Bonum Certa Men Certa

What Does Democracy Mean in Free Software Communities?

Reprinted with permission from Debian Community News

Yesterday, the message below was posted to the debian-vote mailing list.

Censors blocked it. It wasn't received by list subscribers and it isn't visible in the debian-vote list archive.

Can you see any possible way that this message violates the code of conduct used by this free software community?

In many free software communities, we accept that we contribute without the promise of anything in return.

In Debian, they gave us the promise of membership. Membership doesn't mean much either, except the right to vote. But it turns out even that was a hollow promise. Enrico Zini from the Debian account managers team simply deleted a candidate from the Debian keyring in the same way that he would delete an unwanted file, just days before elections were announced.

enrico@debian:~$ dpkg --purge person
enrico@debian:~$ rm -rf serious/questions

Consider the countless things that volunteer has done for Debian and free software over more than twenty years, eight visits to new communities in the Balkans over the last two years and acting as an admin in Google Summer of Code, a huge responsibility that brought in significant revenue for Debian.

When Zini tampered with the keyring, no due process was followed, no reason was given to the volunteer and any reason made up after the fact has no credibility. But making stuff up retrospectively to justify bullying isn't new.

Let me make that clear: for people not in the cabal, this ballot feels like it has been rigged before it even started. Certain people resented an independent candidate succeeding as FSFE Fellowship representative and think they can obstruct similar candidates in Debian.

Given there has already been extraordinary stress for people during the crisis, it is more important than ever for the debate about this platform to take place. An event this serious has ramifications for all free software communities because volunteers everywhere are losing faith in all of us.

If you would like to see a transparent and credible election debate proceed in Debian or if you would like to comment for or against any candidate, please write to the debian-project mailing list (subscribe, post). (NOTE: multiple people complained their attempts to send messages about voting were censored/blocked on official Debian mailing lists)

Subject: Re: Debian Project Leader Elections 2019: Call for nominations
Date: Sun, 10 Mar 2019 06:16:06 -0700
From: Mike Bird <>
CC: Debian Project Secretary - Kurt Roeckx <>

On Sat March 9 2019 19:44:17 Steve Langasek wrote: > There are no provisions in the Debian constitution for non-Developers to be > nominated for the position of DPL.

The Debian Constitution provides that Developers may nominate themselves. There is no prohibition against non-Developers nominating themselves. There is no requirement that the DPL be a Developer.

Compare the Speaker of the House in the US for whom membership is not required[1,2]. The members may if they choose elect a non-member Speaker.

Under the Debian Constitution there is now a candidate, the nomination period has closed, and no more candidates may be nominated.

Should you disagree with the long-overdue reforms highlighted in Daniel's excellent platform you can of course vote None Of The Above.


[1] "The House of Representatives shall choose their Speaker". [2]

Recent Techrights' Posts

GNOME Console Won’t Support Color Palettes or Profiles; Will Support Esperanto
Reprinted with permission from Ryan Farmer
Let's Hope GNU Makes it to 100
Can GNU still be in active use in 2083? Maybe.
GNU is 40, Linux is Just 32
Today it's exactly 40 years since Richard Stallman sent a message regarding GNU
GNU/Linux and Free Software News Mostly in Tux Machines Now
We've split the coverage
Links 27/09/2023: GNOME Raves and Firefox 118
Links for the day
Links 27/09/2023: 3G Phase-Out, Monopolies, and Exit of Rupert Murdoch
Links for the day
IBM Took a Man’s Voice, Pitting Him Against His Own Work, While Companies Profit from Low-Effort Garbage Generated by Bots and “Self-Service”
Reprinted with permission from Ryan Farmer
Links 26/09/2023: KDE, Programming, and More
Links for the day
Mozilla Promotes the Closed Web and Proprietary Webapps That Are Security and Privacy Hazards
This is just another reminder that the people who run Mozilla don't know the history of Firefox, don't understand the Web, and are beholden to "GAFAM", not to Firefox users
Debian More Like an Exploitative Sweatshop Than a Family
Wiltshire is riding a high horse in the UK, talking down to Indians who are "low-level" volunteers in his kingdom of authoritarians, guarded by an army of British lawyers who bully bloggers
Small Computers in Large Numbers: A Pipeline of Open Hardware
They guard and prioritise their "premiums", causing severe price hikes due to supply/demand disparities.
Microsoft Deserves a Medal for Being Worst at Security (the Media Deserves a Medal for Cover-up)
There are still corruptible/bribed publishers that quote Microsoft staff like they're security gurus
Real Life Should be Offline, Not Online, and It Requires Free Software
Resistance means having the guts to say "no!", even in the face of great societal burden and peer pressure
10 Reasons to Permanently Export or Liberate Your Site From WordPress, Drupal, and Other Bloatware
There are certainly more more advantages, but 10 should suffice for now
About 200,000 Objects in Techrights Web Site
This hopefully helps demonstrate just how colossal the migration actually is
Good Teachers Would Tell Kids to Quit Social Control Media Rather Than Participate in It (Teaching Means Education, Not Misinformation)
Insist that classrooms offer education to children rather than offer children to corporations
Twitter: From Walled Gardens to Paywalls and/or Amplifiers of Fascism
There's moreover a push to promote politicians who are as scummy as Twitter's owner
The World Wide Web is Being Confiscated From Us (Like Syndication Was Withdrawn About a Decade Ago) and We Need to Fight Back
We're worse off when fewer people promote RSS feeds and instead outsource to social control media (censorship, surveillance, manipulation)
Next Up: Restoring IRC Log Pipelines, Bulletins/Full Text RSS, Wiki (Archived, Static), and Pipelines for Daily Links
There are still many tasks left ahead of us, but we've progressed a lot
An Era of Rotting Technology, Migration Crises, and Cliffhanging
We've covered examples from IBM, resembling the Microsoft world