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Re: GPLv3 comedy unfolding -- Business Review Ltd: "MySQL changes licen

From: Alexander Terekhov
Subject: Re: GPLv3 comedy unfolding -- Business Review Ltd: "MySQL changes license to avoid GPLv3"
Date: Fri, 05 Jan 2007 17:09:22 +0100

Open Source WeblogMySQL changes license to avoid GPLv3

January 04, 2007

Here’s an announcement that almost got drowned out by festive cheer:
MySQL has changed the license it uses for its open source database
management system to avoid being forced to move to the forthcoming GPL

Kaj Arno, MySQL VP of community relations, revealed the license change
on his blog, on December 22, noting that the license for MySQL 5.0 and
5.1 had changed from "GPLv2 or later" to "GPLv2 only". As he explained,
this was “in order to make it an option, not an obligation for the
company to move to GPLv3”.

MySQL owns the copyright to its database code so can change the license
any time it likes (and indeed offer the software under dual licenses).
While the company is not ruling out a change to GPL v3 once it is
completed, it is hedging its bets in case it does not like the results.

According to Kaj:

“MySQL has been part of the GPLv3 Committee B advising FSF since the
GPLv3 draft was announced in January 2006. For GPLv3, we have seen
fantastic improvements and hope for GPLv3 to spread… MySQL AB continues
to work with the FSF for GPLv3 to be the new, widespread license under
which Free Software is licensed. However, now, until we get clear and
strong indications for the general acceptance of GPLv3 over GPLv2, we
feel comfortable with a specific GPLv2 reference in our license.”

Regular readers will recall that Linux creator Linus Torvalds has taken
advantage of Linux’s “GPLv2 only” license to declare that the Linux
kernel will not be moving to GPL v3. 

Torvalds does not like the way the FSF is attempting to use the GPL v3
to deal with issues such as digital rights management, but has also
explained his love for the GPL v2, particularly the way it encourages
reciprocation, rather than forcing opinion.

While Kaj did not explain precisely what problems MySQL has with GPL v3
at this stage of its draft process he did also express the company’s
admiration for version 2:

“Six years ago in the summer of 2000, when MySQL AB licensed its
software under the GPL, our founders David Axmark and Michael Widenius
made this choice because the GPL was a license followed and respected by
everyone. We have kept to it, because the GPL is the most palatable
license, and poses the least friction for our user base.”

He also noted that he has had a response from FSF general counsel, Eben
Moglen, to the decision to move to a GPL v2-only license:

“I appreciate MySQL’s thoughtful contribution to the GPLv3 drafting
process, showing how a business model and an entire company can be built
around Free Software. Looking at recent developments and announcements,
I believe MySQL will soon be in a position to see the GPLv3 being
adopted over GPLv2 by various Free Software projects.”

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