Re: Draft resolution formalising Debian's Associated Project status

From: Ian Jackson <ijackson(at)chiark(dot)greenend(dot)org(dot)uk>
To: treasurer(at)spi-inc(dot)org
Cc: leader(at)debian(dot)org, spi-general(at)lists(dot)spi-inc(dot)org, secretary(at)spi-inc(dot)org
Subject: Re: Draft resolution formalising Debian's Associated Project status
Date: 2007-03-06 18:11:20
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I'm astonished at the pushback I'm having on the question of the
extent of the DPL's authority, and what SPI's position should be.

The situation is clear and there is absolutely no choice for SPI in
this matter. SPI _must_ honour the Debian Constitution, even in
case(s) where individual(s) (even the DPL) have a different view.

According to the Associated Project Framework[1], which is the basis
for the relationship between SPI and Debian:

If a Project has rules and procedures about its relationship with
SPI then SPI will honour them (for example by implementing decisons
about property held for that Project if and only if they are made
according to those rules and procedures) provided that they are
consistent with its agreement with SPI and with SPI's goals,
policies and legal obligations.

If a Project's internal organization or procedures are unclear or
disputed, SPI will deal with the situation as fairly as possible; if
possible SPI will act according to the decisions or rough consensus
of the Project's participants or in case of doubt that of the whole

The rules and procedures in question, in Debian's case, are precisely
the Debian constitution.

Note that in cases of doubt SPI is obliged to look at, and give effect
to, the project's governance structures. This is an essential
function for SPI. Since we have actual control over the purse-strings
it falls to us to give effect to the project's decisionmaking. We
can't evade that responsibility by nominating a particular individual
and always deferring to them.

Finally, this document is not just a feel-good policy statement and
doing as it says is not optional.

The Framework is the basis of the agreements between SPI and our
associated projects and has been the basis of our relationship with
Debian for nearly a decade. It is morally binding on SPI.

Additionally, it is legally binding on SPI as regards property held by
SPI for purposes related to Debian: that document is the basis of the
explicit charitable trust which governs how SPI may make use of those

So, SPI's deferral to the Debian Constitution is not optional, any
more than SPI's deferral to New York charity law is optional.
(Obviously the latter takes precedence, as described in the



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