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From:Zak Greant Date:March 19 2004 2:52am
Subject:Re: Questions from the front
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Greetings Mike, Greetings Community List,

Sorry for the massively delayed response. Things are rather hectic for 
me right now.

On Feb 23, 2004, at 12:45, Mike Hillyer wrote:
> Hello Again;
> Just to produce some discussion I thought I would share some end-user 
> questions. I am currently working on an article on licensing for my 
> website, which will probably be delayed till the results of all this 
> discussion is released by MySQL AB. Anyway as part of this I have done 
> some inquiries in different forums/sites for questions end users would 
> ask MySQL AB about licensing. If nothing else the questions give an 
> idea what some users out there are asking about.
> Questions follow:
> -------------------------------------------------------------
>  Here is one I've been wondering about. I've read the license 
> agreement at MySQL and I'm still not sure.
> As a programmer, am I free to develop web applications for clients 
> that use a mysql database or do I have to purchase a license? 
> Furthermore, if I develop one web application that is sold to several 
> clients (customized to suit their unique requirements, if any) am I 
> required to purchase mulitple licenses?
> I used to think that MySQL was completely free to use but recently 
> took a look at their licensing page and now believe that is not the 
> least in the scenarios above. I've asked a couple of other 
> people and it seems that I'm not the only one who isn't sure.
> --------------------------------------------------------------

As I answer these questions, please keep in mind that I am not a lawyer 
and I have not had the rest of MySQL review/approve my responses. Of 
course, I still have done my very best to make them accurate and 

You are free to develop web applications that use the GPL licensed 
version of MySQL.

If you choose to distribute those applications, you must do so under 
the terms of the GPL (or the GPL with our recent license extension).

If you do not want to do this, then you will need to acquire a 
commercial license from us.

We realize that this is not practical for some applications and are 
currently testing a licensing program (called the VAR program) that 
allows developers to freely include a client library that can only 
connect to a commercially licensed MySQL server. The developer does not 
need to purchase any licensing in this case.

The licensing fees are not practical for all applications, we are 
discussing ways to be better able to serve the needs of developers of 
these applications.

Also, as I understand it, the program should be developer friendly by 
sharing the revenue generated when a license is sold for an application 
that they have developed.

> --------------------------------------------------------------
> What happens if some guy reverse-engineers the MySQL communication 
> protocol and creates his own client library without ever looking at 
> (or using) any of the code written by MySQL AB ?
> --------------------------------------------------------------

We would likely assert that the client library forms a derivative work 
with the MySQL server (as it has no use on its own) and needs to be GPL 
licensed as well.

> --------------------------------------------------------------
> As a (mostly) comercial developer I would ask them to clarify the 
> comercial licensing.
> Here's the details of my situation.
> Because of the differences in SQL syntax the MySQL version of my 
> software suite will only work with MySQL. It is based off a common 
> code base that was originally developed for MSSQL. I am using ADO and 
> ODBC so I'm not actually interacting directly with the server.
> I do not ship the server with my software. I leave that up to the IT 
> department of the customer but I do consult with them about setup and 
> configuration. I do include the ODBC driver in my installation program 
> so I can make certain it gets installed.
> The way I understand things my customer will have to pay for a license 
> if they are a comercial organization. I would not be responsible for 
> any licensing.
> Am I incorrect?
> --------------------------------------------------------------

Currently, we would ask you to purchase at least a client library 
license (at $50 per license or less) and that the end user have one 
server license per running MySQL server.

The VAR program mentioned above will help resolve these issues.

> --------------------------------------------------------------
> If I write a program that is made to be used with MySQL (through 
> ODBC), does my software fall under GPL? Does it make a difference if 
> the program is made for personal, business (my private busines), 
> business (sell to other people) use?
> --------------------------------------------------------------

If you do not distribute the software, then you do not need a license. 
So, for personal use and most private business use, you can use the GPL 
licensed version.

If you choose to distribute, then you can only distribute under the 
terms of the GPL (or the GPL as amended by the recent exception) or 
another valid license option from MySQL.

As for the issue of selling, you are free to sell GPL licensed 
applications to people, and to charge for additional services for the 
applications (such as support, warranties, etc)


Questions from the frontMike Hillyer23 Feb
  • Re: Questions from the frontZak Greant19 Mar