There is a general resolution
under discussion by Debian Developers (DDs) on whether or not to declassify
the archives of the Debian Private Mailing List. "In accordance with
principles of openness and transparency, Debian will seek to declassify and
publish posts of historical or ongoing significance made to the Debian
Private Mailing List.
mailing list is for "Private discussions among developers: only
for issues that may not be discussed on public lists." So why open
Discussion on the debian-vote mailing list
begins with this
post from Anthony Towns.
One of the issues Debian often stands for is transparency and openness
-- indeed, the openness of our bug tracking system is codified in the
Social Contract's statement "We will not hide problems". However, one
particular area of significance within the project is not open at all:
the debian-private mailing list.
This list has hosted a number of significant discussions over the years,
including most of the discussion inspiring the original statement
of Debian's Social Contract and the Debian Free Software Guidelines,
the reinvention of the new-maintainer process, debate on the qmail to
exim/postfix transition for Debian mail servers and more. This trend
continues today, with the six months just past have averaged around 190
posts per month.
Manoj Srivastava quickly pointed
that posters to debian-private have an expectation of privacy which
should not be violated. Nonetheless the proposal received a number of
seconds and a variety of amendments that would allow for part of the
archive to be opened.
Some of the amendments favor opening up posts if author consent can be
obtained. This may or may not extend to all authors in cases of quoted
text within a post. Also if the author(s) don't respond, is that implicit
permission, or not? Others favor the idea that only future content be
opened, posts made after a vote changes the nature of debian-private.
There were a few more labor intensive suggestions on the creation of a
declassification team which could determine which posts should remain
private and which should be made public. Perhaps everything more than five
years old should be declassified, since much of the truly personal
information should be obsolete by then.
The discussion continues. No time has been set for a vote. The latest is
proposal from Daniel Ruoso that attempts to bridge the gap between the
need for openness and the private nature of debian-private.
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