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20 October 2009, 18:00

Stallman opposes Oracle's takeover of MySQL

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Richard Stallman
Source: cc-by-sa Chris McKenna
Following on from MySQL founder Monty Widenius, Richard Stallman, president of the Free Software Foundation, and non-profit organisations Knowledge Ecology International (KEI) and the Open Rights Group (ORG) have advised European Commissioner for Competition Neelie Kroes not to grant approval for Oracle's takeover of MySQL. In a joint open letter, they argue that the takeover would restrict competition in the database market.

The signatories stress that MySQL currently exerts pressure on Oracle in many market segments, and therefore it is to be expected that the database behemoth is likely to restrict further development of MySQL in favour of its own proprietary database.

They dispute the argument advanced by, among others, former MySQL AB CEO Marten Mickos, that should this happen, a MySQL fork would quickly arise, noting that this would remove the possibility of dual licensing, as only the copyright owner would be able to license the database under licenses other than the GPL. Oracle would be under no obligation to utilise income from commercial licenses for MySQL development and it would be a clear conflict of interest for the company to continue to develop a free alternative to its own proprietary database. Oracle has, according to the letter, been conspicuously silent over its plans for MySQL.


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