GPL and commercial licensing, MySQL dual licensing policy

Mikko Valimaki mikko.valimaki at
Mon Feb 4 18:14:23 UTC 2002

> > How is MySQL doing it? They say they use GPL license, but they do
not allow commercial use or packaging with commercial products?
> Anyway, MySQL requires a paid license if you either link your
(non-free) code directly with MySQL, or if it requires MySQL and you
> it with MySQL included.  (MySQL client-side code is not included in
this rule, since it is LGPLed.)

I don't get it: why would MySQL require a commercial license if you only
*ship* your (commercial) product "that requires MySQL" with MySQL

GPL infamously states: "...mere aggregation of another work not based on
the Program with the Program (or with a work based on the Program) on a
volume of a storage or distribution medium does not bring the other work
under the scope of this License." 

GPL fag practically gives up in explaining what this means: "What
constitutes combining two parts into one program? This is a legal
question, which ultimately judges will decide."

Obviously the meaning of "not based on the Program" is very unclear and
should be therefore interpreted in favor of the user of the license (who
has no negotiation power). 

Consider this example: is a graphical MySQL client "based on MySQL"?
Someone could say yes. Then, what if the client is general enough that
it can access many different databases? I would say it is not based on
MySQL and to keep that logic a database client that can solely  access
MySQL should be - quite oddly - "not based on MySQL".


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