Debian developers vote on Linux release

From the “Freedom is about more than just code” files:

Debian is on the verge of its next major release codenamed “Lenny” – but before it gets released, Debian developers will have to vote on it. Debian developers have until 23:59:59 UTC on Saturday, December 21st, 2008 to vote on six key issues collectively titled the Lenny Release General

In a nutshell, the resolutions deal with re-affirming Debian’s Social Contract (which is Debian’s guiding document) as well as allowing for Lenny to be released with violations of Debian’s Free Software Guidelines (DFSG) which dictate the terms of whether or not a given piece of software may be included in Debian.

The actual resolutions include some very ‘interesting’ language to that effect which tries to mitigate the tone of the conflict. Here’s one example from Choice 5.4:

We give priority to the timely release of
Lenny over sorting every bit out; for this reason, we will treat removal of sourceless firmware as a best-effort process, and deliver firmware as part of Debian Lenny as long as we are legally allowed to do so, and the firmware is distributed upstream
under a license that complies with the DFSG.

It’s an interesting conflict, in my opinion.

Affirm the core ideals
of the project while at the same time allowing for violation of one its

Debian is an idealistic Linux distribution and that is one of its greatest strengths. Those ideals however can sometimes trigger delay. The Lenny Release General
Resolutions in my view are all about, trying to live up to the ideals while dealing with the realities of getting a release out in a timely fashion.

No other Linux distribution is as open or transparent in its approach to governance as Debian – and this latest exercise in Software Freedom is further proof of that point.

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