[OSM-talk] OpenStreetMap Isn't All That Open, Let's Change That and Drop Share-Alike

Florian Lohoff f at zz.de
Fri Mar 14 08:20:12 UTC 2014

On Thu, Mar 13, 2014 at 10:26:23AM -0400, Alex Barth wrote:
> Hello everyone -
> I've been sitting on writing about the detrimental effects of
> OpenStreetMap's share-alike license (ODbL) for a while and finally decided
> to, um, share. I've been listening long to many OpenStreetMappers I respect
> a ton telling me it's not so bad and it's just what we're stuck with right
> now. But given how bad share alike is for OpenStreetMap I don't think we
> should give up for pushing for a more open license. Here's why I think
> share-alike hurts OpenStreetMap and how this keeps OpenStreetMap from
> having the full impact it could have:
> http://www.openstreetmap.org/user/lxbarth/diary/21221

I was in favor of dropping Share-Alike when we switched from CC-BY-SA and
all my arguments have come reality.

"From how many geocoding responses to store it becomes a Database under
the Terms of the ODbL" etc ... All these uncertinity harms OSM from
adoption. Using tiles is simple - Using for more advanced stuff becomes
more and more a nightmare.

Its all a matter of interpreting the license as other have stated
in this thread. I thought we were switching from CC-BY-SA because
we didnt want any "interpretation" anymore. It might be that under
some jurisdications the CC-BY-SA would not have hold up but it was
the declared will. So with the ODbL we have the same situation 
but only MUCH MORE complex.

And in the End - All those how fear the big bad google for taking our
work and earning money with it if we dont make it share alike - Have
you followed data contributions lately? Contributions are not coming
because people are forced to do so - but because maintainance of data
is much easier.  This has been the case for the Linux Kernel and this
is the same with the OSM Database. (Yes - there were a few litigations
concerning the GPL - but compare that to contributions of formerly
closed source drivers etc)

There was a time when "Share Alike" was THE only way of forcing other
to contribute. This was well before the Internet was a so widespread
and the tasks were much smaller. Since 1995 or something we have solved
this issue - I am Linux and Open Source _only_ since around that time.
2/3rds of my life i have been using and developing Open Source/Free Software
and sharing without any restrictions.
Putting a Share Alike on OSM felt like beeing back in the stone ages of
early computing - full of fear of the big corps stealing our freedom. I
thought we had left this behind.

Today maintaining the Linux Kernel or OSM without a HUGE community is a
lost fight so there is nothing to gain by taking this data _from_ the
community. Those who do this are the ones to loose, not the ones giving
away their code/data.

IMHO Share Alike is proposed by those full of fear. Instead we should
relax and try to make OSM the most useful collection of data for
everyone not just the ones beeing able to understand the ODbL. 

Florian Lohoff                                                 f at zz.de
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