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183 comments

My sql's influence? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31238022)

Go fuck yourself GPUs!

If MySQL over-reached with the GPL, tell the FSF! (2, Informative)

Entrope (68843) | more than 4 years ago | (#31238024)

The FSF also requires contributor agreements, and I would argue that the practical reason for this is the freedom to choose otherwise incompatible licenses in the future (such as migrating from GPLv2 -- not GPLv2-or-at-your-option-any-later-version -- to GPLv3). One common reason that the FSF says they want contributor agreements is to make it easier for them to pursue enforcement actions, but that should be available if they hold any copy rights in the work. They don't need to own all copy rights, but they require that as a condition of distributing the code anyway.

Setting aside all the arguments over whether it's a good idea to require contributor agreements, given that the FSF requires them, it's really hard for me to see how it constitutes any kind of "over-reach".

Re:If MySQL over-reached with the GPL, tell the FS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31238080)

Seems like the Afro GPL [wikipedia.org] is what they actually wanted.

Re:If MySQL over-reached with the GPL, tell the FS (1)

multisync (218450) | more than 4 years ago | (#31238578)

Seems like the Afro GPL is what they actually wanted.

The Afro [nostalgiaholic.com] GPL?

I think you meant Afero, or have I just been whooshed?

Re:If MySQL over-reached with the GPL, tell the FS (2, Funny)

FatdogHaiku (978357) | more than 4 years ago | (#31241030)

...or have I just been whooshed?

No, you have performed the "Reverse Whoosh".

I give you an 8.6

Re:If MySQL over-reached with the GPL, tell the FS (4, Informative)

teg (97890) | more than 4 years ago | (#31238084)

I don't think the "overreached" was about the contributor agreements, but rather the MySQL claim that the protocol for talking to the database (sending SQL queries) was GPL. Thus non-GPL software was not allowed to use the database, and you should buy the commercial versions.

Was that really it? (4, Interesting)

Estanislao Martnez (203477) | more than 4 years ago | (#31239126)

I don't have time to look this up at the moment, but what I recall as the most important and least conventional GPL interpretation is that MySQL (the company) took the position that applications that depended on MySQL (the RDBMS) as one of their components were derivative works that incorporated the RDBMS--and that details about linking or protocols were just not relevant. Therefore, unless you bought a commercial license from the company, such applications had to be distributed under GPL terms.

Put more carefully, the idea is an application is a derivative of MySQL is whether if it relies critically on MySQL to provide its functionality. So, for example, a blog management tool that absolutely required MySQL as its backend would be a derivative work, while a graphical SQL client that could connect to many different RDBMSes and generically examine and modify the schema might not be (at least not under this criterion).

They may have additionally taken the position that the protocol is subject to the license, or something similar to that, but that would hardly be the whole position they've taken.

Note that the FSF itself takes a similar position with regards to linking to libraries, as shown by this old exchange about CLISP and readline [sourceforge.net] . Quoting from one of RMS's emails there:

The FSF position would be that this is still one program, which has only been disguised as two. The reason it is still one program is that the one part clearly shows the intention for incorporation of the other part.

I say this based on discussions I had with our lawyer long ago. The issue first arose when NeXT proposed to distribute a modified GCC in two parts and let the user link them. Jobs asked me whether this was lawful. It seemed to me at the time that it was, following reasoning like what you are using; but since the result was very undesirable for free software, I said I would have to ask the lawyer.

What the lawyer said surprised me; he said that judges would consider such schemes to be "subterfuges" and would be very harsh toward them. He said a judge would ask whether it is "really" one program, rather than how it is labeled.

So the lesson here is one should not put too much stock on arguments about static vs. dynamic linking, linking vs. network protocols, or other such technical details, because judges will most likely find that none of those details are really the essential issue.

Re:Was that really it? (1)

IntlHarvester (11985) | more than 4 years ago | (#31240132)

So the lesson here is one should not put too much stock on arguments about static vs. dynamic linking, linking vs. network protocols, or other such technical details, because judges will most likely find that none of those details are really the essential issue.

While that is true, I don't know how relevant your example is. In that case, Next was contemplating de-coupling parts of GCC, but database applications are already very loosely coupled with the RDBMS through generic driver layers. (absent any proprietary SQL statements)

MySQL's position also created all kinds of weird quandaries. For example, if you had a pre-existing proprietary ODBC application, you supposedly could not simply reconfigure it to use MySQL's GPLed driver. That creates a restriction on running the software and seems to violate Section 0 of the GPL.

Re:Was that really it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31240916)

Correct, this is no overreach, this is by design. There is no philosophical difference between a communication protocol that works like 'push arg; call [import]', or 'push arg; call statfun', or 'cout "Aarg\nCfunid\n";' - they all describe the exact same thing. However, there can be trickinesses. In many cases applications can be forced to load libraries by third parties. Think of a GPL shell extension being loaded in Explorer. It is clear that in this case Explorer does not attract the terms of the GPL. This means that whether a program is covered by the license terms of a library it includes cannot purely be decided from whether it links to it or not - it very much depends on the specific situation you're in.

Re:If MySQL over-reached with the GPL, tell the FS (1)

belmolis (702863) | more than 4 years ago | (#31238110)

I think that the point of the article is that MYSQL overreached in claiming that the MYSQL protocol was subject to the GPL. Protocols cannot be copyrighted and therefore cannot fall under the GPL.

Re:If MySQL over-reached with the GPL, tell the FS (1, Troll)

hardburn (141468) | more than 4 years ago | (#31238238)

Protocols cannot be copyrighted and therefore cannot fall under the GPL.

[citation needed]

Re:If MySQL over-reached with the GPL, tell the FS (3, Informative)

digitalunity (19107) | more than 4 years ago | (#31238296)

You can't copyright a protocol. A protocol is a logical construct. Compare it to something like COM. Microsoft couldn't copyright COM. They could patent it though. They copyrighted MSDN articles about COM, and the COM libraries themselves are copyrighted, but the interface itself is not encumbered by copyrights.

You could however copyright a manual or other "artistic" work describing the protocol, but not the header files required to use the library. Additionally, a protocol could be patented. The MySQL name was trademarked as well. They had their bases covered, but saying the MySQL protocol itself was copyrighted is just blowing hot smoke.

Re:If MySQL over-reached with the GPL, tell the FS (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31238338)

of course you're correct about the protocol, you cant apply copyright to a set of conventions, just
documents describing them or implementations of those conventions

but i'm curious about your statement about headers. even though headers are commonly believed
to be non-copyrightable, i don't see any particular reason why they shouldn't be, and have
seen plenty of license language in .h files

Re:If MySQL over-reached with the GPL, tell the FS (1)

digitalunity (19107) | more than 4 years ago | (#31238940)

Yes, assertions of copyright do exist in header files. There could be artistic aspects of a header file that are copyrightable, but the functional aspects cannot be copyrighted. If you're not sure which parts are copyrightable, but you have a good faith belief that some aspect of a file could be considered artistic, it's better to put the notice in the file as a CYA. This holds true despite the fact that in Berne convention signatory countries it should be assumed to be copyrighted by default.

