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Can an Open Source Map Project Make Money?

timothy posted about 4 years ago | from the one-of-the-coolest-projects-ever dept.

GNU is Not Unix 304

Roblimo writes "Bing and Mapquest both use output from OpenStreetMap.org. Mapquest supports the project with money for equipment and access to the code they've written to integrate OSM's work with their display. Bing? They just take from the project and do nothing for it in return. This may be okay in a legal sense, but it is a seriously nekulturny way to behave. Even so, having Microsoft's Bing as a reference might help the project's founder make money. They've put a lot of work into this project, and it's doing a lot of people a lot of good, so they certainly deserve some sort of payback, either direct or indirect. They have a few ideas about how they might legitimately earn a few bucks from their project while remaining free software purists. Do you have any ideas, yourself, about how they might turn a few bucks from OSM?"

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Freedom (5, Insightful)

odies (1869886) | about 4 years ago | (#33405722)

Bing? They just take from the project and do nothing for it in return. This may be okay in a legal sense, but it is a seriously nekulturny way to behave.

Free software advocates really need to understand that if you want to have true freedom, you have to let people use the project the way the want to and stop tossing a fit when someone doesn't contribute back to it. If you expect or want to get contributions back, you should choose a license that requires it. Otherwise you're being quite a hypocrite about free software.

Purpose of the BSD license also is to let everyone use code freely the way they want, the only true form of freedom. Once you start demanding something more than attribution you're removing freedom and limiting what people can do, making it no better than just having a commercial license. This is also why I view BSD license as way more free than GPL, which has many, many limitations forced upon you. Not really the definition of freedom, is it?

Re:Freedom (5, Insightful)

Frosty Piss (770223) | about 4 years ago | (#33405744)

Indeed. If you expect people to "give back", put it in the licence, otherwise quit bitching.

Re:Freedom (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33405844)

Or they shut the project down and Bing have to engineer the whole thing themselves, or lose the functionality altogather. If a large commercial entity is using it, it's their duty to ensure they help keep the project alive. Prats like you cannot determine the difference between a casual user and large enterprise.

Re:Freedom (3, Insightful)

Frosty Piss (770223) | about 4 years ago | (#33405866)

Prats like you cannot determine the difference between a casual user and large enterprise.

No, not "prats like me", but rather the *licence* of the project does not differentiate between "a casual user and large enterprise".

Re:Freedom (3, Insightful)

amolapacificapaloma (1000830) | about 4 years ago | (#33406040)

I think the point is that a large enterprise should be wise enough to know the difference, especially if they are making (or saving) big bucks. They could do a lot of things for the open source effort without expending any money, like raise awareness of the project among end users, suggesting donations... They are just being less polite than the rest of kids in the block. It is also a good time for MS to make a nice PR move to go along with all those "we love open source" statements they are now proclaiming...

Re:Freedom (1)

cynyr (703126) | about 4 years ago | (#33406066)

or just block requests from MS with no notice or block 1/2 of them.

Re:Freedom (3, Insightful)

Darkness404 (1287218) | about 4 years ago | (#33405878)

The problem isn't that the license doesn't allow it, the license does, its just that its common courtesy to contribute back to the project if you are making money or a large enterprise working on it.

Its like tipping, nowhere does it say that you -must- tip (unless the tip is included with the bill) but its still common courtesy. A waitress has every right to be mad when someone orders $300 worth of food and doesn't even leave her a single cent.

Legal != Moral. Just because something doesn't /have/ to be done doesn't mean it shouldn't be done.

Re:Freedom (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33405992)

A waitress has every right to be mad when someone orders $300 worth of food and doesn't even leave her a single cent.

Why? If she feels that a hourly salary is unfair, she can negotiate one based on how many dollars of food she serves.

Legal != Moral

Are you saying that after centuries of work, lawmakers still haven't been able to close the gap?

Re:Freedom (2, Informative)

cynyr (703126) | about 4 years ago | (#33406098)

no she can't. For the last several years that has not been the case. Employies have had little barginening power in relation to working conditions, or pay, simply there is a high enough unemployment rate that there will always be someone willing to work that job for the just barely legal conditions of the employer.

Waiters/waitresses are allowed to be paid below minimum wage in places that allow tips, at least here in Minnesota MN, USA. They even allow that for places that use a tip pool, where all of the tips everyone on a shift made goes into a pool, and then divided evenly across all of the staff(yes all of the staff, dishwashers too).

Re:Freedom (0)

vadim_t (324782) | about 4 years ago | (#33406208)

Sounds like they need an union

Re:Freedom (1)

tepples (727027) | about 4 years ago | (#33406352)

Unless the owner has threatened to close down any shop that unionizes, especially if the owner has done just that to another of the owner's shops.

Re:Freedom (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33406324)

Waiters/waitresses are allowed to be paid below minimum wage in places that allow tips, at least here in Minnesota MN, USA. They even allow that for places that use a tip pool, where all of the tips everyone on a shift made goes into a pool, and then divided evenly across all of the staff(yes all of the staff, dishwashers too).

A community where all the members contribute the totality of their earnings to a community fund which is in the end equally distributed to all the members of the community? Isn't that communism?

Re:Freedom (2, Insightful)

oldhack (1037484) | about 4 years ago | (#33406012)

I hate tipping, and I hate this bogus whining. Change the license or shut up.

Re:Freedom (4, Interesting)

Darkness404 (1287218) | about 4 years ago | (#33406046)

So I take it you aren't mad whenever someone slams a door in your face, after all you didn't sign a contract that he wouldn't. You aren't pissed off when someone takes the next taxi cab in the rain when you are left to stand out without an umbrella? You aren't mad when some guy takes a massive dump in a public toilet and you have to use it? You don't get angry when someone cuts in line?

