User:Mnalis/Archive

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Party renderer talk page

Can you retest bbox again? Looks like that directory was missed when the dev server was changed. I've restored the directory from backup but haven't checked it in any detail. Ojw 13:46, 22 December 2009 (UTC)

yeah, it seems to be working now, thanks! In my example, video.py was trying with [1] to make a Party Video at [2]. As it now works and map is perfectly aligned with GPS tracks, I would say it is fixed now. Thanks again! --mnalis 18:12, 22 December 2009 (UTC)


Licensing

Licensing intro

"Plan" page used to say "Get more free time to contribute more to this project. Get some more free (as in freedom) PDA/phone with better GPS software. Help with Croatian wiki pages to define standard mapping rules."

Now, as of 2010/06, it is more like "wait and see how the re-licensing madness is going to end, and how much data in OSM (including my own) will have to be destroyed, and how the community will respond - following OSMF, forking the project, or giving up and submitting to Google Maps or something instead (if you have to give up your rights to someone else who sets the rules, why not choose the big guy?), etc."

But there is still some possibility it might turn out OK. The hope dies last, eh?

Even so, some of the damage is already here, even before the decision is final -- even if (currently) just for a minority of people who've been following "the boring legal issues" and think those OSM data freedom issues (and related community impacts) I talk about in Licensing Issues section (and linked pages) are relevant. Half a year before, I would now be out making tracks and submitting data to OSM; but now I instead wonder why bother wasting my time if it is probably going to be deleted or obsoleted (or otherwise unusable for many) in just a few months ?

Licensing issues

After reading a lot of pro and contra arguments for switching to Open Database License instead of current CC-BY-SA; although I do prefer copyleft licenses I must agree with ODbL comments from Creative Commons that (due to various problems) copyleft licenses like CC-BY-SA and ODbL (in case of data, and especially OpenStreetMap maps) are far more damaging to the freedoms than they help retain them. In particular, it seems that ODbL would block too many uses of the OSM - even the ones that nobody is against!

Also, while ODbL makes many problems for legitimate users who want to keep the data free (not to mention the transition itself will likely damage/remove many of your contributions, no matter if you are for or against ODbL!), it does not actually help keep the data free any more than current CC-BY-SA - there are quite a few ways the Evil co. could easily extend OSM data with proprietary data and never share (ODbL even explicitly makes it legal in many cases, as opposed to CC-BY-SA -- for example by saying maps made from OSM data are not derivative works at all etc). There is even bigger problem with new Contributor Terms, where (as of recently) you transfer all of your rights to OSMF and allow them to change the licence without even asking you again - even to something non-free which would stop you as a contributor from using it -- if enough of them vote so.

As the main page of OpenStreetMap says "OpenStreetMap creates and provides free geographic data such as street maps to anyone who wants them. The project was started because most maps you think of as free actually have legal or technical restrictions on their use, holding back people from using them in creative, productive, or unexpected ways", I agree that OpenStreetMap should aim to free people of legal restrictions (as it had freed them from technical ones), and it looks like going to some public-domain-alike license is the only way to actually accomplish that. See Legal soap-box#In_favour of Public domain for more arguments for public domain.

I've been member of OSMF and have tried to make people realize the possible/probable damages of such licence change, and suggest the Public Domain/CC0 way instead if the change is really necessary. Sadly, I tried and failed, the OSMF vote for OdBL passed, and as of 2010-06-02, it seems there is still the big push for changing to ODbL, which I'm afraid will greatly damage not only the current/future OSM database itself, but even more the community. And community spirit is not something you can restore from backup and try again.

There is also my more detailed explanation in Croatian on [talk-hr mailing list], or in English on my talk page

Talk page

Keep up

spreading the word about the nonsense of the switch to ODbL! Don't get discouraged. While we won't be able to stop the minority who is dominating the project we can still make some people think and learn for the future! :-) --amai 22:48, 7 July 2010 (UTC)

Clarification on the new contributor terms

You said: "... you transfer all of your rights to OSMF and allow them to change the licence without even asking you again - even to something non-free which would stop you as a contributor from using it -- if enough of them vote so."

