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Can an Open Source Map Project Make Money? 304

Posted by timothy
from the one-of-the-coolest-projects-ever dept.
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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Can an Open Source Map Project Make Money?

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  • Freedom (Score:5, Insightful)

    by odies (1869886) * on Saturday August 28, 2010 @06:30PM (#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 (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Frosty Piss (770223) on Saturday August 28, 2010 @06:35PM (#33405744)
      Indeed. If you expect people to "give back", put it in the licence, otherwise quit bitching.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Darkness404 (1287218)
        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
        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by oldhack (1037484)
          I hate tipping, and I hate this bogus whining. Change the license or shut up.
          • Re:Freedom (Score:5, Interesting)

            by Darkness404 (1287218) on Saturday August 28, 2010 @07:28PM (#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 (Score:4, Insightful)

              by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Saturday August 28, 2010 @08:45PM (#33406380)

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

              The reason someone who does those things is an asshole is because he is violating an implied social contract.
              It's effectively impossible to enforce that contract either privately or legislatively, but it's still a contract.

              In the case of stuff like software and map information, it is significantly easier to enforce a contract. After all, they already have a contract in place to begin with, it just doesn't contain the terms that (apparently) the developer would like. Since the contract is completely under his control, he should add those terms (and be prepared for any unintended consequences that occur as a result too).

            • Re:Freedom (Score:5, Insightful)

              by DRJlaw (946416) on Saturday August 28, 2010 @10:16PM (#33406700)

              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.

              Conversely, you would apparently become apoplectic if you signed a contract to fight in a boxing match and then got punched in the head in round 1.

              Copyright and License
              OpenStreetMap is open data, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 licence (CC-BY-SA).

              You are free to copy, distribute, transmit and adapt our maps and data, as long as you credit OpenStreetMap and its contributors. If you alter or build upon our maps or data, you may distribute the result only under the same licence. The full legal code explains your rights and responsibilities.

              That is the invitation that this project made. They 'signed a contract' that explicitly said that Bing could do exactly what it is doing. Not quite analogous to getting a door unexpectedly slammed in your face, now is it?

              • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                by anyGould (1295481)

                Which means as long as Microsoft is crediting OpenStreetMap, they're in compliance.

                And this, boys and girls, is why you should put the "NonCommerical" part in your CC license - so that Big Company doesn't take your little community project and make all the cash.

        • 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: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by OzPeter (195038)

          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 (Score:5, Insightful)

          by vadim_t (324782) on Saturday August 28, 2010 @07:48PM (#33406154) Homepage

          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: (Score:3, Interesting)

            There's still plenty of strings attached with the BSD license, like a disclaimer on warranty, and it requires people to refrain from suing the authors if their software harms them.

            If you truly don't want to put strings in, then public domain it, and put no other conditions or disclaimers in it at all.

        • 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 t

        • Re:Freedom (Score:5, Insightful)

          by evilviper (135110) on Saturday August 28, 2010 @07:55PM (#33406202) Journal

          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.

          • by grumbel (592662)

            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: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by daveime (1253762)

              Donation : A voluntary gift (as of money or service or ideas) made to some worthwhile cause.

              The operative word is VOLUNTARY.

              If they actually meant OBLIGATORY, then they should have bloody written it down.

          • Re:Freedom (Score:4, Insightful)

            by hey! (33014) on Saturday August 28, 2010 @10:18PM (#33406704) Homepage Journal

            I feel entitled to withhold a tip if I get bad service, but it's actually in my self interest to tip reasonable or good service. This is the way waitresses and waiters are compensated in our culture, and it's actually a reasonably good system for me as a diner. Basically, dealing with the public sucks. The tip system gives servers an incentive to put the schmuck who came in earlier behind them and give me good service.

            Now there are people who feel entitled to repay good service with no tip, but the system would not work if everyone did what they did. Waiters and waitresses aren't paid a living wage, and if everyone stiffed the people who waited on them, we'd have to raise the wages of the servers and roll that into the food prices. Then there'd be no incentive except professional pride for a server to make an effort to take care of me after they'd had a crappy experience with the last customer. And we certainly don't want to pay the kind of wages that buy professional pride.