You have no legal right for someone to open the door for you, you don't have a piece of paper assuring that you will get the next taxi, you don't have a "Bill of Rights of the Bathroom", and you don't have assurance of your place in most lines.

But that doesn't mean you aren't an asshole if you do these things.

Thats the point that these developers are trying to say, that essentially Microsoft was an asshole. Few people seek for legal action after having these things happen to them, but they still have the right to say the person who did that to them was a jerk.

Re:Freedom (0)

oldhack (1037484) | about 4 years ago | (#33406100)

Whine, whine, whine.

Re:Freedom (1)

flimflammer (956759) | about 4 years ago | (#33406060)

I know a lot of places where tipping is mandatory. They won't serve you unless you agree to tip a certain percentage. It's bullshit if you ask me.

Re:Freedom (2, Insightful)

catbutt (469582) | about 4 years ago | (#33406102)

I say that's not a tip, then, by definition.

Re:Freedom (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33406344)

That's not a tip. That's an untaxed "Service Charge". It's simply part of the cost of the meal.

Re:Freedom (2, Insightful)

OzPeter (195038) | about 4 years ago | (#33406070)

Its like tipping, nowhere does it say that you -must- tip

And there are places in the world where they pay their waitstaff decent amounts of money so that the customer doesn't have to tip.

You just disproved your own argument

Re:Freedom (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33406164)

I've never understood tipping, really, or rather my understanding is not something that jives with the norm.

My understanding: tips are for above average performance, if a server was unusually pleasant, responsive, capable, or went out of their way to make my experience more enjoyable. It's a reward for good performance (like a paycheck bonus). How minimum wage is not the minimum for waiters/waitresses, I don't understand. If you earn tips, KEEP it.

My ideal system: you do your job. If you are good at it, you'll earn tips and are thus rewarded. If you are bad at your job, you should still receive at least minimum wage (that everyone else is entitled to, not some discounted minimum wage) until you either quit or are fired from your job for incompetence. That way, one has a consistant rate of income that you can depend on rather than the moods of others and won't have to risk going without a meal or being evicted because you didn't get a sufficient amount of tips.

Re:Freedom (2, Insightful)

OzPeter (195038) | about 4 years ago | (#33406222)

I've never understood tipping, really, or rather my understanding is not something that jives with the norm.

My concept of tipping is that is a scam for business owners to minimize tax liability by effectively forcing payroll taxes onto the waitstaff. if not, then why not just build the labour cost into the product price?

Re:Freedom (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33406272)

In the US 15% is a frequent rule of thumb for good service, 20% for excellent and 18% is the common automatic level for large parties. One advantage of a tipping system is that it allows for negative and positive feedback - receive crappy service and don't tip/tip poorly. A few diners doing so will get the message across to servers to drop the attitude. Compare to Germany's system of server pay being independent of dining experience, where they are noted for service with a frown. Yes it is manipulative and possibly demeaning to force poorly paid workers to be cheerful, but it does result in a better dining experience and select for cheerful servers.

Re:Freedom (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33406260)

Or you know you could just not work as a waiter or go on strike. Oh wait a business shouldn't try and make money, HOW DARE THEY!!!!!!!

Re:Freedom (5, Insightful)

vadim_t (324782) | about 4 years ago | (#33406154)

If you see that as a problem, change the license.

I've got this personal philosophy: don't offer to give more than you're really willing to part with. It's a general philosophy applying to pretty much everything. For instance, don't offer to do a favour, or pay for something if it'd really get on your nerves to have that offer accepted, then get nothing in return.

If you really want to get something in return, GPL or CC-SA it. If, and only if you're really deep inside willing to give something with no strings attached, and won't mind even if somebody takes that and makes millions on it while not giving you a single cent, only then BSD or public domain it.

You're not doing yourself any favours by pretending to be more altruistic than you really are. If deep down you want something in exchange for your trouble, make sure to get it, or you may regret it.

And forget about this "common courtesy" stuff. Corporations don't have it. Picture working at some huge company. Deadline is looming, project budget is tight. Even if you'd like to give something back to whoever you took something useful from, you will need your boss' authorization, and he'll need his, and perhaps it will go further up. They're almost guaranteed not to bother unless there's some good reason for it, such as the license actually requiring it.

Re:Freedom (1)

scamper_22 (1073470) | about 4 years ago | (#33406162)

You make it sound like a point worth making.

So yes a waitress has every right to be mad if you don't tip. But still remember, she is still paid a base salary and the restaurant still charges something for the meal. Imagine the restaurant industry if you really only had to pay what you wanted? It might be a good gimmick at one place, but the industry as a whole would collapse.

Humans have existed for thousands of years. Nowhere in history has a society functioned depending on people just doing the moral thing or giving back where they should.
Somewhere along the line, you have to be smart about life.

If you want to make a living doing your craft, you don't give away your labors for free. It really is that simple.
Now we all do things for free, but I don't depend on them for my living.

I write code for a living. I will not contribute to any open source application that is a final product. I'll contribute to research products, random libraries... but not to fully functional commercial products. Because I view it as killing the industry I work in.
For example, I would gladly contribute to log4j because it is not a final product, but just something to make my life easier.
But I certainly wouldn't contribute to Open Office as a final product.

Now those are just my boundaries and arbitrary reasons. You might think differently of course.
I suppose if I worked for Google which makes money on ads, then I might be more amenable to contributing.

The open source world has been largely naive. Much of it funded by government via universities and others from companies whose business is hardware or services or now ads. That's all great... and if you aren't doing and CHARGING for one of those... you're pretty naive to expect to even get a penny back from your work.

Re:Freedom (5, Insightful)

evilviper (135110) | about 4 years ago | (#33406202)

A waitress has every right to be mad when someone orders $300 worth of food and doesn't even leave her a single cent.

