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The current social contract interpretation suffers sometimes from some inherent contradiction between the goal to serve our users and the goal to use only free software. This document is a proposal of a set of general resolution that ought to clarify the compromises choosen by the project. This is not a Debian statement yet.

Note: in this document the word "free" refers to free as in Debian Free Software Guidelines.

First GR: changes of the social contract

Option 1: Create "Social Contract Applied" (modifiable by simple majority)

When we say "Debian will remain 100% free" we mean that the main purpose of any source package introduced in our main section is a free work (free software, free documentation, free data, ...). However in order to respect the will of the upstream author and to respect our goal of providing the best service to our users, we sometimes have to make compromises. Those compromises are described in a separate document (known as "Social Contract Applied"). This document is not a foundation document.

Option 2: Create "Social Contract Applied" (modifiable by 3:1 majority)

Same option than before except that the document "Social Contract Applied" is defined as a foundation document and can thus be modified only with a 3:1 supermajority.

TODO: We need a better title for that document. Any suggestion is welcome.

If this resolution passes, we'd have a new separate empty document. The other votes shall populate that file with the decision taken about all current problems.

Second GR: how to deal with firmwares

Option 1: Allow firmwares in main

When a hardware device supported by a free driver requires a firmware in order to work, a firmware distributed without its sources may still be distributed along the driver so that our users can make use of their hardware.

The problematic firmware(s) must be singled-out in the copyright file. The Debian project believes that free firmware is better and, once a free replacement is available, the maintainer shall use it. The maintainer may provide both until the free replacement provides equivalent functionality to the non-free one (but the free one should be used by default).

Option 2: Allow firmwares in non-free and include support in main

Need to be phrased. Global idea: The firmwares must be packaged separately in non-free but the drivers in main may recommend the non-free packages and d-i may install them automatically if they are needed.

Option 3: Firmwares do not require any special treatment

Need to be phrased. Global idea: a firmware is a software like another, it needs to be DFSG-free to be in main, otherwise it must be in non-free. Like all non-free software we must not encourage our users to use them, instead we should explain them to buy hardware which is better supported.

Third GR: how to deal with position statements from the upstream authors

Option 1: Allow position statements

When the upstreams authors provide (within the source package) some position statements whose modifications is not allowed, the Debian maintainer can include them in the binary packages and in any case doesn't need to repackage the source tarball to remove them.

Anyone must be able to distribute the work without those position statements, so we must have the freedom to remove them.

Option 2: Forbid position statements

Need to be phrased

Fourth GR: how to deal with trademarks

Option 1: Acknowledge the right to use the trademark

The upstream authors can make use of trademarks to promote their work. For effective use of the trademarks, they usually have to impose some restrictions. Here are the exceptions which are acceptable to us :

  • modifications on some artwork (including the logo) can be forbidden. Debian may still use it so that our users who are accustomed to the branding are not surprised. However we must have the option to replace the artwork and this musn't change the functionnality of the program.
  • the trademark license may require a rename of the software if substantial modifications, which may directly damage the trademark, are made. Fixing bugs (and in particular security related ones) doesn't count as substantial modifications.

Option 2: ??

Fifth GR: how to deal with license texts

Option 1: Allow distribution of non-modifiable license's texts

The modification of license's texts is (sometimes) forbidden. However Debian can still ship those texts if the license applies to one of its components.