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the fifth freedom
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lawgon
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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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.

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