"right" has nothing to do with it. She has every right to provide terrible service and expect a tip as well... She has every right to expect anything she wants, but that doesn't mean it's moral or amoral to not give it to her.

Legal != Moral. Just because something doesn't /have/ to be done doesn't mean it shouldn't be done.

No, but using a license that says free for commercial use, then EXPECTING to get a GIFT in return, and COMPLAINING when you don't, just makes you an idiot.

How would you feel about eating at a restaurant that has a big policy statement on the wall, indicating the tip is included in the bill, then getting shouted at by the waitress because you didn't leave her a tip, or not big enough of a tip? Just because your courtesy expectations don't meet-up with someone else's, doesn't give either any right to yell at them about it.

Re:Freedom (1)

grumbel (592662) | about 4 years ago | (#33406314)

How would you feel about eating at a restaurant that has a big policy statement on the wall, indicating the tip is included in the bill, then getting shouted at by the waitress because you didn't leave her a tip, or not big enough of a tip?

Except that is not the case with Open StreetMap, instead they have a nice big "Make a Donation" button right on their front page.

Re:Freedom (1)

FooBarWidget (556006) | about 4 years ago | (#33406238)

I thought in the US it is required by law to give a tip of at least 10%?

Re:Freedom (3, Informative)

houghi (78078) | about 4 years ago | (#33406250)

It is like tipping in the USofA. I live in Leuven, Belgium and tipping is NOT custom here. Service (and TVA) are included in the bill. Service is better then some places in Belgium where tipping IS expected.

And it would be a LOT easier for many Americans if it would be clear to all how much you where to pay for the service you have gotten, regardless if this is the service in a restaurant or the service given by a doctor.

I agree that there is a difference between legal and moral. However different places have different morals or customs and then it is easier to inform the people what the customs are.

I use a LOT of OSS software and I never knew I had to contribute back to each and every piece of software that I used in the company. Firefox is, I think, one of the most used products in companies around the world and I am sure almost none of the companies contribute back to that project.

Re:Freedom (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33406288)

Just like when you enjoy a music or a movie. It's considered the right thing to do to put back money to the artist. Unless it's on slashdot. In that case the thing to do is to flip the artist the finger in the guise of rebelling against the record label and claim you'll support them when they roll around in concert even though everyone else at the concert has already paid for the studio album and is now paying for the performance.

Slasdork's hypocrisy rears its ugly head again.

Re:Freedom (3, Funny)

DeadboltX (751907) | about 4 years ago | (#33406296)

* A 20% gratuity will be added to corporations with a market value of 100 billion dollars or more.

Re:Freedom (1)

noidentity (188756) | about 4 years ago | (#33406348)

Its like tipping, nowhere does it say that you -must- tip (unless the tip is included with the bill) but its still common courtesy. A waitress has every right to be mad when someone orders $300 worth of food and doesn't even leave her a single cent.

One reason I avoid eating out. I have this silly idea that it's like any other business, where they state the prices of the products and I choose which ones I want to buy, then pay the money and get the products. If someone wants to play games, I take my business elsewhere. It's the sellers that feel entitled to more than the stated price that make me have disgust for everyone in their line of business.

Re:Freedom (1)

FooAtWFU (699187) | about 4 years ago | (#33405978)

I disagree. I think community projects such as these are justified in expecting contributions from those who benefit from it. Resorting to coercion via license is a poor way of enforcing it, though; licenses can present a big pain in the legal department even for people who are otherwise friendly and willing to give back to the community, and a hostile entity can usually comply with the license while remaining completely unhelpful.

Moreover, whining about "omg, whiners" is kinda tacky too, you know?

Re:Freedom (1)

Trepidity (597) | about 4 years ago | (#33405980)

This is somewhat opposite from the usual argument I hear from BSD advocates. They argue that putting it in the license, like the GPL, is unnecessarily legalistic and problematic, and instead the license should be BSD, and encouragement to contribute back should be done via social pressure, PR, etc. Some BSD advocates, at least, argue that this approach overall results in at least as many return contributions, without being legalistic about it.

Re:Freedom (1)

spinkham (56603) | about 4 years ago | (#33406362)

With BSD the theory that makes most sense to me is it is easier to push fixes back upstream then maintain them yourselves.
In practice, with BSD smaller patches often are merged and larger changes are sometimes kept private. In that way, BSD and LGPL are probably equivalent in terms of encouraging people to contribute.

In this case, apparently Bing thinks the product they are receiving is good enough, and has no need to contribute to fixing bugs and improving the project. Mapquest thinks contributing to the betterment of the product is warranted. Both are economically and morally fine.

Re:Freedom (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33406290)

And if you use free software and contribute nothing back, and could have, it's completely expected that we call you white trash. Bing - the search engine of White Trash.

Re:Freedom (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33405782)

But you obviously don't understand. Open source is good and Microsoft is evil. We must defeat the forces of evil with religious zealotry and bigotry. Right fellas?

Re:Freedom (1)

Manfre (631065) | about 4 years ago | (#33405834)

Parent deserves to be modded up, not flagged as flamebait.

Re:Freedom (1)

cgenman (325138) | about 4 years ago | (#33405852)

You can go to fund raisers with a suggested donation, and not give any money. If their business model for their public mapping division is based around a project which is saving them significant expenditure compared to closed-mapping vendors, it's polite to find ways of helping support them. It helps maintain a healthy software ecosystem. Microsoft is a big company, and Bing is a huge project, which means somehow finding ways of supporting the developers would be polite. Not technically required, but polite.

And, of course, complaining is not the same thing as suing. The proper thing to do in situations like this would be to find unique ways that Bing or Microsoft can help support a bit the people who support this core part of their system.