            So in a nutshell, people who don't tip are contemptible freeloaders, but there's no way to eliminate the possibility of freeloading without eliminating incentive pay (i.e., "tips"). Stiffing a waiter who has given you acceptable service certainly *is* immoral.

            Now as this applies to open source projects, its not exactly the same situation, but the same issue of enlightened self-interest apply. If one benefits from an open source project and are in a position to help that project, it is quite reasonable to do so. It wouldn't kill Microsoft to throw some help the developer's way in this case, as Mapquest has done. It's just common sense.

            Where it might get interesting is if Microsoft actually thinks that helping the project is against its own interest. In that case, they're quite entitled to even work against the project while at the same time benefiting from it. But in that case the rest of us who benefit from that project might well question whether we want to encourage Microsoft to act this way.

            Let me say for the record I don't think Microsoft is pursuing rational self-interest here. I don't think that giving back, even in rational self-interest, is part of the corporate culture there. It's a company renowned for people undermining each other within the organization itself.

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

        • Re:Freedom (Score:4, Informative)

          by houghi (78078) on Saturday August 28, 2010 @08:10PM (#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 (Score:4, Funny)

          by DeadboltX (751907) on Saturday August 28, 2010 @08:22PM (#33406296)
          * A 20% gratuity will be added to corporations with a market value of 100 billion dollars or more.
          • by Minwee (522556)
            But Bing is already adding a 30% tip on top of what they were being charged. What's the problem?
          • by erpbridge (64037)

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

            And what corporations will do is the same as companies have been doing for a very long time: find the loophole, exploit it. In this case, they will create a child company or something that is not them that is worth less than that cap so they don't have to pay, or define themselves as not being a corporation.

            Or, use creative accounting to massage their books so that their market value is not X amount, but so that all their assets still add up the same.

        • US != World (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Roger W Moore (538166) on Saturday August 28, 2010 @08:55PM (#33406406) Journal

          Its like tipping, nowhere does it say that you -must- tip (unless the tip is included with the bill) but its still common courtesy.

          Unless you are in Japan where it is insulting, or Europe where service is included.

        • by DRJlaw (946416)

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

          Quite often, it does. Especially when you've sat down and written a detailed agreement that says this:

          This License constitutes the entire agreement between the parties with respect to the Work licensed here. There are no understandings, agreements or representations with respect to the Work not specified here.

          See Section 8, subsection e [creativecommons.org].

          Once you've taken the time to draw up (or adopt) a detailed contract or

        • by dbIII (701233)
          Tipping is a demeaning solution to a disgusting problem. The employer doesn't pay enough for his workers to make a living so they have to rely on the charity of strangers. It means people have to beg for money in their own workplace and can never be sure they will bring home enough money for a full days work.
          It's a very poor model for anything.
        • 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....

          If you have a huge company using said software to a ridiculous degree, isn't that alone a huge win for Open Source?

          I think, given what Open Source stands for, you're just being greedy at that point.

      • by FooAtWFU (699187)

        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?

      • by Trepidity (597)

        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.

        • by spinkham (56603)

          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

    • by Manfre (631065)

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

    • by cgenman (325138)

      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 po

        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
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by mr_matticus (928346)

      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 o

    • Re: (Score:2, Flamebait)

      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 dire

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by evilviper (135110)

        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

        • by obarel (670863)

          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 re

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            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.

            That's true. GPL's purpose is to get more code out there, and it doesn't care if you agree or not. While BSD may provide more freedoms for the code provided, GPL provides more free code.

            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 a

        • 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...

          Regardless of a developers motivation, the only practical effect is accurately characterized.

          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.

          yes everyone can go back to the original, and companies, given the choice, will always retain their IP, especially if they do not think other companies will contribute theirs. Game theory tells us that, it is a lot like prisoners dilemma. The GPL makes it economically sane for a private company to contribute because they know any other company using it will have to contribute too. BSD is a recipe for poverty o

      • by tomhudson (43916)

        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 ...