Saga v. Accolade(FN89: 977 F.2d 1510, 24 USPQ2d 1561 (9th Cir. 1992)) established that it is fair use to use header files, but narrowly defines them as interoperable function-only definition files.

The only artistic aspects of a header file that I can imagine would be a complex macro, lengthy comments or header-defined media data(static byte arrays representing audio sounds or pixmaps).

Re:If MySQL over-reached with the GPL, tell the FS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31239768)

Microsoft released DCOM and Active-X to ECMA for standardization (this was around 1996, I think), so they never attempted to assert patent or other exclusivity rights to the protocols themselves. So that is not a good counterexample.

CIFS and FAT are more interesting examples, since in those cases it seems that Microsoft tried to assert IP protection against outside implementers.

Re:If MySQL over-reached with the GPL, tell the FS (1)

digitalunity (19107) | more than 4 years ago | (#31240636)

Submission to ECMA standardization does not limit Microsoft's ability to seek remedy for patent infringement by other implementations of the device or format. This is a common misconception about standardization in software. ECMA only requires Microsoft issue reasonable and non-discriminatory licensing. The problem therein is that only for-profit implementations can afford the licensing.

I am not aware if they did or did not submit FAT or FAT32 to ECMA, but even if they did, they could continue to sue other implementors to force them into revenue sharing license agreements. The funny thing is if you've seen graphs of Microsoft's revenue, this money is a tiny tiny fraction of their income and is likely counterproductive. FAT support is included in a huge array of devices because Windows is ubiquitous and Microsoft shouldn't do anything to dissuade device manufacturers from supporting Windows out of the box with as little hassle as possible.

As Linux and OSX slowly creep up in marketshare, device manufacturers may start to natively support other operating systems to save money, forcing their products to use a serial protocol and host software to access it(much like many smartphones or graphing calculators). This is a hassle for consumers because the device manufacturers often don't work with the newest operating systems like Win7 or Vista 64.

Copyright in protocols (3, Informative)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#31238352)

A protocol is a method, process, and system of communication. Here's what United States copyright law has to say on methods, processes, and systems [copyright.gov] : "In no case does copyright protection for an original work of authorship extend to any idea, procedure, process, system, method of operation, concept, principle, or discovery, regardless of the form in which it is described, explained, illustrated, or embodied in such work." Likewise, the IBM PC BIOS syscall interface is a protocol for applications to communicate with hardware drivers, yet Compaq and Phoenix were able to clone it by having one team of programmers make a description of the protocol (which isn't a derivative work) and having another team implement it.

Re:If MySQL over-reached with the GPL, tell the FS (5, Informative)

cduffy (652) | more than 4 years ago | (#31238366)

[citation needed]

Vendors selling knock-off print cartridges have been allowed to use code copied outright from legitimate cartridges in order to fulfill a "security protocol" between the cartridge and printer -- a finding which has held up on appeal.

You might also find Groklaw's analysis of whether the set of values found in the SysV UNIX headers (not the comments, but the functional portions) are copyrightable interesting. Hint: they're not; this is because there's no artistic choice in making them what they are -- their form is precisely dictated by their function.

In the same way, the minimal necessary set of similarities between a 3rd-party MySQL driver and the official one compromises the MySQL protocol, and that protocol (as opposed to documentation describing it or code implementing it at an abstract enough level that the implementer has choices to make in the process) is uncopyrightable for the reason given above.

Re:If MySQL over-reached with the GPL, tell the FS (1)

cenc (1310167) | more than 4 years ago | (#31239210)

I wonder if I could use that as defense to legally download all the crappy music and movies on bittorrent I want. I am almost 100% certain no creativity went in to most of it (at least in recent years).

Re:If MySQL over-reached with the GPL, tell the FS (5, Interesting)

segedunum (883035) | more than 4 years ago | (#31238592)

Read the article.

If this is true, and protocols are subject to the GPL, then Linus's understanding of it is flawed and userspace in a Linux based system cannot talk to Linux kernelspace in the trouble-free way he describes. A non-GPLed piece of software cannot talk to a GPLed piece of software via HTTP......... The list goes on. Obviously we know that this does happen and that the concept is bullshit. MySQL merely used it to muddy the waters, confuse people over licensing and get people to pay for licenses when perhaps they didn't really need to. Certainly, the vast majority of software for internal use doesn't require licenses from MySQL. Monty is now off into his own little world railing against that when it was what made his company money and got it sold to Sun for a stupidly overpriced amount, making him some pocket change as well I wouldn't wonder.

Thankfully, the article knows this is silly and not only says so, but blames MySQL for it. This is the way the GPL has always worked in other projects, and was known to work. MySQL simply used it as an avenue for confusion and to get people to cough up, which had the side-effect of people being more afraid of the GPL than they needed to be.

Re:If MySQL over-reached with the GPL, tell the FS (2, Informative)

ComputerSlicer23 (516509) | more than 4 years ago | (#31239268)

I agree with you, but I believe you to be wrong on a technical point. The license applied to the kernel is the GPLv2 with the specific stipulation that the userspace boundary was not considered a derivative work by the author. Otherwise, I believe distributing a binary that linked with the Linux kernel would have been a GPL violation (depending on the weird interpretation about OS/tools libraries "get out of jail free" clause in the GPLv2).

See COPYING [kernel.org] from the linux kernel. The absolute top clarifies the copyright owners distinctions.

The thing about the GPL is that it isn't "viral" despite what folks claim. It merely has terms of usage, just like virtually any other software. When found in violation of the terms, the easiest way to comply happens to be to release your source. You could stop using the GPL software and move along. The only person who can take you to court over the GPL is a copyright holder. Your "customers" sure can't. So if Linus says: "I don't consider that a derivative work", in the legal document describing it, he'll have a really hard time telling folks in court: "I think that's a derived work, and they are in violation of my license".

Kirby

Re:If MySQL over-reached with the GPL, tell the FS (1)

einhverfr (238914) | more than 4 years ago | (#31239394)

I agree with you, but I believe you to be wrong on a technical point. The license applied to the kernel is the GPLv2 with the specific stipulation that the userspace boundary was not considered a derivative work by the author. Otherwise, I believe distributing a binary that linked with the Linux kernel would have been a GPL violation (depending on the weird interpretation about OS/tools libraries "get out of jail free" clause in the GPLv2).

Wouldn't that make ndiswrapper and the Nvidia drivers into GPL violations?

But that can't work. The proprietary bits of the latter were ported from another platform (Windows) and an LGPL wrapper was provided. It is hence not a derivative work.

The same goes for using proprietary wireless drivers under ndiswrapper with or without a linking exception. An NDIS driver doesn't suddenly become derivative of Linus's work just because it is indirectly linked to it.

