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07 August 2009, 09:12

Monty claims commercial MySQL license is too restrictive

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Ask Monty logo Monty Widenius, founder of MySQL, has said in a blog posting – "Thoughts on Dual-Licensing Open Source Software" – that he recently became aware that Sun Microsystem's OEM licence agreement for MySQL would restrict users who had signed up for the commercial licence to the open source database from modifying MySQL or using any forks of MySQL. According to Widenius "The basic idea for our dual-licensing was this: if you bought a license then we waived the GPL restriction that you have to redistribute your code as GPL" and that the current version of the OEM licence goes against that principle to the detriment of customers.

Widenius's posting suggested that commercial licensees of MySQL "consider if it's worth it to you to buy MySQL licenses under the current terms" and suggested that existing users should "be careful to review any new terms". He also discusses contributor agreements for dual-licensed code and the possible pitfalls for vendors and contributors and announced that he was adding "Monty Program Ab agrees that when it dual licenses code, it will not restrict the way the third party licensee uses the licensed copy of the code nor restrict how they use their own code" to his companies contributor agreement, although it actually appears to have been added to the preamble to the agreement.

When asked for a comment, a Sun spokesperson said "Nothing has changed in MySQL's OEM licensing for many years. It has remained substantially the same since MySQL's founders were actively part of fine-tuning their initial policies". They added that "We believe Sun is following the generally understood and accepted tenets of 'Dual Licensing'" and explained this meant "commercial rules for commercial licensees, GPL rules for GPL licensees. MySQL users have the same rights they have always had under GPL, and we offer an alternative for those who prefer a proprietary license."


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