Sunday, August 15, 2004

MySQL 4.x license talks...

Ok, so we've been having an issue with MySQL 4.x inclusion into Fedora. We all know that they changed their licensing to GPL, with a supposed license exclusion for things such as PHP which, for obvious reasons, cannot use the GPL licensing. So for a while this license exclusion has been up on MySQL's website, but still of no use to us, since according to RH legal, (and this makes total sense), if the licensing terms aren't bundled with the source, then technically, the license/exception does not apply to the code. Recently, after much prodding (by many), MySQL decided to bundle the exclusion with the code. This was a good start and we brought up a couple more issues that needed to be dealt with.

During LinuxWorld, I had a nice chat with the ever awesome Brian Aker, MySQL's Director of Architecture. Now, someone must have lit a fire under MySQL's ass because there has been an active discussion, ever since I spoke to Brian. Today, I got the following email from Zak Greant, MySQL's Community Advocate. I hope anyone interested in this gets involved.

From: Zak Greant
Date: Fri, 13 Aug 2004 16:36:14 -0600
Subject: Clarifying the MySQL Licensing Policy Documents

Greetings All,

As a way to cooperatively work to address some of the licensing
concerns held by members of the MySQL community and the broader Free
Software/Open Source community, we are initiating a community review of
our licensing policy documents.

This means that we are soliciting feedback about issues in the policy
documents that people find inaccurate or unclear. From this feedback we
will work to improve the policy documents.

Please note that we cannot guarantee that we will address or accept all
of the issues raised or suggestions made. The licensing is both complex
and is the cornerstone of our business. Past experience shows that we
must work carefully, incrementally and with community involvement in
this area. As with development of the FLOSS exception though, I hope
that we can reach a compromise that is satisfactory for almost

If you wish to participate, the process for doing so is simple.

Review some or all of the following documents:

When you encounter an issue that you find confusing or inaccurate,
please send a note to the MySQL community list or to me personally on
the issue:

Ideally the note will state:
* where the issue is (which document, where in the document)
* what specific aspects of the issue concern you
* the severity of the issue (is it cosmetic, minor or major)
* a suggested fix or set of fixes

You are also welcome to directly file an issue report in the system
that I use for tracking these issues. Visit to do so.

I would like the discussion to take place on the MySQL community list,
as it is easier to keep track of the issues in a single, low-traffic
setting. I prefer not to Cc the MySQL General list beyond this initial
email, so as to avoid cluttering an already busy mailing list.

An initial list of issues raised by various community members exist at:

I am currently working on new draft policy documents to correct some of
the simple issues and errors, and hope to post it next week for
community review after it goes through internal review.

Zak Greant
MySQL AB Community Advocate