CyberTech Rambler

December 9, 2009

MySQL cannot be converted to Apache License in place of GPL

Filed under: Uncategorized — ctrambler @ 12:09 am

PJ carries this story about the suggestion that one remedy for Oracle/SUN deal is to convert MySQL to Apache License. I am absolute against it. Why? It betrays a lot of open source developers who had coded for MySQL.

The reason for the objection has to do with how MySQL had handled contribution: For inclusion in the MySQL code base, you the developer must sign a copyright assignment form giving MySQL the copyright, with the understanding that while MySQL can keep a copy of the code in its proprietary version, MySQL must make a copy of the code available under GPL.

It is true that the assignment gives MySQL the ability to do whatever it wants with the code contribution, but I strongly believe there is an understanding that only MySQL alone, or its successor, SUN and now possibly Oracle or another owner of MySQL can exercise this right. To convert to Apachle License is a betrayal of this understanding and trust. If carried out, it is a betrayal, as this would had given everyone the right to take the code private. The chilling effect of this conversion to the community of developers contributing to dual license project is too great. The problem here is not that the majority is likely not to object to this conversion and quite a number of them will actually welcome this conversion, but the effect it has on the few who had genuinely believe only GPL is acceptable. Today it is them, those zealots of Open Source. Tomorrow, it could be you.

Using EC to force this conversion is disingenious. EC should not allow this. The negative impact it has on EU’s open source development effort is bigger than the effect of the death of MySQL. It is not acceptable.

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