[Osmf-talk] License with or without virus

Jaak Laineste jaak at nutiteq.com
Fri Dec 4 14:46:59 UTC 2009


At the SotM09 I've talked to a director of a commercial mapping company. He
said that he liked the ODbL license but we should get rid of the share-alike
clause. Then it would really be a good license, according to him. Yeah
right! I that scenario this commercial company can use our data to make his
data-set more accurate, and keep his improvements of the mapdata closed. I
do not want my efforts to be reduced to free labor for commercial companies.
That's even worse than slavery; they at least got housing and food. Even if
that was at it's bare minimum or lowest possible quality. It's more than
nothing.

 

 Is there actually consensus about share-alike clause? I guess that
contributors love it and users hate it, just as with GPL/LGPL software
license options. The quick poll showed no clear preference among
contributors. 

 

 Making parallel with the open software world, I have a feeling that there
is  trend to have less GPL projects, and it is more "trendy"  to have
non-viral projects. For my own commercial/enterprise projects any GPL
software usually means automatically no-go decision;  so in theory the virus
clause should open (free) more software but in practice it puts it into the
chains and limits usage a lot.

 

 As a contributor, I personally would not mind removing share-alike
principle from the new OSM license. Even if it would mean that
Google/TA/NT/etc could therefore use my work in their products. It would be
actually great to see that work of my little hands will be in Google Maps or
in my TomTom Go, and loosening share-alike term would be the fastest (or
maybe the only) way to make this happen.

 

 I was also thinking of some kind of dual-licensing scheme (so OSMF would
get a lot of $ from Google to remove share-alike term), but for OSM-like
projects this would be probably just undoable. I do not know any successful
examples of this.

 

/JaakL

 

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