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GPL confusion

From: yeah
Subject: GPL confusion
Date: Fri, 21 May 2004 17:40:15 -0400

I'm trying to wrap my non-lawyer brain around the GPL. In particular
I'm not clear on what 'based on' means (as regards whether a project
is derived from a GPL'd project or not). Particularly I'm trying to
understand at what point the project I'm making is required to be GPL.

Here's a specific scenario:

I decide to make a Widget Tracking program. It provides all sorts of
useful views on widgets - who ordered them, what subwidgets they're
made of, etc. Standard data-miner app.

Suppose I want to use MySQL as a database under MySQL AP's GPL option.
Does merely using it as a database invoke the GPL requirement on my
Widget Tracker app? 

Right now, as I interpret the license it does. So let me proceed
further on that assumption:

Suppose I define an interface for accessing WT (Widget Tracker) data
and provide one or more out-of-the-box implementations for it, ie:
file-based (text, xml, etc), ODBC compliant (or JDBC), and/or a MySQL

Sticking to the GPL MySQL scenario, can I GPL just the class that
implements my db interface for MySQL and make it (incl its source &
the GPL license) separately downloadable/installable from the main
Widget Tracker app?

Help away, please. Thanks,

 - Stu

Note: I'm not interested in cheating cool apps like MySQL out of
commercial business. It happens to be one GPL app I was looking at
recently. I understand how to apply the GPL librally - GPLing my whole
app, I'm want to understand the other approach where you might want to
apply it in as conservative a manner as possible. Knowing the
boundries better allows me to be a more responsible advocate for free
software in the commercial business world where proprietary concerns
have to be met.

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