Leal wrote:
> > We want to be sure the association will follow the FS philosophy for
> > ever, so I think it is good, and maybe necessary, to have an Ethic
> > Officer with veto power, under the three conditions exposed at
> >
> You may think it is good or necessary, but then this association will
> not be democratic.  It'll be just another benevolent dictatorship.

Though the current veto power is restricted only to one subject with three 
points, I think you are right.

> I think an alternative way of being more democratic but keeping the
> FSF rep's veto would be to clearly state that the "Amendment" section
> of the Charter has priority over the "Committee" section.

It is true the website text seems conflicting:
  * "true-democratic association"
  * "the jobsite must be controlled by its own users"
  * "veto power over all subjects related to ... FS ..."

I think the relation of any FS association and the FSF must be close. As you 
says, a relationship of cooperation.

I think such relationship would be good because of I personally would like:
  * The FSF work out the "GNU Business Network" certification,
    which I think maybe could be good for the independence and
    encouragement of the professional development of FS
  * The hosting of GNU Herds be accepted at the FSF hosts.
  * RMS support the project.

My current opinion is that we can not be called a FS association and being 
against the principles exposed by the FSF.

We can add to the Charter the Amendment-Committee priority, and so be able to 
remove the veto power if the events are not as expected:
  * Move the hosting to the FSF.
  * RMS support.
  * The "GNU Business Network" certification is more complex,
    due to there are a lot of work yet do define it,

or we can remove the veto power now, and be confident as association, that we 
want to be a FS association.

After the RMS feedback the project is better about following the FS 
philosophy.  We should always maintain the contact with RMS, though noting 
that he is busy.

> >   Richard Stallman wrote:
> >    "What worries me is the mismatch between the goal of "controlled
> >     by its users" and "following the GNU Project's policies".  These
> >     two goals seem to be fundamentally at odds in spirit.  That
> >     doesn't mean there will be an actual conflict -- but what if
> >     there is one?"
> If there is a conflict, remove the GNU approval, try to resolve and if
> not, then disown, disavow and reboot.  We should not invite people to
> support GNU freely *and* try to lock them down.
> I'm glad that "following the GNU Project's policies" isn't in the
> current draft.  As far as I can tell, those policies are not controlled
> democratically either.

Now, I think that offering the veto power to the FSF was maybe a mistake!. I 
hoped that RMS would accept the project at the FSF hosts quickly and so 
support it.

As you advise, maybe we should explain it to RMS, and try to remove the veto, 
replacing it by a protocol to remove the GNU approval. So solving the problem 
removing its cause.

However, personally, I fear to members who are not experts about FS licensing, 
etc.  They could vote against the principles of the FS philosophy. On the 
other hand, I think the association must take the responsability to follow 
the FS way itself.

> > The current proposal keep the association autonomy except that it forces
> > it to follow the Free Software philosophy. I personally think that is not
> > bad. Anyhow, it is a Free Software Association.
> As you may know, I agree with FSF about Free Software programs, but I
> have disagreed with them on some other topics.  So, the veto scares me
> and I worry that integrity and unabusable operations will mean
> hierarchy and secrecy instead of autonomy and cooperation - I felt
> that was already appearing in the committee model and the anonymous
> posts.  I would be happy to join a Free Software Association but will
> not join FSF at present:

> if GNU Herds are merely a sort of FSF business
> memberships, than that's a turn-off and nothing like the ucol
> announcement which attracted me.

I think GNU Herds can be what its members want to.

> Hope that explains,


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