Re:If MySQL over-reached with the GPL, tell the FS (1)

ComputerSlicer23 (516509) | more than 4 years ago | (#31239606)

Linus has also stated publicly: "The NVIDIA driver is not a derivative work, because it existed outside of the Linux kernel, and runs almost totally independent of any of the Linux internals". Note, that the small section that is Linux specific, is GPL'ed, and is distributed in source form. I can find the exact quote for you, if you'd like. If we applied the same logic for the NVIDIA to the kernel to a new back end optimizer for the GNU C Compiler (aka GCC), you can bet that the owners of the copyright (the FSF), would come after you with a vengeance. I believe they are highly likely to win. In fact, the FSF does believe that the NVIDIA driver is a GPL violation (and many of the other bits of the various firmwares are a violation), but Linus is far more practical, and says: "I don't care, you aren't using my code in any way that offends me, but you're making the OS more useful, more power to you".

You're thinking that the GPL is viral, again, it isn't a damn disease, you have to analyze who the copyright owners are, and what complaint could be made and who is allowed to make it. As for the NDISWrapper situation, it would break down as follows: The original driver author (read the hardware manufacturer) might take legal action against folks distributing their compiled binaries, because that is likely a copyright violation. The person who is using NDISWrappers could realize that person who distributed the software to them, didn't comply with the GPL (because the binary portions were given to them without source in the "preferred form"). The only person who could could take legal action to remedy this situation is the author of the NDISWrappers as they are the copyright owner. Thus it's highly unlikely that there could be legal action. Alternatively, if NDISWrappers doesn't actually ship the binaries for the actual drivers, there is no violation. The end user is doing what is hypothetically a violation of the GPL. The end user can do absolutely anything they like, the GPL only kicks in when it is distributed.

This is the same loophole that Sun used to make Linux drivers run under Solaris, because they forced the end users to actually compile the drivers from source using a shim compatibility layer. Solaris would load those drivers that the end user compiled, and because they were distributed in source form to the end user, there was no GPL violation according the letter of the license, but was widely viewed as a violation of the spirit of the license. So if you ship the GPL'ed source/binaries in compliance with the GPL, and a separate piece that can operate on that source/binary it's no problem (see the GPL FAQ section about "works in aggregate").

Kirby

Re:If MySQL over-reached with the GPL, tell the FS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31240180)

I agree with you, but I believe you to be wrong on a technical point. The license applied to the kernel is the GPLv2 with the specific stipulation that the userspace boundary was not considered a derivative work by the author. Otherwise, I believe distributing a binary that linked with the Linux kernel would have been a GPL violation (depending on the weird interpretation about OS/tools libraries "get out of jail free" clause in the GPLv2).

It is not at all certain that is the case. Linux added the 'specific stipulation' mainly because he didn't want FUD spreading to Linux application developers.

Re:If MySQL over-reached with the GPL, tell the FS (1)

ComputerSlicer23 (516509) | more than 4 years ago | (#31240396)

Well if API compatibility is all it takes, then I can say *any* piece of GPL code is an API, therefore I can re-use it as a library. That's a very, very slippery slope. The only piece that makes it strange is that the GPL has specific and explicit exceptions for OS and system libraries, which Linux obviously is the OS, so it is not extremely clear to me how that would apply. However, you can see the same type of care is taken by the FSF with respect to various supporting libraries they ship with GCC, you'll find that the libgcc_s.so.1 library that is linked via GCC are "GPL + exceptions". See this e-mail [mail-archive.com] about the topic, that includes the special exception.

If it is the API nature of the Linux kernel that makes it okay to link with the kernel and not be GPL'ed, that's very, very bad. All I'd have to do is make an API out of any old GPL'ed software I feel like, and then I would appear to be free of any GPL terms. I believe that to be wrong. If it is the fact that it's an Operating System, that's just a flaw in the wording of the license that for the most part doesn't hurt anything. If it is because there's an explicit exception, that's a very good thing.

Kirby

Re:If MySQL over-reached with the GPL, tell the FS (1)

nedlohs (1335013) | more than 4 years ago | (#31238626)

You're the one who needs to provide the citation. What exactly is being copyrighted in order to copyright a protocol?

Sure the code that implements is would be a computer program, that's copyrightable.

A document that specifies it would be a literary work, that's copyrightable.

But the protocol itself??? So my clean room implementation without ever seeing any of the work of the protocol author violates their copyright? What did I copy?

Re:If MySQL over-reached with the GPL, tell the FS (1)

russotto (537200) | more than 4 years ago | (#31238958)

But the protocol itself??? So my clean room implementation without ever seeing any of the work of the protocol author violates their copyright? What did I copy?

Ask the Eighth Circuit, which ruled that bnetd infringed upon Blizzard's copyrights (as well as violating the DMCA) despite the bnetd authors not even having access the code for the servers which implemented the protocol they reverse engineered.

Re:If MySQL over-reached with the GPL, tell the FS (1)

belmolis (702863) | more than 4 years ago | (#31239146)

You misunderstand the case. The Court did not rule that Blizzard could copyright protocols. Rather, it ruled that BnetD violated the DMCA's anti-circumvention provisions as well as provisions of Blizzard's EULA forbidding reverse engineering.

Re:If MySQL over-reached with the GPL, tell the FS (1)

hardburn (141468) | more than 4 years ago | (#31239382)

You're the one who needs to provide the citation.

That's an interesting statement. Usually it's the one making assertions that needs to back up their info with facts, not the one asking for clarification.

I can see plenty of reasons why protocols shouldn't be copyrightable. I can see plenty of reason why "Method and system for placing a purchase order via a communications network" shouldn't be a patentable invention, but it technically still is. I'm looking for a direct court case ruling on this sort of thing. Until that happens, it's all just armchair lawyering, even if it's done by actual lawyers.

Re:If MySQL over-reached with the GPL, tell the FS (1)

belmolis (702863) | more than 4 years ago | (#31239460)

Actually, I was just explaining what the article meant, not making an independent claim about copyright, so a citation was hardly required. And no, this is not a borderline case like the example that you cite. The circumstances under which methods may be patented are a matter of contention. That pure ideas like protocols are not subject to copyright is not a matter of contention.

Re:If MySQL over-reached with the GPL, tell the FS (1)

hardburn (141468) | more than 4 years ago | (#31240048)

So let's say you were a lawyer for MySQL/Sun/Oracle/whoever owns it now, and you were told to prosecute a case involving the company's supposed copyright on the protocol. The argument on the defense involves many of the case laws cited in this thread (printer cartridge case, header files, etc.)

On hearing those arguments from the defense, are you just going to roll over and take it? Or are you going to find an obscure piece of case law from the 1950s involving a local dispute involving a bizzare combination of sheep, a telephone poll, and a WWI-vintage howitzer that actually manages to win your case?

Until that case actually happens, it's all just a guess. Ask 10 lawyers on this subject, and they'll give you 10 different reasons for one way or the other (a few of which won't be immediately obvious).

I don't want protocols to be copyrightable, but I'm not going to assume they're not until I hear of a direct ruling on the matter.

Re:If MySQL over-reached with the GPL, tell the FS (1)

cduffy (652) | more than 4 years ago | (#31239576)

I gave you everything you needed to look up some on-point rulings elsewhere, but to make it more explicit, here's the print cartridge case [wikipedia.org] , and . See also section 1201(f)(3) of the DMCA [harvard.edu] , which explicitly permits reverse engineering for purposes of interoperability. To make it even more clear, see Title 17, Circular 92, Chapter 1, Section 102 [copyright.gov] , which lays it out explicitly:

(b) In no case does copyright protection for an original work of authorship extend to any idea, procedure, process, system, method of operation, concept, principle, or discovery, regardless of the form in which it is described, explained, illustrated, or embodied in such work.