3, no, 4, oops, make that 7 ways to make money (2, Interesting)

tomhudson (43916) | about 4 years ago | (#33406018)

  1. embed Google ads in maps served via Bing.
  2. threaten to be acquired by OraKILL pr Paul Allen
  3. include games in the maps served up - games are big. You can then sell them swords and nukes when they are looking at their neighbors cat
  4. offer people an "unlisted address" option - "we'll remove your section of the street if you pay us $5 a month. Works for the phone co "pay more, get less service"
  5. road sponsorship - it works for highway trash cleanup "this section of road is loving memory of Snuffles the Dog"
  6. bring out their own version of MonopolyCityStreets
  7. "Risk, the neighborhood edition"

Really, either hire some coders to produce a game, or come to some sort of partnership/sponsorship agreement for developing a game, where they promote the game (say, on every 100th map served) and handle sales.

Re:Freedom (2, Insightful)

mr_matticus (928346) | about 4 years ago | (#33405862)

It's more than just that. It's absolutely true that the license sets the expectations. There is no legal difference between an open source and a proprietary license--the only differences are philosophical and in the contours of what the developers choose to allow. Everyone has the freedom to make or not make a project, and every creator has the right to determine the terms under which s/he shares that project. If you choose a broadly permissive license that requires nothing in return in terms of money or contribution, the expectation is that people will do things you don't really like. That is the meaning of freedom, and it must be accepted. If it is not acceptable, use a different license.

But to me, there is a bigger problem in that many, but certainly not all and hopefully not even most, open source advocates engage in mental gymnastics around the issue--working themselves into a lather about companies or individuals not giving back or breaking the "spirit" as they view it, stealing from these projects (and note how no one EVER false-pedant "corrects" with the 'it's not stealing' broken argument on a F/OSS story), while actively engaging in infringement of proprietary licenses. The sentiment is clear, but there is no reconciling this position.

The argument that "I wouldn't have bought Photoshop anyway, and they still have all of code and data, so it's no loss" applies equally, then, to Microsoft here--they wouldn't support this project anyway, and they still have all their original code and data, so there's no harm.

Obviously that's a broken argument, but a number of the posters here can't seem to navigate that disconnect.

Re:Freedom (1)

iusty (104688) | about 4 years ago | (#33405864)

So pray tell me, what does the GPL *force* you to do?

Re:Freedom (1)

ChipMonk (711367) | about 4 years ago | (#33405932)

Hand over the source, plus your patches, to whatever programs you are distributing. That, or lose your inventory in default judgment, a la Westinghouse Digital.

Re:Freedom (1)

Trepidity (597) | about 4 years ago | (#33405996)

The GPL is focused primarily on freedoms of end users rather than developers. From that perspective, the freedom the BSD license gives to developers to put proprietary licenses on their code isn't very pro-freedom for their users, since their users are now prohibited from modifying it.

Re:Freedom (1)

thoughtsatthemoment (1687848) | about 4 years ago | (#33406050)

From that perspective, the freedom the BSD license gives to developers to put proprietary licenses on their code isn't very pro-freedom for their users, since their users are now prohibited from modifying the modification.

FTFY

Re:Freedom (1)

Trepidity (597) | about 4 years ago | (#33406270)

Well, by "it", I mean "any software they receive". The GNU position is basically that end users should always be able to modify any software they receive.

Re:Freedom (1)

thoughtsatthemoment (1687848) | about 4 years ago | (#33406336)

The GNU position is basically that end users should always be able to modify any software they receive.

That might be costly. It'd take a fortune to educate some of the users to do that.

Re:Freedom (2, Informative)

tomhudson (43916) | about 4 years ago | (#33406052)

The GPL doesn't force you to do anything. You're entirely free to not use the code. If you use it, that is your choice, freely made (nobody's going to believe the Underpants Gnomes team up with the GNAA to install firefox on your pc).

As with any software, you're free to either (1) use the code, or (2) not use the code.

If you pick (1), abide by the licensing terms to the extent required by law.

If you pick (2), you need no longer abide by the license.

Note that if you pick (2), you still have to abide by copyright, etc., so I'm *not* saying that not using the code gives you an unlimited license to copy and redistribute in the case of proprietary code (only being pedantic in making the distinction because someone else will be a nazi :-)

Re:Freedom (2, Insightful)

flimflammer (956759) | about 4 years ago | (#33406184)

The GPL doesn't force you to do anything. You're entirely free to not use the code. If you use it, that is your choice, freely made (nobody's going to believe the Underpants Gnomes team up with the GNAA to install firefox on your pc).

That is a ridiculous notion. What you're essentially saying is the GPL does not impose any restrictions on you because you agreed to use the code and therefore accepted the restrictions. See the problem with that statement? The choice not to use the code in the first place does not mean there are no restrictions if you use it. It just means you have to abide by the restrictions when you do.

The GPL restrictive. If I use GPL code then I am forced to share my modifications with the world. I may not want to, but I have to. It also dictates what I can and can't include with my code because something I may have a license to use, those who try to use my code may not. That sounds an awful lot like restrictions to me.

As a preference I prefer to release my code under BSD because I support my code being truly free for everyone. I want anyone who wishes to use my code to be allowed to without compromising their own goals, even if that goal is financial in nature.

Re:Freedom (1)

nadaou (535365) | about 4 years ago | (#33406054)

you don't want to be bound by the terms of the gpl? fine, then don't use my copyrighted code in your product -- write your own. you want to use my copyrighted code in your project? fine, but here are my terms, in plain english.

if you were dumb enough to distribute my code without reading the short and in plain english license document which came with it, well that's really your own fault. don't get mad at me or my license, it is not like it is subtly designed to trick you into turning over your code, it's out there in plain sight.

you have the freedom to make your own choices; I have mine. Your version of 100% freedom is total anarchy, read some Rousseau [wikipedia.org] (avail now from the Gutenberg project for a low low price of nothing!).

