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Re: GPL confusion

From: Christopher Browne
Subject: Re: GPL confusion
Date: 22 May 2004 01:08:13 GMT

Clinging to sanity, mumbled into her beard:
> 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? 

There is also the possibility that MySQL AB is trying to assert rights
that aren't directly implied by the GPL in order to "scare" you into
paying them money.

They imply that reasonably clearly on their web page on licensing

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

You want to be "safe" from legal challenges?  Then you had better pay
up for non-GPLed licenses.

And they are also pretty straightforward about what you are intended
to do:

  "Nevertheless, you can test MySQL under the GPL license and inspect
  the source code before you purchase a commercial non-GPL license."

They are essentially selling a traditionally licensed "proprietary"
product that is developed by the traditional sort of private corporate
clique, but offering an option for you to "kick the tires" in advance.
They are getting some cheap advertising out of "open source" people by
having an occasionally-usable "open source" license for it.

If you don't intend on paying full price for MySQL, and you don't
intend on releasing any software you write that uses MySQL under the
GPL or some similar license, then you may want to look into other
database systems such as Firebird or PostgreSQL that are being
developed by open source communities.
If this was helpful, <> rate me
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