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Re: MariaDB and the SCA


On Thu, Sep 3, 2009 at 4:09 PM, Arjen Lentz<arjen@xxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
> Hi Paul
> On 03/09/2009, at 10:54 PM, Paul McCullagh wrote:
>> As far as I know, with the advent of the BSD licensed libdrizzle
>> (https://launchpad.net/libdrizzle), which also runs with MySQL (and I assume
>> MariaDB), the dual licensing model is now irrelevant.
> You're legally correct (apart from libmysqld type apps that link in the
> entire server) but that's not how it's been sold for the last 5 years. The
> sales people's definition of "embedding" is not the same as what you and I
> see. They also futz with the definition of linking, and do some
> scare-mongering on IP risk (see, someone is making money -indirectly- off
> the SCO mess ;-)
> The result is that they have clients that purchased licenses that didn't
> need them, for various reasons.
> In 2007-2008 they even made the creator of an independent client library pay
> for interacting with the server; again that was done on the basis of risk.
> When I found out at the MySQL conf I slapped MySQL legal (I was already
> external) and told 'em if I ever saw it again I'd be quite public about it.
> They knew fulwell that there was no legal basis, and admitted as much. But
> it's happened since, this year in fact. So despite sane and conscientious
> lawyers, the fun continues. Revenue comes first.
> With "risk" as the validation force, the sales attitude will not chance
> until that leverage no longer exists anywhere in the server.
> The sales people run on commission and work with quarterly goals; they will
> do whatever it takes to close, including twist and lie. There is no "be a
> good citizen" or "be nice for the future". It's do the slick talk, close,
> and move on to the next client aka victim. It's essentially become an
> extortion scheme. But since clients can be presumed to be savvy enough to
> stand up for themselves or take appropriate legal advice, it's -as far as I
> know- legal. Doesn't make it right though.
> There are good people at Sun, there are good people at MySQL, and there are
> even good Sales people at Sun/MySQL.
> But MySQL AB regarded it was valid tactics ("necessary freedom to do their
> work" was what VP Kaj told me when I raised concern about tactics employed
> by Louis Fahrberger and Kerry Ancheta), and while Sun explicitly stating
> that this was not how it wanted to conduct its business, it has continued.
> It's very difficult to change what's essentially corporate policy.
> Specifically when the renumeration method for sales encourages (I won't say
> necessitates) it.
> And thus I no longer direct anyone to a MySQL sales person; it wouldn't be a
> fair thing to do to a fellow human being.
> Hence my opinion that dual licensing needs to go, from all parts of the
> server. Otherwise this will not stop.
> Having the BSD client library by Eric Day is fabulous both for licensing and
> for its nice design, but unfortunately it hasn't made the sales problem go
> away yet.

Back in the day there was an assertion in the MySQL internals PDF with
respect to the license of any client library created after reading
that doc. The PDF has been replaced by HTML and I don't see that claim
anymore. Does anyone remember this? It is here:

Because this is a GPL protocol, any product which uses it to connect
to a MySQL server, or to emulate a MySQL server, or to interpose
between any client and server which uses the protocol, or for any
similar purpose, is also bound by the GPL. Therefore if you use this
description to write a program, you must release your program as GPL.
Contact MySQL AB if you need clarification of these terms or if you
need to ask about alternative arrangements.

Mark Callaghan

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