Clear enough?

Re:If MySQL over-reached with the GPL, tell the FS (1)

shaitand (626655) | more than 4 years ago | (#31241062)

"That's an interesting statement. Usually it's the one making assertions that needs to back up their info with facts, not the one asking for clarification."

In an academic paper or a news source I would agree. When it comes to slashdot postings I think everyone is free to state opinions and verifying their accuracy is up to the reader.

Re:If MySQL over-reached with the GPL, tell the FS (1)

belmolis (702863) | more than 4 years ago | (#31239404)

It follows immediately from the definition of copyright. Contrary to the views of many people, including /.-ers, copyright is not some vague and general form of ownership of intellectual property but applies specifically to the expression of ideas, not ideas. A document describing a protocol is subject to copyright, but not the protocol since it is merely an idea, not the expression thereof. Virtually any competent treatment of copyright, including the Wikipedia article [wikipedia.org] , will explain this.

Re:If MySQL over-reached with the GPL, tell the FS (2, Insightful)

nedlohs (1335013) | more than 4 years ago | (#31238314)

Since the contributor agreement had nothing to do with the over-reaching, that's pretty much irrelevant.

I think the FSF overreaches (1)

einhverfr (238914) | more than 4 years ago | (#31238340)

I personally think the FSF does overreach in this area. Certainly RMS's rhetoric about what the GPL requires overreaches. If we believe RMS, the GPL reaches well beyond areas traditionally covered by copyright law and into areas like interoperability, which I think is just plain wrong. Indeed, I think linking itself is in no way sufficient to argue derivation.

I think more level heads, like some of the more moderate lawyers at the SFLC, and more level-headed engineers like Linus are closer.

Re:I think the FSF overreaches (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 4 years ago | (#31238594)

Note that, although the FSF requires copyright assignment, they then grant you an unconditional, non-exlusive, license to the code that you contribute to them. This means that you can do anything with the code (including use it in proprietary code and sublicense it under any other set of conditions). The only thing you can't do is sue someone else for infringing the copyright (because you don't have standing to do so).

some of the more moderate lawyers at the SFLC

Uh, what? When did the SFLC get moderate lawyers? They're incredibly shill-like, omitting key facts in press releases and doing everything that they can to push the GPL at the expense of more permissive licenses.

Re:I think the FSF overreaches (1)

einhverfr (238914) | more than 4 years ago | (#31238944)

Note that, although the FSF requires copyright assignment, they then grant you an unconditional, non-exlusive, license to the code that you contribute to them. This means that you can do anything with the code (including use it in proprietary code and sublicense it under any other set of conditions). The only thing you can't do is sue someone else for infringing the copyright (because you don't have standing to do so).

That's not my complaint.

The issue has more to do with RMS's discussions of relicensing BSD-licensed works and the like, and his argument that one cannot build a bridge between proprietary and GPL applications without going through pipes and the like. However, derivation is a much wider question than the method of communication. For example, I cannot understand how anyone could think ndiswrapper runs into GPL issues even without a linking exception.

This especially comes up when asking questions about use of BSD code in GPL applications, particularly where the GPL v3 is involved.

(I don't think the 3-clause or 2-clause BSD license can be reduced to the GPL plus additional terms as defined by the GPL v3.)

Uh, what? When did the SFLC get moderate lawyers? They're incredibly shill-like, omitting key facts in press releases and doing everything that they can to push the GPL at the expense of more permissive licenses.

I was thinking of folks like Richard Fontana. Having discussed BSD/GPLv3 compatibility with both him and Moglen, I can tell you there is a world of difference regarding how they interpret the licenses.

How do you profit from "free"? You start changing! (5, Interesting)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 4 years ago | (#31238058)

People loved when CDDB offered to identify CD's so when ripping you could not have to type everything in for your music app. Many people donated time to this "project"... but once it was done, suddenly developers started to have to pay Gracenote for the data, and "free" music programs went away for paid-for-somehow models like Windows Media Player, iTunes, and the such.

It seems like bait and switch is a viable business model these days. Start off as a free project taking free help, then turn around and exercise your copyright burning your former free help but having plenty of money for paid help to take their place.

Re:How do you profit from "free"? You start changi (1)

Night Goat (18437) | more than 4 years ago | (#31239352)

Oh, why did you have to remind me of that? That was the most infuriating thing.

Not the same: Data vs. Code (1)

kbahey (102895) | more than 4 years ago | (#31239804)

You are mixing up things, causing confusion, most probably unintentionally.

As unfortunate the CDDB/Gracenotes was, it is very different from MySQL.

First, MySQL is code, not data. The GPL is a good license for free software, but should not be used to non-code stuff. It was not meant to be used for things that are not code.

Second MySQL is GPL, the CDDB data is, well, there is a dispute about it. The GPL protects a given version that it will remain free forever. The copyright holder, if they so chose, can license newer versions under something else, but the old version will remain GPL.

So, Oracle can choose to not license future versions of MySQL under the GPL, but the existing versions will remain GPL. If enough people care for it, and rally behind it, it can be a viable fork of the product by a community team and/or sponsored by other companies. MySQL is being used by large companies and web sites all over the place. This includes Google, Yahoo, Facebook, Digg, Slashdot, ...etc. It is too widespread to be just killed off ...

MySQL sucks (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31238142)

Why do people keep raving on about it? It's a known slab of shit by even the most junior of DBAs.

FIFY (2, Funny)

MrEricSir (398214) | more than 4 years ago | (#31238240)

DELETE FROM comments WHERE title="MySQL sucks";

Re:FIFY (2, Informative)

Nerdfest (867930) | more than 4 years ago | (#31239194)

Mildly off-topic here, but related. I always wonder why people keep insisting on capitalizing the keywords in SQL statements, and in some cases, column and table names as well. There is also a very high proportion of people seem to like to remove vowels, use all caps and underscores. Most of this seems to be conventions that came out of the 70's and 80's where only upper case was available, and space for column names was limited. Well, the 70's are over, and many DBAs, and through convention, many others have not applied the same readability improvements to SQL as they have to other languages. I think in many cases, the upper case keyword thing was people misunderstanding manual conventions, where they iondicate keywords bt printing them in upper case.

There, I've had my rant. Spread the word on readable SQL.

Re:FIFY (3, Insightful)

hardburn (141468) | more than 4 years ago | (#31239840)

Counter-rant: I usually do it the way the GP does, in that SQL keywords are uppercase, while user-created stuff (columns, table names, etc.) are lowercase. The idea is to naturally draw your eye to certain parts of the statement.

