[Osmf-talk] License with or without virus

Matija Nalis mnalis-openstreetmap-osmflist at voyager.hr
Tue Dec 8 00:52:36 UTC 2009

On Fri, Dec 04, 2009 at 04:06:35PM +0000, Matt Amos wrote:
> looking at it another way - the existing license is (intended to be) 
> share-alike, so clearly any preference any existing contributors have 
> isn't strong enough to stop them contributing.

That is correct.

> there are really two questions here:
> 1) is ODbL a better license than CC BY-SA?

As measured by legal enforceability of the copyleft license itself, yes

> 2) what's the best license for OSM?

Hard to say. Although I do much prefer copyleft concept, through the years
I've seen more than fair share of completely unnecessary copyleft licence
clashes which stopped people from doing what all the sides actually wanted,
just because of the minor licence incompatibilities (though mostly in
software, not data). Stuff like removing programs from repositories, free
programs that couldn't be distributed when linked but you have to distribute
source and force everyone to recompile, entire libraries reimplemented from
scratch as that was simpler that working out licensing incompatibilities,
countless manhours wasted on legal lists instead of actual coding, etc.

So it may be that PD-alike license is actually a better choice at this point
in development that copyleft-alike license (*much* less problems, and OSM is
not some anonymous any more that it would die if it doesn't get enough
exposure). Or maybe not -- I myself would still probably prefer copyleft
license like ODbL, if that was the only question (like, if the project was
just starting and didn't have any data in database).

But those two are actually not the most important questions to me in this
voting, that one would actually be:

3) "is the changing of licence the right thing to do at this stage ?"
   Forget from which license to which we are proposing changing. What I'm
   talking about is question if the damage that WILL be done (data loss,
   contributors alienation, etc) is worth the benefit (better protection
   from the "bad guys who won't share")? And "is this right time to do it,
   are there really so many bad guys abusing OSM at the *moment* ? Or would
   it perhaps be better to change it when it becomes obvious that they are
   really becoming the problem, instead of now?"

answer "no" or even "maybe not" to (3), and (1) and (2) immediately become
much less relevant at this point in time, and should be postponed until (3)
yields clear "yes".

Opinions above are GNU-copylefted.

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