An interesting twist has popped up in the Open Source database market. MySQL AB (the company that develops the DB by the same name, and owner of the .com) has sent out a press release (attached below) attacking NuSphere for running MySQL.org. NuSphere has extended MySQL with the very cool, but not open source Gemini table type (which we are seriously considering using on Slashdot and kick ass over anything MySQL has), and are doing tons to promote it in the US. The press release is pretty brutal but I find myself mixed on the issue: Afaik its not a GPL issue, but rather a trademark and name dilution issue. What scares me most is the hostility in this press release, and also the fact that we will see more of this sort of story with other open source projects being abducted and by companies that didn't write the code. Personally I don't have a problem with this stuff happening, but I'm not MySQL AB. Update: 07/13 10:30PM EDT by C :As always, it appears that there is more to the story. Many of you were right to assume that these maneuverings might be due to a business deal gone sour, and that seems to be the case as reported by NewsForge.
What follows is the Press Release MySQL AB has released attacking MySQL.org (and NuSphere). It was submitted to us by Marten Mickos from MySQL
MYSQL COMMUNITY THREATENED BY OBSCURE .ORG WEBSITE
Uppsala, Sweden, 12 July 2001 - Open source software company MySQL AB today announced that an unauthorised party has set up a website on www.mysql.ORG in direct violation of the trademark rights of MySQL AB and with the apparent goal to confuse the huge worldwide community of MySQL users.
Michael "Monty" Widenius and David Axmark, co-founders of MySQL AB and the creators of this world-leading open source database software commented "We normally welcome new sites that focus on the MySQL(TM) server, but this one violates our trademark and may lead users to wrongfully believe it represents the people behind the MySQL(TM) server. We were not contacted about this website and it operates without our authorisation. We cannot recommend anybody to visit that site."
The obscure .ORG site claims to offer free services, but a registration is needed for downloading the software that apparently has been copied from the official MySQL.com website. The .ORG site fails to display information of the people or organisations behind it. The domain was registered in the name of NuSphere Corporation, a subsidiary of Progress Software Corporation (NASDAQ: PRGS), on 4 June 2001. Both companies sell proprietary, non-open software.
The original and official MySQL.com website of MySQL AB is immensely popular and serves millions of users with free software, free information, and an opportunity for visitors to contribute comments and other things, such as additional tools and utilities. No registration is required for accessing MySQL.com. In addition, the MySQL(TM) server is a popular topic on several other open source websites such as Slashdot.
Yahoo! has been using MySQL(TM) servers in mission-critical applications for several years. Jeremy Zawodny, a member of the MySQL user community and an engineer at Yahoo! commented "I really don't see the need for the MySQL.org Web site. The MySQL.com site already contains a wealth of information and software from the MySQL developers and members of the community. I worry that the introduction of this Web site will confuse new users and potentially fracture or otherwise harm the MySQL user community."
Marten Mickos, newly appointed CEO of MySQL AB, commented "We consider operating the mysql.ORG site illegal activity and we are taking steps to enforce our trademark and other rights." In respect to how the MySQL(TM) community is served, he said "We will continue to serve existing and new MySQL(TM) users with software under GPL and free information without requiring registration. Our new 'portals' present an even wider array of useful information and services, and users are free to comment on the items there. At the same time, we have the best commercial support services for the MySQL(TM) server and as the owners of the software we are the only ones who can sell commercial licences." MySQL AB develops, supports and markets the MySQL(TM) database server worldwide. MySQL AB, the sole owner of the MySQL(TM) trademark, is fully committed to the Open Source philosophy and to making MySQL(TM) available and affordable for all. MySQL AB is a Swedish privately held company co-founded by David Axmark, Allan Larsson and Michael Widenius. MySQL(TM) is a trademark of MySQL AB in the US, Sweden, and other countries, and is registered in Sweden and 13 other countries. Other names are trademarks of their respective owners. For more information, please visit www.mysql.com or write to firstname.lastname@example.org."