Re:FIFY (1)

fimbulvetr (598306) | more than 4 years ago | (#31240836)

Agreed. I think code is _much_ easier to read, understand and work with if it's always the exact same syntax, tabbing/spacing/commas, etc(I suppose the fact that almost every software project has style guidelines lends credence to this). For this sort of stuff, especially harder (ORM generated or handwritten) queries, I use a very niche program named sqlinform that does an amazing job at putting queries into "your" style. When I do cleanups, the queries usually go from indecipherable to easily understandable. It by default uc'd the keywords, which I never did before but now I find it quite a bit easier to work with.

I'm not affiliated with the software/author, but I'm continually impressed how just how bizarre this software's functions are, yet how useful it is.

Re:MySQL sucks (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31238274)

most of the slashdot crowd will never achieve junior DBA-level knowledge.

Certainly not off topic (0, Troll)

einhverfr (238914) | more than 4 years ago | (#31238392)

Sure, MySQL sucks. MySQL sucks technically. The licensing sucks. The whole thing stinks.

However, if you read the story (a lot to ask of Slashdot readers, I know), you would realize that this was about folks discussing the negative influence of MySQL on the whole FOSS industry. Moreover it is about Oracle's purchase possibly ending that era.

Oracle may be a very menacing, evil corporation, but they might have done us all a favor now.

(Honestly, PostgreSQL is a much better RDBMS all around. So is Firebird. Heck SQLite is better for many applications than MySQL.)

Re:Certainly not off topic (1)

hardburn (141468) | more than 4 years ago | (#31239902)

Heck SQLite is better for many applications than MySQL.

I used to believe that, but not anymore. SQLite is OK when you have just one update going at one time. Yeah, there are applications where that will work fine, but they're fewer than you might think.

SQLite's method of locking is to get an advisory lock on the whole file (so no using it over NFS). If it can't get a lock due to another update running, it waits 30 seconds and tries again. If it still can't get it, it fails. That just won't do for much more than a handful of processes running at once.

MySQL is not so bad anymore, and once it's setup, it's not much harder to keep going compared to SQLite, so you might as well use it.

Web hosting (0, Offtopic)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#31238402)

MySQL is more scalable than SQLite and available from more shared web hosting providers than PostgreSQL. In many cases, a web hosting provider such as Go Daddy will make MySQL available to shared hosting customers but require an upgrade to a virtual dedicated server (and its memory-hogging Java-based administration tool) in order to use PostgreSQL.

Re:Web hosting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31238852)

SQLite, now let's see. What might I conclude about SQLite from it's title. Maybe that it's SQL? Hmmm... Maybe that it's, oh i dunno LITE!

Re:Web hosting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31238964)

Which addresses nothing about the comparison with PostgreSQL that made up the other 90% of his comment.

Re:Web hosting (1)

ducomputergeek (595742) | more than 4 years ago | (#31239970)

You mean phpPGAdmin? I don't find it hogs any more memory than phpMyAdmin. Now we can use pgAdmin II on the desktop to connect if we want.

Re:Web hosting (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#31240100)

You mean phpPGAdmin?

I mean the TurboPanel that comes with a Go Daddy virtual dedicated server. True, that's a Go Daddy problem, not directly a PostgreSQL problem. (Google TurboPanel and two out of the top three are "Go Daddy sucks" posts.) But it illustrates the fact that PostgreSQL has more deployment hassle than MySQL.

Re:Web hosting (1)

ducomputergeek (595742) | more than 4 years ago | (#31240958)

We deploy PostgreSQL at pair networks and then a root server at another hosting company. In the case of pair, we do all the admin from the console. In the case of the other hosting company we use Plesk. Plesk seems to handle it quite nicely and uses phpPGadmin for its web-based administration.

I've also used PostgreSQL with Cpanel with similar results. This seems to be a GoDaddy problem, not a PostgreSQL problem.

Re:MySQL sucks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31238652)

Modded as flamebait because the modder couldn't come up with a rebuttal that wouldn't get him laughed off of Slashdot.

Not the only project to work this way. (5, Interesting)

Martin Foster (4949) | more than 4 years ago | (#31238150)

MySQL caused a bit of a stir where I worked for the same reasons mentioned in the article. It is not always about doing the legwork, as anyone can pretty much take a few hours of research to find out licenses, variants in code and so forth.

What IS the problem however, is the fact that the GPL is a complex legal document and some companies don't want to pay the fees necessary for a small battalion of lawyers to confirm its use on a server platform or within a product. Its polar opposite the BSD license however is far easier for anyone to interpret and has a lot of legal precedence behind it.

The MySQL dual licensing issue reminds me of another project I encountered. iText PDF (http://www.itextpdf.com) is a Java open-source license that was traditionally released under the Mozilla Public License 1.1.

Oddly enough, just as their tutorials disappeared when the author of the library published a book. To which is used exclusively when asking for help in the forums, they also changed the license to the AGPL.

This seemed to be a way to force companies into buying their dual license. Apparently a lot of people used their product on a back-end servers to generate PDF invoices and so forth. By forcing the license change it meant that their changes to the code would have to be released and the viral nature of the AGPL forced the hands of many formerly legal products.

Fortunately, their MPL licensed version is only a few months older then their new code and oddly works with their Tutorial files they have hidden away in an old archive on Source forge.

Not that myself or my organization was opposed to licensing legally. However when you have a small, no fee, in house product being distributed within your organization and they are looking for 100$ US or more per instance for licensing fees, it rather makes it a hard pill to swallow.

MySQL had the same problem some of their fees seemed to range in the 300$ US per instance depending on the type of licensing involved and overhead of the company you used to get them. Some individuals at our organization recalls getting Oracle licenses for that price!

In a way, are these open source products or are they simply using the moniker as a way to attract people and force them into costly solutions?

Re:Not the only project to work this way. (2, Interesting)

AlXtreme (223728) | more than 4 years ago | (#31238348)

In a way, are these open source products or are they simply using the moniker as a way to attract people and force them into costly solutions?

In most cases they start out the former and end up the latter.

The problem is that some people expect to be able to live off of their open source projects, or at least feel they are entitled to earn a buck. Feel free to ask for donations, add a couple of ads to your website or even offering an "enterprise version", but having a successful project doesn't mean that people should pay you for it. Those people you are demanding cash from are the same people who made your project a success.

Then again, it is their project. If they want to shoot themselves in the foot by alienating their community, nobody can stop them. There are always alternatives.

Re:Not the only project to work this way. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31240702)

extjs did this too. but also added a really bizarre interpretation of gpl on top it.

that said, i really just have a problem with license changes in conjunction with contributor agreements.

if somebody wants to change the license for code they labored over, rockon. but i submitted my patches to the community.

Re:Not the only project to work this way. (1)

happy_place (632005) | more than 4 years ago | (#31238406)

of course most people don't pay anything. they wait to be slapped on the hand because the issue is complicated and there's just enough leeway to claim ignorance. unless the GPL nazi's come knocking they coast...

Re:Not the only project to work this way. (3, Interesting)

einhverfr (238914) | more than 4 years ago | (#31238450)

I tell people, look for multi-vendor projects. This avoids a lot of this crap. PostgreSQL, Linux, Apache, etc. are all great projects because the authors have cultivated commercial involvement from a variety of companies. The other side are the single-vendor ones like MySQL, SugarCRM, etc. which have dual-license models. They are the companies to avoid.

