Brian Behlendorf brian at
Fri Nov 21 22:18:29 UTC 2003

On Fri, 21 Nov 2003, Ryan Damon wrote:
> I have a question about mysql's licensing terms.  They provide an
> option to license either under their proprietary license, or the GPL.
> According to their website (and from what I have heard from others),
> mysql says that if you are only going to use their software inhouse
> and not distribute it to others, you can license it under the GPL.
> However, if you want to distribute it to third parties as part of your
> proprietary software, you cannot.  They seem to say that this applies
> even if you keep the mysql code separate from your own code and
> communicate only through some kind of linking or socket.  It seems to
> me that their restrictions on distribution actually go against the
> terms of the GPL.  Are other companies doing the same thing, and is
> this kind of practice generally considered ok by the open source
> community and/or FSF?

I believe this is because the *client* libraries (including, for example,
the JDBC driver) are GPLd, and thus are linked more intimately with the
applications that use them than simply over sockets.  What I'm not clear
on is whether you can distribute an application that requires, but does
not include, the GPL'd JDBC driver or client libraries.  I would assume
MySQL would also argue that such dependency also requires a license, but
may have a tougher time proving that.

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