This is not true. If the OSMF wants to change the license, they have to ask the active contributors yet again. And they can only change the license to something that is open and free. If OSMF changes the license without the approval of the active contributors or change it to something that is non-free, then the OSMF is in breach of the Contributor Terms. --seav 03:13, 9 July 2010 (UTC)

Sarcasm!? Even on the OSMF mailinglist there was no vote in favor of it, however they continued with the ODbL crap. So if you rely on OSMF you are f***ed. --amai 18:52, 9 July 2010 (UTC)
Seav -- But it is true. Maybe I wasn't clear enough - I'll try to go more in depth here. OSMF does not have to get approval from you or me, they only have to get approval of majority of active contributors, as you correctly notice. That is a big difference. Under previous terms, I was the only owner of my data and had control over how I will share it with the world, and so I myself could choose if I agree with some new licence or not for my data (as the other thing, I also had a democratic voice about how things should be changed). So they had to ask me if I want to relicense my data under new licence. With new Contributor Terms, I cannot choose anymore how I want to licence my data in OSM, instead OSMF gets to choose that for me, weather I like it or not. I still have that democratic voice to vote and try to persuade OSMF about how things should be changed, but I have lost that other, IMHO much more important freedom.
So the difference is enormous, at least for me. It is like a difference between being free to walk whereever you want to go, *or* having a vote in democratic process (with lots of other people) to choose an authority which will order each and every one of you where you must march every day. IMHO, ability to influence to which master you will be slaved is somewhat different to freedom.
"the majority" issue is also problematic. People look at the democracy via simple majority vote as a silver bullet that always provides justice, but it is not. Without additional safeguards to boost the power of minorities (and that one is missing in new Contributor Terms), democratic process will necessarily lead to "Tyranny by the majority". Or, if you'd like it rephrased, majority voting only works for those who are in majority - it always sucks if you happen to be in minority. Given that the majority is almost always mostly politically inactive and thus very prone to propaganda from current leadership, they will almost always default to following the OSMF with thoughts in line of "as they have put so much time to understand the issues, they probably know the best". I've seen it even on OSMF list, which is by definition much more abundant with people who actually will take additional effort; as of the general OSM population, majority (and that is all that is needed!) will most likely obediently follow whatever OSMF puts before them. I'm of the opinion that this is putting way too much power (and unnecessarily!!) in the hands of OSMF, and giving anyone too much power always proves disastorous in the end (even if they are as of now all great guys!). There is also an additional technical problem and that is that ballot stuffing by creating "active contributors" out of thin air with simple perl script is way too easy (especially for OSMF as they can control the game and timings)
As for the "free and open" safeguard, I do not put much hope in that either, especially not in the way it is currently defined in Contributor Terms (which is, to put it bluntly, practically "not at all"). As such, it is open to interpretation, and I've seen in the last decade gross abuse of both of the terms. One (perhaps from someone who likes FSF GPL virality) might argue that even this move to ODbL v1.0 from CC-BY-SA 2.0 is unacceptable removing of freedoms (for example: in CC-BY-SA, all derived works must remain free; in ODbL, subset of them [called produced works] need not be made free at all, and might even be made more closed than anything Microsoft ever produced). So if we accept that ODbL is OK if it still contains some freedoms (even if some other are taken away), I can easily see how it might degrade over time even more, always with excuse "but there are still SOME freedom and openness left"). Alternatively, some might argue (as some BSD folks have in the past when commenting GPL, for example) that removing share-alike (AKA copyleft) virality is making data MORE free. Not to mention that "free" can easily be translated as "oh, but we meant it as in free beer, not as in free speech". As you can see, the terms "open" and "free" can be (and in the past and present often are/were) stretched and abused to the quite different directions. --mnalis 20:59, 9 July 2010 (UTC)
How do you suggest the contributor terms be improved? Are the issues only with the new 'open license' section? -- Firefishy 15:02, 10 July 2010 (UTC)