Re:Not the only project to work this way. (1)

John Whitley (6067) | more than 4 years ago | (#31238688)

some companies don't want to pay the fees necessary for a small battalion of lawyers to confirm its use on a server platform or within a product.

It doesn't take a "battalion of lawyers". It just takes a working relationship with qualified legal counsel, who is knowledgable in modern software copyright issues. It used to be that such folks were scarce as hen's teeth, but now you mostly just have to know enough to ask for and retain the right attorney or firm, on the terms appropriate for your size of business. Development will need to participate, but mostly this comes down to educating the team(s) to percolate up requests like: "hey, I'd like to use package X which has license Y, is that license OK?" This query either hits cache ("license Y is known to be {good,bad}"), or misses and becomes a review request to an attorney.

Re:Not the only project to work this way. (1)

russotto (537200) | more than 4 years ago | (#31239060)

Development will need to participate, but mostly this comes down to educating the team(s) to percolate up requests like: "hey, I'd like to use package X which has license Y, is that license OK?" This query either hits cache ("license Y is known to be {good,bad}"), or misses and becomes a review request to an attorney.

The problem is that unless you're in a large company which considers the occasional copyright lawsuit as a method of sharpening its lawyers' claws, the lawyer is going to tell you in ambiguous cases, or even non-ambiguous cases where the copyright holder is known to be a bastard: "Well, the letter of the law says you can use it, but they could sue and we could lose and I can't recommend the risk". You may as well replace your lawyer with button which plays the word "No" when pushed. Few companies are going to be willing to risk litigation even if they are in the right.

Re:Not the only project to work this way. (5, Insightful)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 4 years ago | (#31239472)

> What IS the problem however, is the fact that the GPL is a complex legal document

Nonsense. As legal documents go, it's ridiculously simple. The only time the question of it's "complexity" come up is when people want to either bash it or violate it.

Re:Not the only project to work this way. (1)

IntlHarvester (11985) | more than 4 years ago | (#31240224)

The only time the question of it's "complexity" come up is when people want to either bash it or violate it.

You may have noticed that we're discussing a situation where a GPL vendor pushed a significantly more complex interpretation.

Crap Alert!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31240786)

What IS the problem however, is the fact that the GPL is a complex legal document and some companies don't want to pay the fees necessary for a small battalion of lawyers to confirm its use on a server platform or within a product. Its polar opposite the BSD license however is far easier for anyone to interpret and has a lot of legal precedence behind it.

Seriously... are you this dense or is this something you do on the side?

Oh wait, you are pushing the BSD-its-safer-better-and-easier so youre starting to believe your own BS.

MySQL's Influence on the GPL? (5, Funny)

jupo (717073) | more than 4 years ago | (#31238204)

Well the GPL used to be much longer, but was somehow mysteriously truncated.

Stick a fork in it. It's done. (3, Interesting)

syousef (465911) | more than 4 years ago | (#31238418)

I don't know every little detail of what's happened and frankly I don't care. If people want it to live on and Oracle don't live up to their agreement, and assuming the code is readable, the community can fork it and move on. If that's no longer legally possible, as far as I'm concerned it's not GPL code. Regardless, my guess is that MySQL will decline but that other projects like Postgress will fill the niche for small free databases. As for the effect on the GPL, things cannot be undone. Once a license is challenged or abused in some way the only possible response is to adapt it to take that into account.

I'm MUCH more worried about Java, OpenOffice, VirtualBox. I'm also concerned about zfs and MySQL, but not as much. Roughly in that order.

Re:Stick a fork in it. It's done. (1)

Matthew Weigel (888) | more than 4 years ago | (#31238496)

So, um, I take it you didn't read the article?

Re:Stick a fork in it. It's done. (1)

syousef (465911) | more than 4 years ago | (#31238888)

So, um, I take it you didn't read the article?

I skimmed it. One of the authors of MySQL I presume self-agrandising and taking credit for "saving" MySQL even though none of Oracle's promises are legally binding.

Re:Stick a fork in it. It's done. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31239496)

So, um, I take it you didn't read the article?

I skimmed it. One of the authors of MySQL I presume self-agrandising and taking credit for "saving" MySQL even though none of Oracle's promises are legally binding.

Wrong. Read the article and stop spreading misinformation.

Re:Stick a fork in it. It's done. (1)

Matthew Weigel (888) | more than 4 years ago | (#31240120)

I skimmed it. One of the authors of MySQL I presume self-agrandising and taking credit for "saving" MySQL even though none of Oracle's promises are legally binding.

Those two sentences are completely contradictory. :-)

It's Monty again, having his cake and eating it. (4, Informative)

Bruce Perens (3872) | more than 4 years ago | (#31238544)

Brian works for Monty. Monty made something around USD$130M selling MySQL to Sun, who then sold themselves to Oracle. Monty, instead of buying a yacht and taking a vacation, wants to stay in the MySQL business. The problem is that he sold his rights. If someone was "over-reaching" with the GPL at MySQL, Monty was one of the three people behind that. Now, Monty wants to both take back the licensing scheme that made him a very rich man, and keep the money.

Give it up, Monty. Work on something else.

Re:It's Monty again, having his cake and eating it (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31238740)

How much did you make being an expert witness in that case that was posted to Slashdot less than 24 hours ago?

He already answered that, in that very article. (1)

XanC (644172) | more than 4 years ago | (#31238768)

"I agreed to do so, contributing my services at no charge, for the good of the Open Source community."

Re:It's Monty again, having his cake and eating it (1)

Bruce Perens (3872) | more than 4 years ago | (#31238884)

As you've already been informed, nothing. I made some pocket money on the article you read, but I am not able to make a living that way.

Re:It's Monty again, having his cake and eating it (1)

XanC (644172) | more than 4 years ago | (#31239136)

Erm... I think that would be the article he didn't read.

Re:It's Monty again, having his cake and eating it (4, Informative)

krow (129804) | more than 4 years ago | (#31239080)

Hi Bruce!

I don't work for Monty :)

I also don't work on MariaDB (and never have).

Please get your facts straight.

Cheers,
      -Brian

Re:It's Monty again, having his cake and eating it (2, Interesting)

Bruce Perens (3872) | more than 4 years ago | (#31239178)

Brian,

Well, your article sounds identical to the presentation we've been hearing from Monty for some months now, and you are behind the Drizzle fork.

Re:It's Monty again, having his cake and eating it (4, Interesting)

krow (129804) | more than 4 years ago | (#31239272)

Hi!

My article sounds like something Monty would publish? I don't think so, Monty is a firm believer that the GPL does influence the protocol (aka, you can have a GPL based protocol). If you would bother to read some of the published material around what was said for the benefit of the EU you would know that. Quite a bit of his argument to the EU is based on the belief that the protocol follows GPL.

Drizzle? Monty has nothing to do with Drizzle. He has never committed a line of code, and I doubt he has even looked at it. MariaDB, the databases he works on, is very different. The two are nothing alike other then sharing a common ancestor.

Once again Bruce, read up a bit, and get your facts straight.

