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Re: [Fsuk-manchester] Why Open Data Is More Important Than Open Source

From: Chris Warburton
Subject: Re: [Fsuk-manchester] Why Open Data Is More Important Than Open Source
Date: Tue, 17 Mar 2009 01:32:52 +0000
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On Saturday 14 March 2009 20:34:33 Lucy wrote:
> 2009/3/10 Simon Ward <address@hidden>:
> > While catching up on my feed reading I came across this post on “Why
> > Open Data Is More Important Than Open Source”[1] (Ian Davis via Planet
> > RDF[2]).
> [snip]
> > I’m sitting in both free software and free data camps at the moment.
> > Ideally everything would be free and we wouldn’t have to worry about
> > where efforts should be concentrated.  What are your views?
> I agree I think both are vital.
> Data is valuable and often irreplaceable, unlike a proprietary program
> you can't simply write a free version (okay so this does depend on the
> data). However, having a free program is pointless if the data it
> requires to be able to work is closed. I think OpenStreetMap is a good
> example of this - we need both free data and free mapping programs in
> order for it to be of any use.

My philosophy is this:

People > Data > Software > Hardware

Hardware only exists to run software, software only exists to manipulate data 
and data only exists to be useful to people. For example, I'd say a lot of 
national database ideas are flawed since (amongst other things) they value 
data more than people.

Open data is more important than open source, but keep in mind that open 
source implies open data (even if it's VERY tedious, the source code can 
always be studied to reverse engineer to format if needed).

The far right is a little fuzzy, since hardware is afterall just 'software 
crystallised early'. Most hardware, due to costs, is designed to be general 
purpose, so the power lies in the software. However, there are important 
hardware issues appearing such as "trusted" computing modules.

It's not a perfect philosophy, but it often makes a useful base to start 
constructing arguments on :)


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