Dear GNU maintainer,
Today is “I Love Free Software” day and we want to thank you for being
part of GNU!
You are receiving this message because you are listed as responsible for
a GNU package in the ‘maintainers’ file on fencepost.gnu.org. If you
think this is inaccurate, or if you no longer want to be contacted about
this initiative, please let us know about it.
On January 28th, we emailed you regarding on-going work by the authors
of this message to devise a “GNU Social Contract”. The goal of this
document is to formulate a common core set of values for the GNU Project,
on which we can jointly build to form a stronger community. It is both
an agreement among us, GNU contributors, and a pledge to the broader free
software community. Additionally, we think it can be a first step towards
formalizing a transparent and collective governance of the GNU Project.
We received a number of questions and suggestions on the first draft of the
document, witnesses to our collective approach to shaping a document that
can help us go forward together. We discussed all the input with great
care; it is documented, together with the adopted resolutions, at:
The result of all this is version 1.0 of the GNU Social Contract as appended
below, which can also be seen at:
We believe that the outcome is an even snappier document, which lays out
our common foundations even more clearly, and thank everyone of you who
contributed to improving it.
We now invite you to send a message, by February 24th, preferably signed
with your OpenPGP key, to email@example.com (private alias) and
optionally to firstname.lastname@example.org (public mailing list), containing
one of the following statements:
• I, maintainer of package X, endorse version 1.0 of the GNU
Social Contract, available at
• I, maintainer of package X, do not adhere to version 1.0 of the
GNU Social Contract, available at
The current status is maintained at:
Thanks in advance for your participation!
- Ludovic Courtès
- Andreas Enge
- Carlos O’Donell
- Mark Wielaard
- Andy Wingo
# GNU Social Contract 1.0
These are the core commitments of the GNU Project, which creates and
distributes a software system that respects users' freedoms.
## The GNU Project respects users' freedoms
The GNU Project provides software that guarantees to all users the
_Four Essential Freedoms_, without compromise:
0. The freedom to run the program as they wish, for any purpose.
1. The freedom to study how the program works, and change it so it does
their computing as they wish.
2. The freedom to redistribute copies so they can help others.
3. The freedom to distribute copies of their modified versions to others.
The GNU Project adopts policies that encourage and enable developers
to actively defend user freedom. These policies include using
_copyleft licenses_, designed to ensure that users’ freedoms cannot be
stripped off, when appropriate.
Besides upholding the Four Essential Freedoms, the GNU Project pays
attention to new threats to users' freedom, and responds to them as they
## The GNU Project provides a consistent system
The GNU Project develops an operating system, the _GNU System_, as well as
a set of applications. Each software component developed by the GNU Project
is referred to as a _GNU package_. GNU package developers work together to
ensure consistency across packages.
## The GNU Project collaborates with the broader free software community
The GNU Project works together with other free software projects to
advance its goals, and aims to extend the reach of the project beyond
the GNU System.
## The GNU Project welcomes contributions from all and everyone
The GNU Project commits to providing a harassment-free
experience for all contributors. It wants to give everyone the
opportunity of contributing to its efforts on any of the many tasks that
require work. It welcomes all contributors, regardless of their gender,
ethnicity, sexual orientation, level of experience, or any other