Re:Freedom (1)

flimflammer (956759) | about 4 years ago | (#33406230)

That's completely beside the point. The discussion was over the fact that the GPL is a restrictive license, not someone being dumb enough to use GPL code without following the license. You're really just reaffirming that point.

Re:Freedom (1, Flamebait)

anon mouse-cow-aard (443646) | about 4 years ago | (#33405956)

The purpose of BSD is to get code out there and perhaps make a reputation for the developer. The freedom afforded is ephemeral since BSD gives others freedom to make code closed and provide no freedom to downstream users. with BSD license, the freedom extends to only a depth of 1. Any downstream developers have the ability to close the source and license only binaries downstream, end of freedoms.

GPL tries very hard to ensure that downstream users enjoy the same freedom as those who obtain the code directly. so the freedeom is self-replicating and goes on to those who receive code through intermediaries. There is an accrual of codes with inheritence that is inherent. Far more people have far more freedom when a GPL license is used.

An important effect of this is that anyone who works on GPL code tends to make it available, and it has the potential to make it back into the mainstream. The mainsteam can therefore integrate and grow stronger, and accumulate improvements, where in BSD the tendency is to fragment forever. There is no incentive to contribute back to the main stream. Hence the diaspora of bsd's in contrast with the relative unity of GPL licensed software.

GPL only limits freedom to the extent necessary to prevent others from removing freedoms for yet other licensees.

More code is made available with more freedoms to more people for more purposes with the GPL.

Re:Freedom (2, Interesting)

evilviper (135110) | about 4 years ago | (#33406146)

The purpose of BSD is to get code out there and perhaps make a reputation for the developer.

I expect a lot of BSD developers will step in here and call you an idiot for assuming you know what their motives are...

BSD gives others freedom to make code closed and provide no freedom to downstream users. with BSD license, the freedom extends to only a depth of 1.

Except EVERYONE can go back to the original (free) code, and do with it whatever they want. You're right that it doesn't push the developer's personal agenda on everyone who wants to redistribute it, but that's not freedom, it's a different type of proprietary.

GPL tries very hard to ensure that downstream users enjoy the same freedom as those who obtain the code directly

Proprietary software does the same thing...

An important effect of this is that anyone who works on GPL code tends to make it available,

Right. You are REQUIRED to contribute your changes to the public. Using your own metric: the freedom extends to only a depth of 0.

and it has the potential to make it back into the mainstream. The mainsteam can therefore integrate and grow stronger, and accumulate improvements, where in BSD the tendency is to fragment forever. There is no incentive to contribute back to the main stream. Hence the diaspora of bsd's in contrast with the relative unity of GPL licensed software.

Now this is just stupid. The BSDs are all open source, under a single license. The fact that they aren't all unified isn't because somebody close-up the source code. It's the LSB that keeps one distro of Linux to another, largely compatible, NOT the GPL.

GPL only limits freedom to the extent necessary to prevent others from removing freedoms for yet other licensees.

No, if it wanted to do that, it would simply require the original source code be provided. The GPL wants to FORCE you to provide any changes YOU made, to others.

More code is made available with more freedoms to more people for more purposes with the GPL.

Are you suggesting it's somehow easier to get the source code for (eg.) GNU tar than it is for BSD tar? I fail to see how that's even possible.

Re:Freedom (1)

obarel (670863) | about 4 years ago | (#33406364)

Well said.

GPL is a way to force your ideology on others - whether it's a "good" ideology or not is open to discussion.
BSD is a way to not force your ideology on others.

Which one allows more freedoms is pretty obvious.

The GPL wants to FORCE you to provide any changes YOU made, to others.

I would argue that it's worse than that, because it's not only changes to the original code. Even if you link your code against a GPLed library you must provide your own code. I fail to see how writing a speech recognition system that uses readline somehow makes the speech engine "changes to readline", but maybe I'm just an idiot.

Re:Freedom (1)

tomhudson (43916) | about 4 years ago | (#33406186)

And yet ond BSD disto, FreeBSD, has 5 of the top 10 places on Netcraft including the Top 4 [netcraft.com] .

The 4 linux distros in the top 10 are much more fragmented. CentOS, Fedora, a couple that aren't so easily identified ...

When I think BSD, I think of only 3 - FreeBSD, OpenBSD, and NetBSD. When I think linux, on the other hand ...

Legally fine, socially deplorable (1)

KonoWatakushi (910213) | about 4 years ago | (#33405962)

While I agree with your sentiment about the BSD license, that is completely beside the point.

This is about community, and open source is no different. If one monetizes the work of others, it is only natural to contribute something back. People and companies are free not to, but they certainly deserve shame for acting in such a manner, especially in a case like this.

The very existence of the GPL is a sad reflection upon our society. One shouldn't need the law to force people to act in a responsible and courteous manner. That also applies to the BSD license, though its demands are more reasonable.

Re:Freedom (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33405974)

There is nothing hypocritical about hoping that users will contribute either financially or through feedback and code without making it part of the license.

When I give christmas gifts to my family I have an expectation that they will gift me to, just because I didn't include a legally binding form requiring them to do so it does not make me a hypocrite.
Of cause you can have a free license and still expect those who profit from your work to contribute back.

As for how to make Microsoft contribute, just keep giving them bad press for being leeches on open software until they decide that it's better to pay or help you. They are trying quite hard to label themselves as open source friendly, make them put their money where there mouths are.

Re:Freedom (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33405976)

None of these licences apply to OSM. Map data isn't protected by copyright in the US or anywhere else, really. Some countries have what is called database rights, but the popular Open Source licences haven't been adapted accordingly.

