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the fifth freedom
Traditionally foss is defined by the 4 freedoms - but seeing the abuse of the GPL by closet merchants and bogus software vendors who release watered down versions of their proprietary products as bait to get one to buy them, I feel that a 5th freedom should be added:

4: The freedom to have the source code of the software you use to be available on a public repository on the internet backed by a full community accessible support structure.

Of course, anyone who uses software where he does not have this freedom is an idiot who deserves whatever happens to him, but if this was added then it can be used to educate people.

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Is this not already there? If you get a GPL'ed (or any open source licensed) piece of software, you can put it up on github or wherever and start off right away. If someone sells or gives you GPL'ed software without the source, they're in violation of the license anyway.

But then again, you're the lawyer. :)

Re: Already there?

it is not as simple as that - I can put it up. Fine. Who is going to build the support structure? The end user? And if software is open sourced without a support structure built by the developers of the software is useless to the end user.

What do you mean by a "support structure"? A community, tools?

Re: Already there?

transparency is becoming the watchword in all domains. If I deal with a company/government/NGO I am entitled to know who runs it, how it runs, what are the sources of it's funds etc etc. Same with a food product, for example, I need to know what is in it, who made it, when it expires. None of these things were there in the eighties when the 4 freedoms were floated. There was no infrastructure to support the 5th freedom in those days.

this is nearly 30 years later - if I use software, I am entitled to know who develops it, who maintains it - to have one-to-one access to these people. And am entitled to see the support structure in terms of forums, wikis, mailing lists etc. When the maharajas of old bought a Rolls Royce, they also bought one or two complete sets of spares, fuel for a year etc. Circa 90, I bought a Dolphin - then bought another, because with two I would always have enough parts to keep one running. Not now. I can drive a Maruti all round the country without worrying.

what do you think of companies who misuse the opensource licenses?

What do you think of companies that use opensource license to release part of the product as under Apache license but commercialize the rest at, http://www.projectfedena -- where you have to buy the core meaty parts if you want to do anything useful.

Re: what do you think of companies who misuse the opensource licenses?

The commercial product is sold on and a watered down crippled version is freely available on under Apache license

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