[OSM-talk] offering adapted databases

Anthony osm at inbox.org
Fri Jul 8 23:50:24 BST 2011

On Fri, Jul 8, 2011 at 6:14 PM, Steve Coast <steve at asklater.com> wrote:
> Lets say you make a map and someone wants the data.
> First, are you acting in the spirit of the license? Let's assume yes. That
> gets you 99% of the way there, despite your technical detail analysis.

I'm not really sure what the spirit of the license is, so I don't
think it's safe to assume I am acting within the spirit of the

Is CloudMade acting within the spirit of the license when they display
maps containing proprietary data which can be bought for only
$295/year?  I don't see how they are, but apparently you think they
are, right?

(I can see how they might be acting within the *letter* of the
license, by maintaining separate databases which create separate
layers which get added together at the last minute.  But you're going
to have to explain to me how that's not just exploiting a loophole
rather than "acting within the spirit of the license".)

> Next, you don't have to make the database available. You can make the db
> available, or the code.

What code?  I generally don't write all the code and then run the
code.  I add a few things here, run a little bit of SQL there, find
some mistakes and run some more SQL, build some indexes, transfer some
files to EC2, run some scripts on EC2 which are too memory intensive
for my home machine, transfer some files back, etc.

Making "the code" available doesn't work.

> Next, you could ship that with the work. So each paper map could carry a cd
> with the code, or something.

You can't be serious.

In case you are, distributing a CD with every copy of a paper map is
just ridiculous.

> Next, you could just put a dump or code snippet up somewhere. Storage space
> is effectively free at this point, or dropping exponentially.

Hosted storage space is not "effectively free".  Nor is data transfer.
 For a full history planet file we're talking about $3/month plus $3
per transfer with Amazon Web Services.  That's possibly okay if I'm
making money off my use of OSM (but it depends on the answers to my
questions which have not been answered).  But if I'm just playing
around with stuff as a hobbyist, it's not acceptable.

> If linksys can distribute hundreds of millions of routers and maintain GPL
> by sharing the code, surely you can too?

I can what?  I'm not linksys.  My budget is nowhere near that of
linksys.  My solution to the linksys problem, when dealing with the
GPL, is that I don't ever distribute binaries of GPLed software.  I
send a patch, or I keep the code to myself.  But never distributing
tiles produced from a database is not an option.

Here are the questions which still have not been answered:

>> How long do I have to keep a copy of the adapted database in case
>> someone takes me up on my offer?

>> How much of the database do I need to keep?

Adding a question, because your point about storage brings up a
potential semi-solution:  What if I just store every database I ever
use on a hard drive, and if someone asks for a copy I send them, for
the cost of a hard drive plus shipping, everything?

>> Is the offer valid to third parties?

>> If person A makes a
>> bunch of tiles from a database, and person B prints out a map from
>> those tiles and gives the map to person C, who offers person C the
>> copy of the adapted database?

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