Cheers,
      -Brian

Re:It's Monty again, having his cake and eating it (4, Informative)

Bruce Perens (3872) | more than 4 years ago | (#31239792)

Well, protocols are the subject of patents rather than copyright so I never felt any need to listen to Monty about that particular point. It's more his protesting the GPL's terms now that they are being applied to him rather than by him. And in that regard your presentation sounds really familiar.

Bruce

Re:It's Monty again, having his cake and eating it (1)

krow (129804) | more than 4 years ago | (#31239996)

Hi!

Would you please find a single "your presentation sounds really familiar" to backup anything you say?

As I have had to point out a number of times, you should spend some time reading up on a subject before you post on it.

Cheers,
    -Brian

Re:It's Monty again, having his cake and eating it (4, Interesting)

Bruce Perens (3872) | more than 4 years ago | (#31240152)

Brian, it is the meme of "we must now reform GPL over-reaching" which has risen only because Oracle is now the entity enforcing the GPL on others rather than MySQL. I agree that MySQL used FUD to cause customers to buy, especially before MySQL 5 came out. But the only folks who ever believed that the GPL applied to a protocol were those who didn't know the scope of copyright from that of patent. This was not an issue that anyone who could discuss the situation intelligently with an attorney ever believed, with one exception, and it does not need reform now because it's not for real. The one exception was the MySQL principals themselves. They got the most draconian read from a lawyer at some point, something that wouldn't ever have flown in court, and Monty still believes it today.

Re:It's Monty again, having his cake and eating it (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 4 years ago | (#31240524)

Well, protocols are the subject of patents rather than copyright so I never felt any need to listen to Monty about that particular point.

So, although you never listened to Monty on the subject on which this article was written, it seems very similar to what Monty said? This fails the logic test, and your subsequent weasel words do nothing to change that.

In response to one of the comments under TFA Brian says "You can choose to pay based on FUD, but really it is just FUD." Brian does not protest the GPL's terms; he only states that Monty's interpretation of same was FUD-fodder. Actually, he says it was FUD, but from Monty's position on the field, it was not FUD, but a bullying threat.

Your response to this article [slashdot.org] makes it seem like you have not read the article, and your later response [slashdot.org] makes you seem not only like a petulant child, but also like someone genuinely unqualified to comment upon this article. Finally (I hope) your "we must now reform" comment [slashdot.org] depends on an empty assertion contradicted by the article itself, which is acceptable — but not without providing any proof. It's hard to believe that Monty has been for some time presenting documentation of his spreading FUD. Could you please provide a citation?

Re:It's Monty again, having his cake and eating it (3, Insightful)

Bruce Perens (3872) | more than 4 years ago | (#31240740)

It's hard to believe that Monty has been for some time presenting documentation of his spreading FUD. Could you please provide a citation?

That didn't parse. Do you want me to present you with Monty's recent arguments to the EU? They've been pretty widely publicized. Essentially, he protested that the GPL terms were anti-competitive in this case. But of course he was one of the three people who put those terms in place.

Basic economics (1)

Angst Badger (8636) | more than 4 years ago | (#31238734)

Companies don't make money by giving anything away, except in a very restricted set of circumstances where the gift is of no particular value and induces customers to spend actual money, or when there are substantial money-based strings attached. Why is this so hard for the FOSS world to grasp? A for-profit company, particularly a publicly-traded company, is always going to extract every last penny from its customers in exchange for the least value they will settle for. That's how capitalism works. Altruism is a pointless expense from the capitalist point-of-view, and companies that engage in much of it are going to lose their markets to companies that do not because those competitors are using their resources more efficiently.

I know this runs contrary to a lot of the wishful Adam Smith's invisible hand rainbows-and-unicorns thinking that is popular with a fairly large faction around here, but pixies don't make the flowers grow, either, and bitching about it isn't going to change anything. Capitalism works thus: you pay workers the least you can get away with in exchange for the most effort you can get out of them, to produce the least valuable products you can sell at the highest prices possible. Period. It does occasionally contribute to the common good, but because that contribution is itself an inefficiency in the system, there is a very strong incentive for all companies to reduce the amount of public good they do in order to cut costs and maximize profits.

Despite the window-dressing efforts of ESR and the "Open Source" faction, the underlying mechanism of FOSS (or whatever you want to call it) is altruistic charity. We make useful things and give them away. There's some money to be made on support, customization, dual-licensing, and systems integration, but it's negligible in terms of the oceans of cash flowing through the software industry. If a FOSS project significantly menaces any of the profit-streams of a large software company like Oracle or Microsoft, they are in a position to spend more money fighting it in an hour than you earn in a lifetime. Rarely, a FOSS project makes a significant dent in those profit streams: Apache, Firefox, Linux, and MySQL being the most successful.

If your overriding consideration is offering the best possible software package to the public as a gesture of personal generosity or some other personal commitment, and you happen to be both lucky and very, very good at what you do, you might well make a substantial dent. In some smaller markets, you might even become the dominant player. But that has to be your overriding consideration. If, as with MySQL AB, you are willing to sell your ownership in the software, you are back in the world of capitalism and no matter what bullshit assurances you receive from the army of salesmen and lawyers who will suddenly appear to offer them, all of the usual rules of the market apply, and you may rest assured that you are in no position to change how those rules work. You sold the goods, and from the point of view of the purchaser, you no longer exist.

If we are, as FOSS developers, committed to serving the public good, there's a lot we can do. If we're in it primarily for personal profit, 99% of us will get nowhere, and the remaining 1% will be bought out one by one. If you have something sufficiently valuable and you have a price, someone will eventually pay it. MySQL AB thought it could be an exception to the rule, and as a result, we are all a lot poorer.

Wrong (1)

XanC (644172) | more than 4 years ago | (#31238808)

It does occasionally contribute to the common good, but because that contribution is itself an inefficiency in the system, there is a very strong incentive for all companies to reduce the amount of public good they do in order to cut costs and maximize profits.

Every voluntary transaction introduces new wealth into an economy. It actually creates wealth.

I do agree with your point about companies being directly altruistic, though, which is either misguided or the result of an ulterior motive.

Re:Wrong (1)

Angst Badger (8636) | more than 4 years ago | (#31239076)

Every voluntary transaction introduces new wealth into an economy. It actually creates wealth.

In a certain metaphoric sense, yes, though not in any remotely concrete way, which would involve a violation of the Second Law.

The important detail that is being overlooked by such a simplistic account is the matter of who receives that wealth. In this case, a relatively small amount of wealth ended up in the hands of MySQL AB's shareholders, and a tremendous amount of wealth ended up in the hands of Oracle's shareholders. How? By effectively killing off one of their major competitors, a significant number of organizations will soon be obliged to pay Oracle for one of their products. In other words, the Oracle deal created costs for consumers who had previously been receiving a gift of wealth from MySQL AB. Far more people lose as a result of this deal than win.

