OSRM was previously licensed under the AGPL, with a very aggressive share-alike clause which added legal complexity while limiting the applications of OSRM. Switching to a BSD license is a crucial step to make OSRM easier to deploy in a wide range of scenarios.
At MapBox we believe in the unique power of open source to spread fast, to connect the smartest people across institutions, and ultimately to bring about the best solutions. While share-alike clauses are designed to ensure contribution, in practice they more often hinder adoption by introducing incompatibilities and legal complexity. And in the end, adoption is not driven by the virality of a license, but by the quality of the software itself.
The Open Source Routing Machine (OSRM) is a stack of tools programmed in C++ that combine sophisticated routing algorithms with the open and free road network data of OpenStreetMap.
Without key algorithmic techniques, shortest path computation on a continental sized network can take several seconds. But OSRM leverages recent academic research, and is able to compute the shortest path between any origin and destination within a few milliseconds.
“OSRM is a lightning fast routing server that uses OpenStreetMap data to calculate routes based on different routing profiles. The system is very flexible and configurable: you can setup profiles for car, foot, and bicycle and decide every detail about where the different users (pedestrian, cyclists etc.) can pass through or cross.”