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Re: GPL confusion

From: Christopher Browne
Subject: Re: GPL confusion
Date: 22 May 2004 01:08:14 GMT

In the last exciting episode, Martin Dickopp 
<> wrote:
> writes:
>> 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? 
> That depends on the details of how you use MySQL.  A good rule of thumb
> is to ask yourself the question: Can you write your program without
> downloading MySQL first, i.e. is reading the MySQL documentation enough
> to make your program communicate with MySQL?  If the answer is yes, your
> program is clearly not based on MySQL.  If the answer is no, this is a
> strong indication that your program is indeed derived from MySQL.

It behooves the gentle user to look at what the vendor recommends as
guidelines for usage of their product.


- If your software is licensed under either the GPL-compatible Free
Software License as defined by the Free Software Foundation or
approved by OSI, then use our GPL licensed version.

- If you distribute a proprietary application in any way, and you are
not licensing and distributing your source code under GPL, you need to
purchase a commercial license of MySQL

- If you are unsure, we recommend that you buy our cost effective
commercial licenses. That is the safest solution.

Presumably they'll "sic their lawyers" on you if they discover that
your application is "proprietary in any way" and you're paying for

The clear risk here is...

 Don't pay  ---> Get sued.
select 'cbbrowne' || '@' || '';
"I think it  would be great if MS would make  VB the favoured language
for Palm PC's.  Then they'd have a shaky, bloated, slow OS running the
shaky, bloated, slow macro-apps."  -- <>

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