TLWIR 44: Waze Isn’t Free Software, But It’s Open Source In Spirit

Posted by acrossad on Sep 5, 2012 5:30 AM EDT; By Rex Djere
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Free software and open source concepts have spread into areas where they were never intended to go. Crowdsourcing, a cousin of open source, is growing in popularity as a way for people to share information, get better deals, and to make micro-contributions to society. Over the last few weeks, I have been playing around with some great gps apps, each of which takes a different approach to crowdsourcing: GasBuddy, NavFree USA, and Waze. In The Linux Week in Review 44, I would like to focus on one of the most impressive Android apps that I have found in a long time: Waze.

First, let me start with what I DO NOT like about Waze: it’s not free software/open source. However, based on the incredible capabilities that it brings to the table, I’m willing to give it a pass. Several years ago, I bought a gps navigation unit by a popular manufacturer for more than $200. In a few short years, software developers have created a freely downloadable app that turns my smartphone into a device that exceed everything that tmy old device could do: turn-by-turn navigation, real-time traffic, community driven information feedback (e.g. telling you where to find the cheapest gas, or the fact that there is a cop sitting 1000 yards in front of you), and it gathers map information to populate its database from Waze users.

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