[Osmf-talk] The license/fork discussion: A solution proposal

ce-test, qualified testing bv - Gert Gremmen g.gremmen at cetest.nl
Tue Aug 24 07:17:40 UTC 2010

This is a crossposting with OSM-talk. My apologies. But I think it is

There is a long violent discussion about the OSM license, the choice to
be made and
some people event want to leave OSM and start a fork. This discussion
also lead to moderation and too much emotional talk.
This eventually will lead to the end of OSM, a really unwanted
I therefore have the following proposal:

A fork as stipulated should not be necessarily about a group of people
leaving OSM , but about 
we (OSM) deciding to continue in two or more future directions,
covered by different licenses, and maybe finally decide which license
fits best. 

This would require the OSM database to include a extra field for each
and every item indicating the license 
the data was provided by its contributor. The license choice can be made
in the users profile.

For most of OSM there is no difference. 
The license  is only relevant once data is extracted to external

External parties will therefore always know under what license any node
and any way of the
database had been granted to them.

The map server and most applications at would remain as they are,
our own applications are not license sensitive.

We may however create a second or more maps showing only the data from
specific licenses
and enabling OSM-ers to evaluate the consequences of their choices.

I think this is the only way to solve this everlasting and destructive
license discussion.

It requires however, some flexibility of mind, and the trust that OSM
will not
abuse the choice made by its contributors. As the database and the
license field will
be visible to all of us, I trust that will be not a major problem.


Gert Gremmen

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