That, too, is another predictable, essential feature of capitalism. Generosity is something that has to be rooted out and destroyed, because every time you behave altruistically, you are not just creating wealth for your beneficiaries, you are denying it to companies who want to sell what you are giving away. And it's worth noting that very few transactions are truly voluntary. For many businesses and organizations, an RDBMS is a need, just as food and shelter are needs for individuals. I may have a great deal of choice in where I buy dinner, but I am not free to forgo eating altogether. If there was adequate food growing in public parks for me to live on -- which is not a bad metaphor for FOSS -- then I would be genuinely free to choose. At the same time, vendors of food would almost certainly use their resources to lobby the local government to replace the fruit-bearing trees in the park with something inedible so they could more effectively create wealth.

Advocates of the free market like to argue that the market creates wealth, and again, this is partially true. But it is true to the extent that both parties, buyer and seller, are free to walk away from a transaction. The less freedom that either have, the more the transaction approaches a zero-sum game. The RDBMS market just took a large step in the direction of being a zero-sum game.

The corollary to this is that even if you are a much bigger fan of capitalism than I am, FOSS is to be applauded for making the market freer and more competitive. If consumers can choose a perfectly adequate free solution, commercial vendors are incentivized to make their products much better. That is actual wealth creation.

Re:Wrong (1)

machine321 (458769) | more than 4 years ago | (#31239322)

In a certain metaphoric sense, yes, though not in any remotely concrete way, which would involve a violation of the Second Law.

Wait, do you mean

"A robot must obey any orders given to it by human beings, except where such orders would conflict with the First Law"
or
"the entropy of an isolated macroscopic system never decreases"?

I'm unsure what either has to do with the discussion, although I admit I have had problems with entropy in my MySQL databases.

Re:Basic economics (3, Informative)

Bruce Perens (3872) | more than 4 years ago | (#31238914)

If you want to understand the economics of Open Source, read this [perens.com] . It pokes some pretty big holes in your thesis.

Wealth is not investment (1)

tjstork (137384) | more than 4 years ago | (#31240084)

You, like many people, confuse wealth with investment.

The fact is, you do not need money to produce wealth. Wealth is simply a thing that has been mined, thought up or created that betters the human condition. To have a Linux installation is to have wealth. To have a free song is to have wealth. It doesn't matter how you got it, it is only the matter that it exists.

What you are talking about is a means of creating wealth, and that's investment.

There's basically two kinds of investment systems. Capitalism lets private individuals invest in order to get a profit from that investment, and socialism, where public taxes are invested in order to get a profit from that investment. In both cases, there is some third party that has a fistful of cash and uses that cash to facilitate work, but at a price.

Indeed, despite my own bad karma rating and countless other left vs right flamewars, both basically are a matter of a class which uses its money to exploit somebody elses ability to produce, you guessed it, wealth. What's even crazier is that functionally, at the very top level, both capitalism and socialism have the same fundamental working, because both rely on the power of the government to create and manage money.

In the case of capitalism, you have a central bank, which is essentially a government body even though its "independent" on paper. What it does, is well, creates money out of thin air and then deposits it at banks. Banks then lend it to people, and guys at banks basically get rich charging interest on phantom money that the Federal reserve created.

In the case of socialism, you have a central bank, which is the government, and it creates money out of thin air and then uses it to reward those who build or produce goods it deems necessary. The guys in the government basically get rich because they control where all the money is going, and they get free goodies too. Like Brezhnev famously made himself a Hero of the Soviet Union for basically being Brezhnev.

Re:Basic economics (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 4 years ago | (#31240580)

Companies don't make money by giving anything away, except in a very restricted set of circumstances where the gift is of no particular value and induces customers to spend actual money

That's more or less true, except that it also works when the gift IS of value, but not of enough value to solve a problem worth spending money on. The remaining piece for the value to be adequate can be service, or it can be targeted development. MySQL was worth $0 to many (most?) potential customers as a lump of code or even a compiled, packaged set of binaries and their requisites, but MySQL with a support agreement was worth more. And of course, MySQL plus peace of mind (a guarantee not to be dragged into court for using MySQL without permission of the copyright holder, however wrong his views on the license and the law might be, and probably are) was worth money to many customers. But clearly that's not the only model which works.

A for-profit company, particularly a publicly-traded company, is always going to extract every last penny from its customers in exchange for the least value they will settle for. That's how capitalism works.

The dictionary: Love it, or shut up. That's how corporatism works, not capitalism. In fact, corporatism damages everything good about capitalism.

Capitalism works thus: you pay workers the least you can get away with in exchange for the most effort you can get out of them, to produce the least valuable products you can sell at the highest prices possible. Period.

No, again, that model only works in certain instances, many of which are illegal (like pump-and-dump schemes.)

If you have something sufficiently valuable and you have a price, someone will eventually pay it. MySQL AB thought it could be an exception to the rule, and as a result, we are all a lot poorer.

Are we? My website uses MySQL, and it's still working. It's working so well that spammers willing to solve reCAPTCHAs by one means or another are leaving spam on it, hopefully to be mitigated when I get back home and can reasonably add some more spam protection. I don't feel any poorer...

Switched all my customers to Postgres (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31239556)

Postgres.. the REAL free alternative. Mysql licensing has always been hairy at best, and the performance has not been up to enterprise levels.. unless you only do reads. I've switched all my customers to Postgres about 3 years ago, and everybody is happy.. and this whole Oracle/Mysql debate is a non-issue.

When you SELL something.. and then you want to CONTROL it.. it's like being an Indian Giver.. There is nothing that Mysql can do that Postgres can't and there's plenty that Postgres can that Mysql can't. So stop the whining, if you want to pay for Oracle, go for it. If you don't want to pay, sqlite and postgres area available.

The only person Mysql has to blame is itself; ridiculously overreaching licensing made me dump it, and I encourage everybody else to do the same. If you want to donate time to a database, sqlite and postgres.

I know you mysql'ers aren't use to hearing the truth; the sky is not falling but mysql usage is. Live with it.

Nosense. (1)

mindstrm (20013) | more than 4 years ago | (#31239570)

I mean, the facts in the article are facts, but it's an opinion piece.

MySQL claimed they could copyright a "protocol" and that it was covered under the GPL. That seem sketchy to me, given the GPL is a license designed to cover source code. You could apply it to books.... but that would just mean large parts of the GPL were out of scope in the context of books. (Your text would still be protected... but rules about distributing object could would have no relevance, I imagine.)

As to requiring contributors to assign rights to the project owner - that's a common practice of many projects, and has nothing to do with the GPL itself, and everything to do with ownership of a project. The FSF requires this as well. You are, of course, free to fork and do what you want on your own.. but if you wanted code in their official releases, you had to assign them the rights to it as well - this let them dual-license it as they saw fit. I can't say I wouldn't do the same with my own projects, if it came down to it.

This really doesn't change the GPL much in any way I can see... the GPL has mostly been misunderstood, and will continue to be misunderstood, by many, forever.

It's amazing how they got away with it (1)

Punto (100573) | more than 4 years ago | (#31240788)

I mean, how hard can it be to implement a clean-room version of a mysql client library and make it BSD-like licensed? it's just a client that talks to a server over a socket, using an open and well known protocol. The fact that it never happened tells me that mysql wasn't very irreplaceable at all.

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