Just a few days ago a team of developers released Gaia, an open-source client to the Google Earth data. While Google Earth is available for Linux, it is still closed-source. The gaia developers managed to reverse-engineer the protocol and then build their own client.
Of course Google was not very amused and since yesterday gaia is not available for download anymore. Google chose a very fair way here: they sent a polite mail to the gaia team stating that their licenses do not allow them to give out the map data outside their closed client and did not send a lawyer rightaway.

Gaia will now change its focus to provide an open-source earth viewer with gps support which will use other open datasources like NASA imagery.

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