Re:Freedom (1)

Mr. Freeman (933986) | about 4 years ago | (#33406068)

Not necessarily. It's not hypocritical to expect people to not act like jerks. Sure, personal users not contributing back to the project is one thing. But a huge company like microsoft refusing to help out something that makes them money is a dick move.

Re:Freedom (1)

Blakey Rat (99501) | about 4 years ago | (#33406228)

But the project says right there in bold print, "hey, come use this data. It's free."

You can't fault Microsoft for using the data when the project *asks* people to use the data. That's ridiculous. I mean, we can debate back and forth all day, but if there's a sign that says "free apples" and I take an apple, you can't get pissy after-the-fact that I didn't pay you a dollar.

It's really that simple.

If you want Microsoft to do something in exchange for the data, well, fine, but then you can't go around calling it "free" anymore because it ain't. It's really, really that simple.

Re:Freedom (2, Insightful)

Angst Badger (8636) | about 4 years ago | (#33406166)

Purpose of the BSD license also is to let everyone use code freely the way they want, the only true form of freedom. Once you start demanding something more than attribution you're removing freedom and limiting what people can do, making it no better than just having a commercial license. This is also why I view BSD license as way more free than GPL, which has many, many limitations forced upon you. Not really the definition of freedom, is it?

I wish to heck that people would stop having arguments over the definition of "freedom" as if they were debating something substantial. It's like debating the definition of "art" or the value of the variable x. The meaning depends upon who's using it and in what context. The BSD license is more free in the sense that you're using the word, and less free in the sense that GPL advocates use the word. Neither side is right or wrong, and at least for a concept as vague (in both cases) as "freedom", there is no "true form of freedom". (In your case, public domain is freer than the BSD license.) Both sides are stubbornly arguing over terminology. More disturbingly, an awful lot of people seem to be unable to tell the difference between words/symbols and the things to which they refer.

Free software advocates really need to understand that if you want to have true freedom, you have to let people use the project the way the want to and stop tossing a fit when someone doesn't contribute back to it.

This much is obvious. If giving things away was a good way to get things in return, it would have supplanted the selling of things thousands of years ago. What free software advocates really need to do is to decide whether they're generously contributing to the common good or running a business. With the exception of full-blown non-profit organizations -- which are not trivial undertakings -- the two goals are mutually exclusive. And yes, expecting for-profit businesses not to take anything cheap or free they can get and turn around and sell it at a premium, value-added or not, is breathtakingly naïve. Speaking of definitions, that's what "business" means.

Re:Freedom (1)

vadim_t (324782) | about 4 years ago | (#33406240)

Free software advocates really need to understand that if you want to have true freedom, you have to let people use the project the way the want to and stop tossing a fit when someone doesn't contribute back to it. If you expect or want to get contributions back, you should choose a license that requires it. Otherwise you're being quite a hypocrite about free software.

Exactly. If you want something in return, ask for it.

Purpose of the BSD license also is to let everyone use code freely the way they want, the only true form of freedom. Once you start demanding something more than attribution you're removing freedom and limiting what people can do, making it no better than just having a commercial license. This is also why I view BSD license as way more free than GPL, which has many, many limitations forced upon you. Not really the definition of freedom, is it?

I don't give a damn if you or anybody else thinks which license is "more free", "less free", or "communist" or whatever other label you want to use for it. I use the GPL because it does what I want to. If you want to convince me that I should license my software under the BSD, then try explaining why would that be in my interest. Arguments about semantics aren't going to do it.

Re:Freedom (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33406332)

Yes, true freedom is being able to do anything you want, regardless of how it reduces others' freedoms. If a software license limits you from modifying it in ways that would limit others' freedoms, then it's limiting your precious freedom and it should be avoided at all costs.

So lets say they make some money... (1)

BiggerIsBetter (682164) | about 4 years ago | (#33405778)

Let's say they figure out how to make money from allegedly doing good things. Are they going to return it to their contributors as well?

Speaking of which, where's my cheque for contributing to Slashdot's value for all these years?

Re:So lets say they make some money... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33405806)

Your contribution is worth effectively zero. Now mine on the other hand, is probably in the millions.

Re:So lets say they make some money... (3, Insightful)

hedwards (940851) | about 4 years ago | (#33405814)

That's my thought on the matter. Cash is usually to cover the cost of a resource and generally not expected if a person is being expected to contribute his or her time and effort. With /. users with sufficient karma are allowed to deactivate ads officially as a reward for contributing in other ways. I'd say in this case, that unless there's value being added which can't otherwise be had that donations or ads, but presumably not both, would be reasonable. But if you go that route all of a sudden that raises the expectations a great deal.

Re:So lets say they make some money... (1)

Cylix (55374) | about 4 years ago | (#33405944)

You get the "no ads" option if you are recognized as a valued member.

It's not worth a whole lot if you already have ad blocking software or are a paying subscriber. (I'm both).

It is a bit of a bonus for when I am on my work pc.

Unfortunately, It is frightfully inadequate when compared to the billions of dollars Mr. Taco swims in everyday... (like Scrooge McDuck in his money vault).

Re:So lets say they make some money... (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about 4 years ago | (#33406014)

Your post started at (Score:1), so apparently your karma isn't so great. Try not writing so many drunken troll posts ;)

Re:So lets say they make some money... (1)

BiggerIsBetter (682164) | about 4 years ago | (#33406266)

World peace might be easy, yet peace on an internet forum seems to be beyond you.

My karma is excellent, however your view of it may vary depending on your preferences...

Re:So lets say they make some money... (1)

Blakey Rat (99501) | about 4 years ago | (#33406298)

I lost my karma bonus of 6+ years because some asswipe decided he was going to mod all of my posts for a couple weeks -1 Troll. No matter how good the content of them. The mod system is pretty easy to manipulate, really-- especially knowing now that 2 weeks of "random asshole" can undo 6+ years of good karma.

