It's like freebase all right, but the article has something right about adoption. He points out some big company would have to donate a great starting dataset to drive adoption.
I think this is one problem with Freebase. Another problem I see is the structuring of the data, it is a hurdle to sharing.
Finally the last problem I see is Data is currently very much seen as a competitive advantage. When Google introduce functionalities to make corrections on Google Maps, I don’t think they do it to share with everyone else. They do it because they want Google Maps to be the destination with the best possible data.
A wiki of data is a great idea, but I’m not sure we have the solution yet.
This improves the (easy) technical hurdles, but how about (very difficult) social, economic, and bureaucratic ones?
One of the biggest competitive advantages companies have is data. Like the article and previous comment already said, adoption is the hardest barrier. Unless someone can provide a compelling reason for companies/scientists/etc to give data or data access, there really isn't much else to discuss.
I think sites like mashery and dapper.net are going in the right direction, by providing good licensing rights and monetization controls that can incent large companies with reliable datasets to participate.
It's a start for sure and it's great that freebase does this. But what I refer to is more like Google gives all their business location listings to Freebase. I don't think this will happen, but maybe something of less value while being still significant.