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Re: MySQL vs SVN licensing

From: Paul Smith <pausmith_at_nortelnetworks.com>
Date: 2002-07-07 17:16:24 CEST

%% "Mark C. Chu-Carroll" <mcc@watson.ibm.com> writes:

>> Do you guys not want what I'm working on? Assuming it can make
>> through a code review of course. Or do you mean it in the sense
>> that I'm using ODBC so we should be fine?

  mcc> It's a bit funny to me watching this discussion this
  mcc> weekend. Stellation was released open-source last thursday. By
  mcc> thursday afternoon, we had our first request/volunteer for adding
  mcc> MySQL support. So we've been having almost exactly this
  mcc> discussion about whether or not we can support MySQL due to the
  mcc> fact that MySQL is GPL, and Stellation is CPL, and the two are
  mcc> incompatible.

I know there have been requests that this thread be deemed off-topic,
but I'm not sure that it is.

Can someone please explain to me what problems you see with creating
interfaces to MySQL? How, exactly, are you interfacing with the

Because the MySQL client library is covered under the LGPL, not the GPL,
and there is _absolutely no problem at all_ linking the LGPL'd client
library with your package, no matter _what_ the license is. It could be
100% proprietary and that would _still_ be OK. You just need to follow
the terms of the license which are not, after all, very onerous.

The only time you need to be concerned is if you're linking with GPL'd
code, such as the code contained in the MySQL server.

Maybe I'm misunderstanding what you're doing when you are adding MySQL
support... are you not using the client library?

  mcc> But these legal issues are tricky enough that a bunch of hackers
  mcc> simply *can't* draw conclusions safely. It's obnoxious, but the
  mcc> reality of the situation is, *someone* is going to have to consult
  mcc> a lawyer about this, to make sure that what you want to do isn't
  mcc> going to get Subversion into legal trouble.

Of course I'm not going to tell anyone they shouldn't consult an
attorney, but I think the situation surrounding the LGPL is quite well
understood, even by laymen, and the fact that LGPL libraries have been
used for years in this manner and no one, including the FSF, has lifted
a finger to stop it is pretty reassuring.

And, as I mentioned before, a very good way forward for those who don't
want to pay legal fees (maybe even safer, in some ways, than asking your
own attorney) is to just ask the copyright holder and see what they
say. I've known many people who've asked both the FSF and MySQL AB
about details of licensing and they always have responded with what they
think the license allows and doesn't. And, after all, what we're really
about here is following the wishes of the author as best we can, not
feeding the court system.

 Paul D. Smith <pausmith@nortelnetworks.com> HASMAT--HA Software Mthds & Tools
 "Please remain calm...I may be mad, but I am a professional." --Mad Scientist
   These are my opinions---Nortel Networks takes no responsibility for them.
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Received on Sun Jul 7 17:17:03 2002

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