[okfn-discuss] FreeTable: a public commons for open data

Gordon Irlam gordonipub2 at gordoni.com
Mon Sep 5 20:32:49 UTC 2011


Peter Murray-Rust:
> * what is the governance model of FreeTable?

Right now it is just me.  I know this needs to be improved upon.  It
isn't clear a non-profit structure would work since what FreeTable
seeks to do doesn't seem to be one of the exempt purposes under the US
non-profit act.  Another reason for wanting a more substantive form is
the DMCA act safe harbor provisions don't appear available to
individuals, so some for of non-profit or for profit form is needed.

If there is anyone out there that might be interested in devoting a
significant amoount of time to data gathering, operations, or the
development of FreeTable, and would enjoy being on the board drop me a

> * Is there anything to prevent it being closed in the future?

Good point.  Would a commitment not to close it down without two years
notice work?

> * it has a charging model. How is this reconciled with Free?

The charging model applies to high volume users, and is necessary
because the operating costs are currently $500/month, and could
easily exceed $2,000/month once the system is scaled up and additional
fault tolerance built in.

The Free in FreeTable refers to freedom.  All the data in it is
available under a Open Knowledge Definition compliant license.  And
the FreeTable software itself is available under the GNU Affero GPL.

> * Are they any example data in FreeTable. Without this I have no idea of
how to use it.

Just to browse a table you could look at:


A tutorial covering how to interact with FreeTable programatically is
online at:


Alex Shkotin:
> It would be nice to get a comparison with Google Fusion Tables.

To the best of my knowledge, with corrections welcomed:

                 FreeTable    Google Fusion         Factual

governance         unclear       corporate      for profit startup
data licensing  OKD compliant    unclear          commercial
source code    GNU Affero GPL    proprietary      proprietary
scalability         high            huge            high
joins               no              no              no
pricing at volume   yes             no              yes
volume limits       no              yes             no?
query format        SQL-like        SQL-like        proprietary
data format         JSON            CSV             unknown
wiki like           yes             no              no
data sharing model  advanced        poor            unknown
spatial data        no              yes             yes
email data          yes             no              no
fulltext search     yes             yes?            yes?
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