I’ve had half an eye on the Share Your OPML as another possible source of FOAF data. I’ve been having scraping and converting various data sources to help faciliate interesting applications where possible. For instance this week I published some converted Freshmeat data, and in the past I’ve done various OPML conversions, e.g. for BloggerCon.
Making as much data available as possible also helps resolve specification issues, as we can then explore the pros and cons of various ways of modelling the data, especially in the light of implementation experience.
For example there’s an open issue on the Wiki concerning subscriptions and related to this there’s been some interesting work happening on community aggregations using FOAF group data. Planet RDF uses FOAF as it’s data source, and while I’m not sure about Planets Apache and Gnome they’re certainly publishing the data in this format.
So with this in mind I took at look at the Share Your OPML SDK. Unfortunately I can’t convert it to any other format as the documentation notes that you must not:
…convert the data into a format other than OPML, for redistribution, it’s likely we’ll say yes, but you must ask first. We want the data to be useful to you, but we also want to create an installed base of compatible data to encourage others to follow. We’ve learned that it’s necessary to say basically that you can’t use this data to thwart the purpose of our project. We wish it weren’t this way, but it is, so we have to say it.
Strikes me as a bit overly restrictive but I wouldn’t want to be accused of not playing nicely, so I’ve asked. Perhaps there should be a preference which says “I’d like to share my data, no matter what the end format is”?
Lets see what happens…
Update: what happened what I’m not allowed to convert the file to FOAF. As Edd notes in the comments, my request is deleted. I’m updating this posting to record that fact. I’ve little more to say on the matter other than note that the best way you can share you data, whatever the format it’s in, is to simply publish it on the web: there’s no need for a central service as people can
discover your data in a number of different ways.
It also seems to me that if I use a service under the impression that I’m doing so under a Creative Commons share-alike licence, then I expect that service to offer the same terms, after all the licence notes that: If you alter, transform, or build upon this work, you may distribute the resulting work only under a license identical to this one. So any site that publishes this data, e.g. aggregating it with that of others should make the data freely available, and also that it’s legal to transform that data, so long as the transformed version is provided under the same licence.