Anyway, point is, don't worry about points. They're stupid, and totally useless for gauging the worth of a poster.

Go For Donations (1)

Ltap (1572175) | about 4 years ago | (#33405842)

If it's true F/OSS, if people want to use it, they will use it no matter what the developers want. Other than approaching car mapping/GPS systems manufacturers, there isn't much they can do in an overtly commercial sense. This is one of the problems with OSS that isn't userspace software or something well-known; users don't hear about it and they don't get donations. If they asked their users (Bing, Mapquest, etc.) to make it more clear that OSM forms the main portion of whatever they are trying to use it for, it might get more recognition and attention.

Re:Go For Donations (1)

bcmm (768152) | about 4 years ago | (#33405896)

This is one of the problems with OSS that isn't userspace software or something well-known;

Make that user-facing software - I recall a Slashdot article a while back about how best to ensure that projects like OpenSSL get some of the money that people throw at more visible stuff, like Firefox, that depends upon it.

Re:Go For Donations (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33406002)

If they asked their users (Bing, Mapquest, etc.) to make it more clear that OSM forms the main portion of whatever they are trying to use it for, it might get more recognition and attention.

I thought I'd check out how exactly Bing was using OSM and it would appear that they are offering it as an alternative layer:
Bing Maps Adds OpenStreetMap [bing.com]
If you follow the link to the maps [bing.com] it says "(c) OpenStreetMap (and) contributors, CC-BY".
I think the reason they're doing it is to show off serving map data from the Azure CDN and the APIs of Bing itself. More an interesting side project really.

Loose gets started, then squeeze (1)

cellurl (906920) | about 4 years ago | (#33405894)

If I were them, I would demand more from bing.com
You can sit around, or you can evolve.

Worse case, bing would buy them like Suse or whatever...

Wikipedia evolved to finally moving to San Francisco and tightening the editing rules.
You will make some enemies. Have a tough skin. Keep track of your loyal fans and let them vote!

That's what we do at WikiSPEEDia [wikispeedia.org]

-jim

Re:Loose gets started, then squeeze (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33405906)

Nice ad you got there, Jim.

They already make money out of OSM (2, Interesting)

Lord Satri (609291) | about 4 years ago | (#33405904)

There are plenty of commercial uses of OSM already, and some are making quite enough money out of it. One that I personally use is offmaps.com, but that's obviously barely the tip of the iceberg.

But the question is whether OSM can make money out of it or not. Considering CloudMade are paying 40 employees [wikipedia.org] , I guess they *do* can make money out of it, by "providing APIs for web sites, applications, and devices to use the rendered map data." (source is Wikipedia, probably the CloudMade website would provide more details [cloudmade.com] .)

OSM is an example of success: open geospatial data and business profit.

Re:They already make money out of OSM (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33406252)

Nah, not quite yet. Cloudmade are still VC funded.

Re: CloudMade raised over $12M in series B = money (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33406338)

That's the way to make money (they must have had series A funding also), and they are using OpenStreetMap data (from cloudmade website).
Raising money from VCs is no guarantee they'll ever make any, but it's much easier (as i should know having raised quite a lot of money from VCs, unfortunately without making any in return mostly) (which is why I'm posting on slashdot in the middle of the night, instead of hanging out on my imaginary yacht)

file a bunch of patents (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33405908)

1) online maps
2) online maps that are the product of wiki collaboration
3) online maps that also feature advertising
4) online maps that have markers for stores that paid for advertising
5) online maps that can be personalized for markers for sites visited by the user (I actually haven't seen this yet)
6) online maps that provide a marked route
7) online maps that also feature music, audio, or video clips

Wait a few years, then hire a law firm in East Texas to send nasty letters to every tech firm they can find. The fact that most or all of these have been done many years ago, well that doesn't seem to matter does it.

Like Timmy here (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33405916)

"Giving back" to Roblimo's contribution by throwing some traffic that way...

Shut the fuck up already.

How do I pronounce nekulturny? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33405918)

How do I pronounce nekulturny?

Re:How do I pronounce nekulturny? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33406138)

joo-ish

I can think of a couple (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33405960)

1 publish in a large newspaper the fact that ms is using this and giving nothing in return while at the same time patenting the obvious and throwing rocks at the community and hindering progress. The second is to temporarily cut off access due to lack of money and apologize as publicly as possible to the ms customers. Another is a fundraiser to save ms maps who rely on an underfunded project. You must call it ms maps bailout fund. That word resonates with people nowadays for some reason. Remember! You have to get dirty to play with pigs. :)

Paid ads? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33405966)

Start selling adds at places on the map.

Re:Paid ads? (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | about 4 years ago | (#33405982)

Yeah or sell a service to map commercial developments.

Re:Paid ads? (1)

Megahard (1053072) | about 4 years ago | (#33405994)

It's 15 miles from Smithville to Rivertown. From Rivertown to Hillsborough is 23 miles. How far from Smithville to Hillsborough? That will cost you $2.50.

I hope you all remember this... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33406016)

They just take from the project and do nothing for it in return.

If you all agreed that MS is rat bastards for pulling this kinds of tricks just remember that the next time someone goes on one of their MAFIAA rants. After all, Microsoft just made a copy... and did it all legal like, unlike the pirates who wave their flags high around here.

If it sucks when Microsoft does it, it sucks more when you do it.

No (1)

thoughtsatthemoment (1687848) | about 4 years ago | (#33406024)

To make money you have to specialize, and not try to emulate Google or Bing. If your strength is just being better, they will copy you or be motivated to outdo you. It's not just map or open source. It's always difficult to make money when there is a big player or two around to give the product away (for a strategic purpose of course).

