[Dev] [consensus][due: 2016-06-13]: New version for Parabola Social Contract

Luke Shumaker lukeshu at sbcglobal.net
Wed Jun 8 01:16:23 GMT 2016

On Tue, 07 Jun 2016 19:35:56 -0400,
Luke Shumaker wrote:
> I wanted to see the changes in the actual thing and proposals over
> time, so I made a git repository of the social contract.
> https://projects.parabola.nu/~lukeshu/social-contract.git/

Ok, I have some comments to make after looking over the history.

# What's going on with the official version?                           #

In 2014-2015, Coadde made a series of edits to the official version.
I remember no discussion of the changes.

He did essentially several search/replaces:

 - "Parabola GNU/Linux" -> "Parabola GNU/Linux-libre"
   Ok, I guess. Still, it should have been discusssed.

 - "ArchLinux" -> "Arch" or "Arch GNU/Linux"
   Saying "Arch GNU/Linux" is wrong, it should be "Arch Linux".
   "Arch" is acceptable shorthand after the first use.

Then, a bit over a month ago, Emulatorman made a change, which I also
recall no discussion of.  He changed "our community is democratic in
its essence" to "adhocratic in its essence".  A one-word change, but
quite a significant one!

# Separate contracts for separate operating systems?                   #

Coadde also made a variant of the Social Contract for Parabola
GNU/kNuBSD-fire.  Which is good!  The current Social contract is about
the operating system.

However, I think that the Social Contract should be about the project.
About Parabola, not Parabola GNU/Linux-libre.  This would obviate the
separate contract for the kNuBSD system.  This was part of my 2013
proposal, and is still kind-of present in Emulatorman's proposal.

# "Parabola" vs "Parabola GNU/Linux-libre", "Arch" vs "Arch Linux"     #

Cf. https://wiki.parabola.nu/Nomenclature

Emulatorman had previously remarked that he didn't like saying "Arch
Linux" in it, especially because we say "Parabola" (as opposed to
"Parabola GNU/Linux-libre") in the same document.  I think that
comment is missing the point, and I don't like some of the wording
that results from it.

 - "Parabola" is the project
 - "Parabola GNU/Linux-libre" is the operating system that "Parabola"

I was very careful with the wording in my proposal regarding this.
The current social contract is about the operating system, but my
proposal made it about the project.

That is, "Parabola" as used in my draft of the Social Contract is
*not* shorthand.

In the social contract, we should be as clear and precise as
possible.  The operating system is called "Arch Linux".  It is an
unfortunate name that contributes to the Linux vs. GNU/Linux
confusion, but that is what it is factually named.  Note that in my
wording, I wrote "Arch Linux" the first time it appears within a
paragraph, but simply "Arch" after that.  I believe that this is an
acceptable compromise.

# Name of the operating system                                         #

Cf. https://wiki.parabola.nu/Nomenclature

Related to that, when the Social Contract discusses the operating
system(s) that we make, I don't believe it should do so by name.

The original wording was:
> 4. Parabola GNU/Linux and ArchLinux: Parabola is the free version of
>    ArchLinux.

In my proposal, I changed that to:
> 4.  Parabola and Arch Linux: We will produce an operating system
>     that is a Free version of Arch Linux, and possibly other
>     Arch-based systems.

Emulatorman partially reverted that to:
> 4.  Parabola and Arch**: Parabola is a Free version of Arch, and
>     possibly other Arch-based systems.

Again, if we are being precise, then Parabola GNU/Linux-libre is the
Free version of Arch.

But I oppose saying "Parabola GNU/Linux-libre" in the Social Contract,
because it is overly specific.  The name of the operating system we
make shouldn't be part of the Social Contract; it is an implementation
detail, not an essential detail.

What if tomorrow we decided that it would be better to use a different
libre fork of Linux than Linux-libre?  Should our Social Contract have
to be ammended to allow that?  No, that would be absurd.

# Free Art Movement?                                                   #

I feel kinda silly saying this, but: I'm not familiar with a Free Art
Movement.  And even if I'm silly for that, we shouldn't assume that
the reader of the Social Contract is more informed than me.  And
searching for it yields results that I don't think are related.

I am familiar with the Free Culture movement.  How is this different?

With the Free Software Movement, we have a link to Wikipedia, in case
the reader is unfamiliar with it.  We have details on what that

The same isn't true for Free Art.  It just says "it does not provide
any type of support for non-free art." and tacks on "and art" after
"software."  With no real details.  It references the FSDG for
software, then just says "and art".  What does it mean to "not provide
… support for non-free art."?

# External links                                                       #

The links that are in the contract have been there since it was
created.  I'm not sure I like linking to Wikipedia.  It may change,
and it may not represent the views we want to endorse.

I think that we should instead link to the FSF, GNU, or maybe the FSFe.

Possible links for "Free Software Movement:
 - https://www.fsf.org/about/what-is-free-software
 - https://www.gnu.org/philosophy/free-software-intro.html

I can't find a good link to use for "binary blobs", but perhaps we
should just un-link it?

Happy hacking,
~ Luke Shumaker

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