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Software United States

Is the Flickr API a National Treasure? 101

Posted by timothy
from the coerce-and-control-network dept.
First time accepted submitter somekind writes "Over the past few months Twitter imposed restrictions on the use of its client API, and Facebook shut down the facial recognition API supporting after acquiring the company. Mathew Ingram noted these and other examples (Google starting to charge for high-volume use of Google Maps) as evidence that 'open APIs' published by a single vendor can't be trusted by outside developers. Worried about the possibility that Yahoo! might do the same with Flickr, Dave Winer has just launched a petition to Obama asking the President to declare the Flickr API a National Historic Landmark, thus (by Dave's reckoning) legally protected from arbitrary withdrawal or wholesale changes by its corporate masters."
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Is the Flickr API a National Treasure?

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  • by mrvan (973822) on Sunday December 16, 2012 @10:38AM (#42306917)

    'open APIs' published by a single vendor can't be trusted by outside developers

    No shit, sherlock!

    You mean that companies that offer free (or non-free) stuff can and will stop doing so when their own interest points in another direction?

    I think google et al are great for writing software that allows other people to interoperate in an easy way ... but that does not put a burden on them to continue supporting it after it is no longer in their best interest. We could define "open API" to mean that the server side software is implementable by a third party (like IMAP and even SMB are), but probably their APIs are so useful because they plug into a core product that they're not willing to open source and is extremely difficult to replicate (cf. iOS maps).

    If your business depends on google doing or not doing something, then you are either taking a big risk (and entrepreneurship is about taking risks, so that's not necessarily a bad idea) or you should have a contract with google that they will do as needed for your business to succeed. If you take a big risk as a company and fail, well that's what bankruptcy protection is for ;-).

To err is human -- to blame it on a computer is even more so.