Re:No (1)

Dr. Evil (3501) | about 4 years ago | (#33406158)

OSM started before Google maps was launched, and certainly before Bing.

MapQuest is participating in Free Software sense (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33406036)

The accusation that MapQuest only take from OpenStreetMap is untrue. MapQuest have already contributed publicly to OpenStreetMap in fine Free Software fashion.

When MapQuest announced their new http://open.mapquest.co.uk beta project with OpenStreetMap data, they had already sponsored development in two key OSM subprojects (Mapnik http://mapnik.org and nominatim http://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Nominatim). Since their announcement, MapQuest have released "code" in the form of their Mapnik style sheets. They have also announced US$1Million of support earmarked for projects that improve OpenStreetMap data in the US.

http://opengeodata.org/mapquest-announce-openstreetmap-support

Both MapQuest and Microsoft sponsored the recent OpenStreetMap State of the Map conference in Girona Spain.

And besides, if OSM is a truly Open project, there is no obligation to contribute, beyond compliance with the license terms of the project. Just as many use Firefox without "contributing" to the Mozilla project.

--rweait

Re:MapQuest is participating in Free Software sens (4, Informative)

Sir_Lewk (967686) | about 4 years ago | (#33406092)

The accusation that MapQuest only take from OpenStreetMap is untrue.

Mapquest supports the project with money for equipment and access to the code they've written to integrate OSM's work with their display.

Second sentence of the fucking summary. Who is making that accusation?

Re:MapQuest is participating in Free Software sens (2)

SWroclawski (95770) | about 4 years ago | (#33406354)

> Who is making that accusation?

Probably the same guy whose voting my comment down clarifying things I was quoted on in the original article.

Ask for Donations (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33406058)

If you ask money in the right way, showing some goals to reach, people are willing to donate. Do like the Blender's Foundation or the Diaspora guys. Ask money to work full time on some features you want to add on top of OpenStreetMap.

Legally ok... Morally not. (1)

neuro-commando (1888256) | about 4 years ago | (#33406076)

Taking the hard-work of the open-source community and making money off it without any acknowledgement or payment to the origin of the product is just immoral, not that it matters much, but it does a great job of making you come off as an asshole. Like was said, Legally Ok. I don't think they're bitching because Microsoft using it, but rather, because Microsoft is taking their hard work and making a profit off it without doing anything in return. In Polish, we have a word for this kind of behavior: Hamstwo (Haamstvo-phonetically). No one's bitching from a legal standpoint, they understand Microsoft is allowed to do this, they're just annoyed at the disregard these people are showing.

CDDB (1)

Disk Pickable (80010) | about 4 years ago | (#33406090)

Want to make a few bucks off your collection of free, user-submitted content? Just pull a CDDB. [wikipedia.org]

Misleading writeup (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33406096)

The writeup is VERY misleading. Serge Wroclawski is one of the founders of the OSM US non-profit that was formed to help promote and organize OSM activities in the US. I'm not sure of his involvement beyond that, but he is probably an avid mapper. Basically it is a US chapter of the http://www.osmfoundation.org/wiki/Main_Page [osmfoundation.org]

That said there is a need for them to raise money so they can actually do thing to promote and organize activities for US OSM members. Things like mapping parties and the use of GPS's for volunteers. Getting more people involved with mapping. Any legal activities, verifying government data copyrights, liability issues. There is talk of trying to do a promotional tour in a van or small bus.

As far as raising money, OSM and it's CC-SA (or ODBL) license has no problem with either the organization or an individual using the data to make money. I believe paper maps and t-shirts have been made and sold in the past. As long as any changes/additions to the data is contributed back there is not a conflict.

Definition (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33406114)

They just take from the project and do nothing for it in return

That is regrettably all too often the definition of "corporation".

Registration needed? (1)

chiui (1120973) | about 4 years ago | (#33406254)

Never ever link to a "registration needed" site.
I actually understand more (but still dislike) a paysite, they at least have some motivation to require a tedious register/login procedure.

Clarifications (5, Informative)

SWroclawski (95770) | about 4 years ago | (#33406306)

I want to make a few clarifications to the article.

1. This was, as Roblimo points out, a Facebook chat. This wasn't an interview and I didn't know it was going to be the subject of an article. I was having a conversation with a friend, but when friends are reporters... well mea culpa.

2. Bing is not doing evil here. They are in full compliance with the license as far as I know. And they have expressed interest in offering the project help in the future. I stated a fact, which is that nothing concrete has some out yet, but that's not quite the same "they don't give back.". It's my hope that they will do something for the project, but they're not required to.

3. Lots of companies use OpenStreetMap to make money. There's nothing wrong with that. And many of the same individuals who make money off OSM are its biggest supporters in terms of spreading the word, in terms of helping support the OpenStreetMap Foundation, and by going out and mapping their neighborhoods. There's no separation in my mind between these people and other contributors.

4. The license is essentially attribution-sharealike. It's like the GPL. If there's modification of our data, they're required to make it available to others under the same terms as they received it. That's the license, and that's what everyone is following.

I want to make sure this confusion is cleared up, and if there are any other impressions that are wrong based on this article, I want to apologize for them.

- Serge

When you give it away, you will be abused (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33406310)

I have worked for many large companies and I can say that if you give it away, they will take it. Open source is scattered in all of my projects of the last 1- years, including Zipping, creating PDFs, displaying graphics, emailing, many tools and the like. I get paid and the people who's software is used receives nothing. The US government uses tons of LAMP. My previous customer is converting from Windows based systems to LAMP to save them money. Linux, Apache, Mysql and PHP will get nothing, but some manager will get big bonuses for saving them money.

When you give it away, you receive no respect.

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