A Free Lunch Is Not Necessarily Free


This evening I attended a BCS lecture titled Open Data Mashups and Social Enterprise. The lecture was given by Professor Robert Barr OBE of Manchester Geomatics and University of Liverpool. The core of this lecture was a business case for “open data”.

Oracle owns the core code to MySQL? That was news to me. Sun Microsystems bought MySQL AB back in 2008, the company which created MySQL. I missed the bit about Oracle acquiring Sun Microsystems in January 2010! So now Oracle has control of MySQL core code. As well as the more familiar MySQL distributed under the GPL license, Oracle has released and supports various licensing options for paid support via Enterprise editions. Further references can be found at Oracle and MySQL Wiki.

Microsoft is opening its doors to the open source community. More of Microsoft’s steps to move towards openness can be read here at Microsoft; hence Internet Explorer 9 being more standards compliant with the wider world – “Open Source is not the enemy”.[This link has been has been archived]

Openstreetmap as it states on its Wiki “…is an editable map of the whole world (built largely from scratch) which is released with an open content license”. This offers almost free access to their map images and all of their underlying map data.

It was an interesting and informative lecture.

As can be seen by the recent and controversial changes to privacy (aka personal data) by Facebook and more recently Google, a free lunch is not necessarily free! Our personal details and more importantly our surfing habits are of great monetary value to these corporate giants.

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