General Resolution: Editorial amendments to the social contract

Time Line

Proposal and amendment January, 2004 March, 2004
Discussion Period: Sunday, March 28th, 23:59:59 UTC, 2004 Sunday, April 11th, 23:59:59 UTC, 2004
Voting Period Sunday, April 11th, 23:59:59 UTC, 2004 Sunday, April 25st, 23:59:59 UTC, 2004


Andrew Suffield []


  1. Chad C. Walstrom []
  2. Remi Vanicat []
  3. Steve Langasek []
  4. Branden Robinson []
  5. Jochen Voss []


Expanded explanation of these amendments is available; the actual text of the GR is:

The Social Contract text shall be replaced with:

1. Debian will remain 100% free

We provide the guidelines that we use to determine if a work is "free"
in the document entitled "The Debian Free Software Guidelines". We
promise that the Debian system and all its components will be free
according to these guidelines. We will support people who create or
use both free and non-free works on Debian. We will never make the
system require the use of a non-free component.

2. We will give back to the free software community

When we write new components of the Debian system, we will license
them in a manner consistent with the Debian Free Software Guidelines.
We will make the best system we can, so that free works will be widely
distributed and used.  We will communicate things such as bug fixes,
improvements and user requests to the "upstream" authors of works
included in our system.

3. We will not hide problems

We will keep our entire bug report database open for public view at
all times. Reports that people file online will promptly become visible
to others.

4. Our priorities are our users and free software

We will be guided by the needs of our users and the free software
community. We will place their interests first in our priorities. We
will support the needs of our users for operation in many different
kinds of computing environments. We will not object to non-free works
that are intended to be used on Debian systems, or attempt to charge a
fee to people who create or use such works. We will allow others to
create distributions containing both the Debian system and other
works, without any fee from us. In furtherance of these goals, we will
provide an integrated system of high-quality materials with no legal
restrictions that would prevent such uses of the system.

5. Works that do not meet our free software standards

We acknowledge that some of our users require the use of works that do
not conform to the Debian Free Software Guidelines. We have created
"contrib" and "non-free" areas in our archive for these works. The
packages in these areas are not part of the Debian system, although
they have been configured for use with Debian. We encourage CD
manufacturers to read the licenses of the packages in these areas and
determine if they can distribute the packages on their CDs. Thus,
although non-free works are not a part of Debian, we support their use
and provide infrastructure for non-free packages (such as our bug
tracking system and mailing lists).

Since this modifies the Social Contract, this requires a 3:1 majority to pass.


With 911 developers, we have:

 Current Developer Count = 911
 Q ( sqrt(#devel) / 2 ) = 15.0913882727866
 K min(5, Q )           = 5
 Quorum  (3 x Q )       = 45.2741648183597

Option 1 Reached quorum: 174> 45.2741648183597

Data and Statistics

Some statistics are being gathered about ballots and acknowledgements periodically during the voting period. Additionally, the list of people who have voted is available. The tally sheet is also present (Note that while the vote is in progress it is a dummy tally sheet).

Majority Requirement

This proposal requires a 3:1 majority, since it modifies the Social contract, a foundation document.

Option 1 passes Majority.               4.462 (174/39)> 3


The winner is: Option 1 Choice 1: Change the Social Contract [3:1 majority needed]

The Beat Matrix
  Option 1 Option 2
Option 1   174
Option 2 39  

Option 1 defeats Option 2 by ( 174 - 39) = 135 votes.

Manoj Srivastava