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MySQL sticks with current GPL for now

Waiting for "general acceptance" of General Public License version 3, MySQL keeps open-source database tied to current version.

Open-source database company MySQL has decided to stick to the current General Public License rather than move to an upcoming revision, pending broader industry acceptance.

MySQL, one of the most successful commercial ventures to use the open-source General Public License (GPL), has modified its license terms from "version 2 or later" to "version 2" only, according to Kaj Arno, the company's vice president of community.

The change, which applies to the company's latest products--MySQL 5.0 and MySQL 5.1--was done in order to give the software maker the option of moving to GPL version 3, rather than make the move mandatory, Arno said on a blog posting in late December.

The Free Software Foundation last year launched an initial draft of the GPL version 3, the license used by thousands of open-source products, including the Linux operating system.

However, the new version has run into some choppy waters. Linus Torvalds and other Linux kernel programmers have shown little enthusiasm for the changes.

Nearly all of 29 Linux kernel programmers surveyed last year said that the current version 2 is better.

MySQL remains engaged in the GPL version 3 drafting process. But, Arno said, the company is waiting to see "general acceptance" of version 3 before officially committing to it.

"MySQL AB continues to work with the FSF (Free Software Foundation) 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," Arno wrote.

Arno also reprinted an e-mail exchange with Eben Moglen, an attorney from the Free Software Foundation, which oversees the GPL version 3.

"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," Moglen wrote.