Gaia shut down by Google

Clint: Did you actually read the letter sent by Google? I actually consider this to be a perfect example of “don’t be evil.” There are no threats in that letter, Michael Jones, the writer, is just explaining why Gaia hurts Google and in what way he think the Gaia project is violating Google’s Terms of Service. He tells the Gaia project members that he understands their curiosity, even calls them “smart engineer[s] like ourselves”, but asks them to “refocus [their] work toward building an open earth viewer that uses open earth images.”

I don’t think that Google is free to do whatever they want with the images of the earth stored on their server. They most likely have a rather restrictive deal with the actual image providers. And even if they hadn’t, Google probably pays a rather large amount of money to these image providers. I can understand that they don’t want to offer these images for everybody to grab.

I consider this letter to be very kind and understanding, compared to what seems to be standard today: Let the lawyers do the talking, or don’t bothering with the talking at all and just sueing.


Google Summer of Code and Networked Tomboy

My Google Summer of Code application, called Networked Tomboy was accepted. Just to quote myself:

Tomboy is a note-taking application for the GNOME desktop. As such it is evolving as a replacement for the traditional ‘sticky notes’ applet and offers several advantages, including easy formatting and wiki-style links. But currently Tomboy notes are limited to the desktop. That means that users can’t easily transfer their notes between different desktops (e.g. their home and work computer or their desktop and laptop PC) or publish their notes for other users.

This project is supposed to solve this problem. Using an abstraction of Tomboy’s data storage format and system, an alternative system for storing notes in a central repository will be developed. This repository can then be accessed by Tomboy instances. Additionally a note publishing system will be developed. It will allow to publish selected notes either on a local network (using Zeroconf) or to web pages.

I’m rather happy to get the opportunity to hack on a program that I use myself and that missed functionality I need.