[License-discuss] proposal to revise and slightly reorganize the OSI licensing pages

Henrik Ingo henrik.ingo at avoinelama.fi
Mon Jun 11 07:18:42 UTC 2012

On Mon, Jun 11, 2012 at 9:41 AM, Bruce Perens <bruce at perens.com> wrote:
> On 06/10/2012 10:49 PM, Rick Moen wrote:
>> I believe this is entirely consistent with what I said, Bruce. You even
>> said 'Read caselaw.'
> I think we need to come to grips to the fact that it may be possible for GPL
> software to be embedded within a proprietary software product a la NuSphere
> without the result being infringement. At least as long as they provide
> source and a license statement for the GPL part.
> If you go back to Progress Software (NuSphere) v. MySQL, the MySQL guys
> signed a contract with Progress without ever having it vetted by a lawyer.
> NuSphere had a reasonable assumption that they had a right to embed the
> program in their product. The MySQL guys messed up in a big way and were
> lucky to not have had to pay for it.

To be clear, NuSphere did not embed MySQL in their product, rather
they embedded closed source components into MySQL and shipped a
modified MySQL without corresponding source.
http://www.gnu.org/press/mysql-affidavit.html (MySQL specific part
begins at §26)

This is not comparable to the customary use of MySQL where some Java
or PHP application uses MySQL as is, and over an API like JDBC to
store data. It is true that MySQL AB used to interpret the GPL as
covering also this use case. When buying Sun, Oracle has denounced
this interpretation and was supported by Eben Moglen and Carlo Piana
in doing so. (http://openlife.cc/blogs/2011/january/reposting-mark-schonewilles-blog-how-gpl-applies-mysql-use-cases
) Anyway, the NuSphere case was not an example of this use case.

All that said, yes, if one takes the "Using an API doesn't create
derivative works" to its extreme, then essentially the GPL and LGPL
would be the same thing. Which would be a funny relevation after a
couple decades of successful GPL enforcements and several companies
building a successful business on a more strict interpretation of GPL
/ the law.


henrik.ingo at avoinelama.fi
+358-40-8211286 skype: henrik.ingo irc: hingo

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