        • only 3 BSD's. ok what about this list of derivatives from freebsd alone: http://www.freebsdnews.net/systems/ [freebsdnews.net] which mentions:OS X, MidnightBSD, DragonflyBSD, PC-BSD, Tomahawk Desktop, Monowall, pfsens, freeNAS, hamfreesbie, trueBSD, RoFreeSBIE, GhostBSD, TinyBSD, nanoBSD, Evoke... which are afaict bsd distros...

          Openbsd proudly lists their commercial spin-offs: http://www.openbsd.org/products.html [openbsd.org], RTMX, syscall, Genua, vantronix, Fox-IT, LegatoCRM, MyRestaurant, are essentially derivative distros of openb

    • 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 co

    • 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: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Angst Badger (8636)

      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

    • by vadim_t (324782)

      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, th

    • dude, just because it's _legal_ doesn't mean it's _ethical_.

      we can and do bitch about unethical atitudes, regardless of legality.

    • by murdocj (543661)

      Exactly. If Bing is using the project according to the license, they are operating correctly. If you want people to PAY for something, sell it. If you want people to use it freely, let them use it freely.

  • 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: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

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

    • by hedwards (940851) on Saturday August 28, 2010 @06:46PM (#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.
    • by Cylix (55374) *

      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).

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

        • Calm down man. You started the conversation by asking for payment from Slashdot. The whole thing is a joke, not worth getting upset about.
  • 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 f
    • by bcmm (768152)

      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.

  • by Lord Satri (609291) <alexandreleroux@gma i l .com> on Saturday August 28, 2010 @06:59PM (#33405904) Homepage Journal

    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.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    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.
  • 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).
  • Clarifications (Score:5, Informative)

    by SWroclawski (95770) <{gro.ikswalcorw} {ta} {egres}> on Saturday August 28, 2010 @08:24PM (#33406306) Homepage

    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

    • Re:Clarifications (Score:5, Insightful)

      by rhendershot (46429) on Saturday August 28, 2010 @09:48PM (#33406598) Journal

      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'm sorry you couldn't get that into the OP. I have had my fill of /. sensationalisms.

    • Re:Clarifications (Score:4, Interesting)

      by DerekLyons (302214) <[moc.liamg] [ta] [retawriaf]> on Saturday August 28, 2010 @11:49PM (#33407036) Homepage

      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.

      No, it's not your fault - it's the fault of the unethical jackass who took a personal conversation and made a public post of it.

  • by firefishy (598589) on Saturday August 28, 2010 @09:19PM (#33406482) Homepage
    I'm part of the OpenStreetMap sysadmin team... We think it is great that Bing is using our open map data! Hell them using our data is great promotion for our project. We currently have no need to ask them for anything back and I'm sure if we tapped them, they would be supportive. Our project is about creating great open map data, not about becoming rich. Is Bing working on improve OpenStreetMap's open data further? Quite likely. They win, we win.
  • by Blymie (231220)

    Maybe I'm missing something, but Bing and their map product is VERY VERY new. Hell, it's been out of 'beta' for what, a year?

    How many people are even using their app? How many apps for mobile phones, exist, that use Bing Maps?

    It generally takes time to get these sorts of things worked out. Heck, look at Google! I've tried to have multiple issues fixed in my region. Streets labeled wrong, missing streets, extra streets that don't exist.

    Do you think they've bothered fixing any of that.. even though I sub

  • Government subsidies (Score:3, Interesting)

    by CharlyFoxtrot (1607527) on Sunday August 29, 2010 @06:04AM (#33407978)

    How about some government support ? Governments already have to have accurate maps on hand and should have the data. So pitch it to them as a way to both outsource the hosting of the data and make it freely and easily available for their citizens and businesses. As a plus they could then easily integrate it into their online offerings too, which in my experience often are lacking in the map area. If data doesn't exist yet in digital form (or in an incompatible form) then the openstreetmap community could be leveraged to digitize it.

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