MySQL caught complying with the GPL! News at 11!!

MySQL has changed its licensing policy to adhere to the GPL. Is there a story here?

The SHOCKING news from today's LinuxWorld is that MySQL is a business and sometimes makes business decisions, as Linux.com reports. The headline screams that MySQL is closing off source code access to the community.

The truth is completely different.

As Kaj Arno notes on his blog:

Kaj Arnö, the company's vice president of community relations, wrote that the Enterprise tarballs "will be removed from ftp.mysql.com. These will move to enterprise.mysql.com, and will be available for our paying subscribers only." Customers will also be able to get the source out of the MySQL BitKeeper repository, but it will no longer be available as a source tarball.

According to Arnö, the move was made to "underline the positioning goal of 'Community Server for community users, Enterprise Server for paying users'. And the GPL requires us (like anybody else) to hand out the code to those whom we give the binaries, which in the case of MySQL Enterprise Server is just the customers."

In other words, MySQL is complying with both the spirit and letter of the GPL by making its Enterprise source code available to those to whom it distributes the code. Those Enterprise customers are free to redistribute the Enterprise code.

Is there something worth talking about here? I don't think so. The headline should have read:

MySQL caught complying with the GPL! News at 11.

What's news but unfortunate is that Enterprise - in a classic pot calls kettle black sort of move - is apparently tut-tutting MySQL's move by suggesting the move may "alienate many of their paying customers" and the community. Balderdash. Rubbish. The paying customers will get the code just as they always have. The community will get the Community code (basically the same thing), just as it always has.

Snore. Is MySQL strengthening its business proposition here? Sure. Is it doing so in full compliance with and respect for the GPL? Absolutely.

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About the author

    Matt Asay is chief operating officer at Canonical, the company behind the Ubuntu Linux operating system. Prior to Canonical, Matt was general manager of the Americas division and vice president of business development at Alfresco, an open-source applications company. Matt brings a decade of in-the-trenches open-source business and legal experience to The Open Road, with an emphasis on emerging open-source business strategies and opportunities. He is a member of the CNET Blog Network and is not an employee of CNET. You can follow Matt on Twitter @mjasay.

     

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