My issues with new contributor terms are with section 2 and 3 of "OpenStreetMap Contributor Terms 1.0", namely the ones which transfer way too much power in the hands of OSMF. My suggestion for improvement (if we ignore for the moment other issues with licence change, namely my belief that any change of the licence leading to deletion of data is wrong [and this could probably be simplified as "any change at all"], and the other belief that more complex licence is wrong way to go if the licence must be changed [I'd prefer CC0 in that case]) would be to replace section 2 and 3 (which give big power to OSMF and then weakly define how it will use it) with a section which says that each OSM contributor him/herself dual-licences his contributions under both CC-BY-SA 2.0 and ODbL v1.0. That way, the tiny amount of power would remain in hands of each individual contributor, instead of all of it being merged into one big power being put in a hands of some organization. --mnalis 21:36, 11 July 2010 (UTC)
You emphasise my data - but whose data is it, really? Maybe there is a region, where only you did some work. But most areas are a result of many users contributing data. (Objects with 50 changes or more in their history are not seldom.) The OSM database is a collective work of many users so I can live with the fact that a 2/3 majority can change the license of my work against my will, because a big part of my work built upon others anyway. --t-i 16:19, 24 August 2010 (BST)
Yes, I do emphasize it, as to make necessary distinction for explaining my views. To clarify, I call my data that data to which the various so-called "intellectual property" laws (mostly copyright and database rights ATM) give me the right to define how it may (or may not) be used. I think that is common usage in today's world (but I am no native english speaker, so I may be wrong). When somebody else builds upon that data (or I build upon someone elses data), we become joint holders of that right, I agree. Note that it does not mean I lose my right. Sometimes the someones data is easily separated from someone elses, for example if someone adds a new tag. Sometimes, especially in multiple layerings, it is harder to separate the data of one individual from data from some other individual if one wants to do that (as it might be necessary sometimes, for example when changing the license). You are correct there too. But still, the contributors jointly own the data. And so the whole of OSM becomes one big piece of data, with helluva lot of contributors, and each contributory having a very tiny power, and a global rules defining rules of conduct (CC-BY-SA) that everybody contributing is happy with (or they wouldn't be contributing). And forcing that they all surrender their tiny piece of power to make one entity having extreme amount of power makes me extremely uneasy. Especially when the rules on how that power would be used are very weakly defined. Power corrupts always, and the bigger the power, the greater the corruption and inclination for bad things to happen.
Now, I do not really hold ethical belief that data should have owners like material property does. Actually, I would prefer OSM data to be Public Domain (that is, closest possible equivalent, as CC0 for example), and I would more than gladly release all my rights to the data in it, if everyone else did that too. If there is public domain fork of OSM, they can count on having my data. OK? However, the (unfortunate, IMHO) fact is that the data used in OSM is covered by copyright and DB rights (and soon to be contract law too) and restricted from many uses by some rules. I understood that rules, and decided to volunteer my time and effort under assumption that those rules will hold. Now they are being changed to something quite, but not completely, unlike the old rules.
As for your being willing for 2/3 majority to decide on fate of your "intellectual property", it is your right of course. But please allow others to decide for themselves. I wouldn't be happy if 2/3 of the my fellow citizens had an power (without regard of my opinion and without compensation to me) to take away my physical property and do whatever they want with it, and I am not happy if 2/3 of my fellow mappers could decide the same with my "intellectual property" without me having any say in it. Especially when said 2/3 are easily steered by not too much effort and little propaganda from "official powers that be" ("it's all that boring licence talk, blahblahblah, I'm sure the guys at the top with more knowledge have decided what is the best; but I won't check it as it i would be wasting my time with all that boring licensing stuff". And the thing is, the "guys at the top" probably have decided what is best, just probably not what is best for YOU, but what is best for THEM. Which just might be something completely opposite of what you wanted). I've seen too much examples of tyranny by majority to be comfortable with such things. And IMHO, when "democracy" powers asks of its "citizens" to surrender most of their rights in the promise of "more safety", one should become very afraid (even when their intentions really are for the common good, something I am willing to give the benefit of the doubt to current OSMF) --mnalis 20:34, 24 August 2010 (BST)

Licensing afterword (Aug.2012.+)

At least in Croatia, the data loss was very minimal, so there at least my biggest worry is relieved. As for the license and contributing terms themself, I still have issues (explained above), and I think the apology is owned by OSMF and Board to everyone for the way this whole issue was handled, but I'm willing to proceed and try to rebuild the community spirit and project itself, hoping it won't take problematic turns outlined above in the future...