iTWire: This debate has recurred twice before, once before Sarge and...
We have always accepted that there may be some technical bugs in a stable release that weren't worth holding the entire release for. The difficult question is whether known issues with regard to our own free software guidelines are things that it's okay for us to ignore. And I think this most recent bug made it very clear that no-one wants to ignore these issues.
My reading of the result (of the vote) says that people very strongly support the DFSG and related elements of the social contract but they also understand that if the software that we have ready to release today is both technically better and better from the perspective of freedom that what we've previously released, that we're doing our users a service by releasing it even if it's not perfect yet.
iTWire: So i take it that it is possible to put in your contract that if issue X rears its head, then this is how we settle it?
BG: I think we've established a pattern now that when we reach the point where we believe that we're ready to make, or we're coming very close to being ready to make a stable release, that if there are outstanding issues that fall into this category of questionable or definitely not complying with the DFSG, that a reasonable approach is for us to hold a GR vote and get an explicit sense from the Debian development community about whether they are prepared to release under the existing situation or not.
The recent vote was somewhat flawed in that the people who proposed the original motion and the related variations had many different ideas that they were trying to capture and so we didn't get a very clean yes or no threshold decision on various issues.
We got an answer that said it's okay to ship with the remaining firmware components of the kernel that are being shipped as binary blobs for this release. but that said nothing, one way or the other, about some of these other licensing questions reflected in bugs.
Hence, we've had to read the raw results of the vote which we can do in a Condorcet style election; we can see the preference between individual pairs of choices and we've had to try to extract from that an understanding of the other opinions that the developers have beyond which of the seven options they chose as their preferred choice.