[okfn-discuss] freetable.org: Expressions of interest sought
rufus.pollock at okfn.org
Wed Jan 20 19:22:14 GMT 2010
Great to hear more information about this. Comments inline below.
2010/1/12 Gordon Irlam <gordonipub2 at gordoni.com>:
> You are right about the importance of having well defined goals. Let
> me try an nail a few things down...
> A database in the cloud: FreeTable envisions working with datasets
> too large and too dynamic to be downloaded and then queried. Instead
> the query is sent to FreeTable and FreeTable returns the result.
Plus that is likely to be much more convenient for most people
(setting up and loading in data is often a time-consuming process ...)
> A programmatic interface: FreeTable seeks to provide a programmatic
> interface to data, allowing programmers to create a user interface to
> the data, and the next Ebay, Facebook, or Craigslist. (Based on
> feedback it seems this goal may be inadequate and FreeTable may need
> to provide a nice user interface for entering data, but this interface
> won't be able to compete with the domain specific interfaces others
> could build).
Sounds very sensible. I imagine many of your first users will be "APIers"
> All but the largest datasets: The notion of what is data spans a huge
> range from small classified ad listings to large genomic datasets.
> FreeTable would like to focus towards the lower end of this range.
> The limits of FreeTable are probably datasets less than 1 Gbyte in
> size or receiving less than 1000 simple queries per second. This
> probably covers a majority of datasets.
Also sounds very sensible. As you say this is a reasonable range and
it keeps your storage requirements to a manageable level.
> The Open Database License looks like a good step forward. I have a
> concern though in the context of FreeTable. I don't think it is
> strong enough. Suppose FreeTable hosts a database of classified ads.
> A site that displays classified ads could use the FreeTable database
> and also contribute the ads they receive from users back to FreeTable.
> Another site though could use the FreeTable database, but keep any ads
> contributed to themselves. To the user the second site is always
The question here is whether the non-contributors' DB was a
"derivative" DB of your original one. If so they would be under an
obligation under the Open Database License (ODbL) to make that
derivative DB openly available (just like the GPL for code).
> better since it has more ads, and the first site is left with little
> incentive to contribute ads back to FreeTable since it only helps
> their competition. In the end the public commons withers away. I
> would like to see a license that says if you use this dataset, then
> you must contribute back any similar data you gather. I don't know
> how to word that legally.
I think requiring someone to contribute back any "similar data" could
be a bit broad -- i'd be a bit worried about using a system that
placed that broad an obligation on my future actions. However as I
just explained if someone were directly taking ODbL'd data/database
and then adding to that data/database then ODbL requires them to share
back their changes just like the GPL does with code. (I should also
say that the ODbL is at least as "strong", if not stronger, than CC
attribution-sharealike and is generally better suited to data ...).
Promoting Open Knowledge in a Digital Age
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