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I am a 2nd-level IT Technician in Cleveland, TN, an exurb of Chattanooga, TN. I have resigned from active mapping due to the FUD surrounding the license change.

At this point, I am only contributing to the WIKI.

For the record, I have only read the human-readable summary of the ODbL and do not have an issue with the license itself. My beef is over the ham-fistedness of the Contributor Terms and the fundamental lack of transparency that has surrounded the changeover.

Resignation Timeline

  1. On or around May 8, Slippymaps on this WIKI began showing references to an "OpenStreetMap License" instead of the familiar CC-BY-SA license. These references were still in existence as of 00:23 EDT on May 12, 2010.
    NOTE: The reference (and link) are in both the Slippymap and Place templates and probably originate from the Slippy Map MediaWiki Extension.
  2. On May 11, server administrator Grant Slater (AKA Firefishy) updated the ODbL Implementation Plan page to indicate that users would now be required to acknowledge the ODbL.
    NOTE: The WIKI has since been updated to say that this only covers new user accounts, and that users can choose between ODbL and full public-domain.
  3. During the approx 4 hours the incorrect information was there, I concluded that the OSMF has no intention of changing its autocratic behavior, and cannot be trusted to administer the data according to OSM's stated goals.

Initial Email

This is a copy of the email I sent to the talk-us@ and tagging@ groups:

Well, between the new links on the map and today's WIKI edit, it looks like the Brits have decided to shove the ODbL down our throats after all. I have major philosophical issues with the way the license change is being handled, and feel that I can no longer participate in the OSM project.

I'm in the process of deleting all of my contributions. I'd like to encourage each of you to do the same, but in the end it depends on your goals for the project.

I am being careful to only delete objects that have not been touched since I created them - roads, portions of the TN River, etc... Please respect my wishes and do not undelete these objects.

Followup Email

After the expected firestorm died down, I sent a followup message explaining my position. (Text-only links have been converted into WIKI links):

I'm basing my decision on the ODbL roadmap, Open Data License/Why You Should Vote Yes and Open Data License/Why You Should Vote No pages in the WIKI.

Here are my objections:

1. The OSMF did not do enough due-diligence before voting to adopt the ODBL. Discussion was done on an extremely noisy list (talk@) and AFAIK none of the board ever cross-posted progress reports to the sub-lists. This is a classic case of security-by-obscurity. - See Chapter 1 of the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

Note: I was referring to the Beware of the Leopard Sketch. --DiverCTH 04:10, 12 July 2010 (UTC)

2. The change is being done on the say-so of only 132 out of 254 paid members. I'm not an expert on Robert's Rules, but don't you need to have to have a super-majority to change the fundamental nature of an organization?

3. The roadmap as it stood yesterday made it sound like the ODbL is already passed, and that the OSMF was just dragging its heals about when it plans on implementing it or notifying anyone. If this is not correct, I apologize.

4. Last weekend I did some fairly minor WIKI updates and noticed several slippymaps were rendering with a reference to something called the "Openstreetmap License." Between the updated slippymaps and Firefishy's original edit, it sounded like the OSMF had finally gotten around to making the contributor license mandatory.

4.a My current job is time consuming and has a draconian Internet access policy. I may well have become a victim of FUD, but I can only read my email on my phone, and I simply don't have time to read the talk@ group's 5+ daily digests. See points 1 and 3.

5. The OSMF's actions have made me feel disenfranchised on several occasions. My biggest sources of frustration are the original Local Chapter agreement, and the ODBL adoption vote that was taken on 27-Dec-2009 (

6. To answer Serge's PMs, yes, this is a low blow, but my experiences on points 3 and 4 made me feel like there was no other choice. If I can stretch your metaphor a bit, it was looking like the jack-boots were on the doorstep, so a kick to the groin seemed like the best defense.