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MySQL.com vs. MySQL.org?

CmdrTaco posted more than 13 years ago | from the you-gotta-be-kidding-me dept.

News 226

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 press@mysql.com."

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Slashdot leaving open source (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#89649)

I am happy to see that the leaders of the Slashdot cult have finally admitted that open sourced db are basically crap since they strongly advocate using a closed source database now. If the same cultist leaders would look into the functonality available in IBM DB/2 SQL Server or Oracle I am sure that would blow their mind.

Re:An Eye for an Eye (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#89650)

strcmp("MySQL", "MySQL) returns 0

No it doesn't. It returns a compiler error, as you didn't close your quotes.

Re:If you have to register, it's not free (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#89651)

if you have to click, it's not free.

blah blah blah

Re:What's in a name? (2)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#89653)

Progress software corp/nusphere donated $2.5million (USD) to MySQL AB

Re:Hypocritical (3)

gavinhall (33) | more than 13 years ago | (#89659)

Posted by polar_bear:

Actually, I don't think the two are contradictory - Lets say you want to build a for-profit company around Free Software, giving your users the opportunity to enjoy the benefits of the code, but still need a way to distinguish yourself.

One way to do this would be to say that anyone can make changes to the code and whatever, but they cannot distribute alternate versions of the code under the name of your program -- I don't see anything wrong with this, really, b/c they have no way of performing quality control over someone else's code. They could still build a product based on this code, but they'd have to rename it rather than riding on the coattails of your success.

This has already been covered to some extent with Red Hat. You can redistribute versions of Red Hat, but you can't brand it as official "Red Hat Linux." Again, I don't think that's contrary to the spirit or terms of the GPL. Even RMS might have a problem if someone started distributing a fork of GNU Emacs this way -- especially if they included proprietary add-ons. Even if it was all GPL'ed, though - there could be questions of quality or whatnot.

Re:They got what was coming to them (1)

Danse (1026) | more than 13 years ago | (#89661)

This post just illustrates how fucked up the domain name system currently is. And ICANN is trying to make it even worse.

If you have to register, it's not free (1)

AxelBoldt (1490) | more than 13 years ago | (#89662)

Mysql.org offers stuff for "free download", but only if you hand over your personal information first. This information is property, and valuable property at that, so they are deceiving when they talk about "free".

--

NEW USERS ARE a little confused here... (1)

BadlandZ (1725) | more than 13 years ago | (#89663)

Have you looked at mysql.org? It would not be clear to any new user that it was not the offical site for MySQL, but insted a commercial site.

They have the MySQL documentation stacked behind a advertizment for books, then a registration form. It's just... Bad...

I don't blame MySQL AB one bit for getting pissed off. I think they have a right to be, and at least they are clear about what MySQL is [mysql.com] .

Banner Ad Irony (1)

Chuck Milam (1998) | more than 13 years ago | (#89665)

So, I click to read more about this story, and I get a NuSphere Mysql banner ad at the top. Heh.

Re:They got what was coming to them (2)

unitron (5733) | more than 13 years ago | (#89669)

Slashdot probably got the "dotcom" when they got big enough to realistically fear some unscrupulous low life grabbing it to get undeserved traffic. In other words, they had to do it in self defense once they made "slashdot" something that people would recognize as more than just a couple of punctuation marks pronounced out loud like an old Victor Borge routine. At present the sites "hyphenampersand.com" and "hyphenampersand.org" don't seem to exist, but as soon as someone were to create one and generate some traffic, someone else would grab the other for the coattail effect.

Even if these people registered mySQL.com because they were going to be a business, you would think that they'd also run mySQL.org so that the community could have one site and the business a separate one, or that they'd know enough to have grabbed mySQL.org in self defense as soon as it became apparent that voluntary adherence to standards on the internet evaporated the instant that someone smelled the opportunity to use it to make a buck.

Re:Wrong focus? (2)

Jeffrey Baker (6191) | more than 13 years ago | (#89672)

The only disadvantage I've found of Postgres is that it lacks replication. MySQL has a replication facility that barely hobbles along if you carefully supervise it, but Postgres doesn't even attempt replication.

Re:They got what was coming to them (1)

Doctor Memory (6336) | more than 13 years ago | (#89673)

I don't think they should have to pay a registrar all that money to simply not use most of those domains

They're not paying to not use the domains, they're paying so that OTHER people don't use the domains. A not-too-subtle difference.

GPL software in free distribution shocker! (2)

sparks (7204) | more than 13 years ago | (#89677)

> "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."

And?

If the mysql.com guys didn't want other people being able to distribute their code, they shouldn't have issued it under the GPL.

If they didn't want people to be able to modify their software, and distribute the modified versions, they shouldn't have issued it under the GPL.

If they didn't want to let other, possibly competing companies make money out of packaging and selling their software, they shouldn't have issued it under the GPL.

There is nothing, absolutely nothing, wrong with what mysql.org is doing with the mysql software. MySQL AB granted them those rights when they decided to release it under the GPL.

There is no ethical, legal or moral reason why they should not fork off a new code tree from the main distribution.

There is no ethical, legal or moral reason why they should not create a web site to distribute their version of the software, and to try to earn money from the product.

This isn't something going wrong, people - it's the GPL working EXACTLY AS IT'S MEANT TO.

As to the trademark issue, I think it's clearly against the spirit of Free Software to top other people using the name "mysql" if they excercise the rights you gave them under the GPL.

MySQL AB seem to have made a very bad judgement when they wen't GPL... they don't care about Free Software at all.

Re:In defense of .COM (1)

dpurnell (9114) | more than 13 years ago | (#89681)

Back when I first discovered mysql 2 years ago, mysql.org _was_ the official site.

So one day I go to mysql.org only to find that the site has disappeared and been replaced with a cryptic username/password login form.

Then I discovered the same site content at mysql.com Wondering why things changed with no announcement, I'd periodically check mysql.org. After a few months the login screen disappeared and mysql.org was offline. Now it's back with different owners.

Someone feel free to correct me If I've dreamed all this...

A quick read of mysql.org ... (2)

daviddennis (10926) | more than 13 years ago | (#89684)

shows that it's designed to make people think it's run by the official developers. Yes, it does have the link on the bottom to mysql's real page, but most people will just start by reading the first paragraph and clicking on the links. If I hadn't already known what the real developers' site looked like, I would have been fooled.

I didn't like the tone of the press release, and I think the upshot is that it will substantially increase traffic to the other site as people look to see what the fuss is about. But since the org site appears to have roughly the same information as the official site, with little in the way of contributions to the community, I'm inclined to say it's not likely to work too well.

Curiously enough, I don't see anything at all on this site about Gemini; it appears to be dedicated to fooling people into thinking it's an official site, even to the point of soliciting contributions from developers (see the Developers link).

D

----

ARRRGHH! (1)

ethereal (13958) | more than 13 years ago | (#89689)

It was submitted to us by Marten Mickos from MySQL

But which MySQL is he from? Methinks that the good Cmdr missed the whole point of the story a little - you now have to qualify the name "MySQL" a little more carefully. You wouldn't say "Hacker X from BSD" or "Hacker Y from SSH", now would you?

Easy Fix (2)

isolation (15058) | more than 13 years ago | (#89691)

If the guys that own the MySQL.com domain own the trademark, as linus does with linux. Then by alrights they can revoke mysql.orgs rights to the name and take a case before WIPO for ownership of the domain name.

GPL and Closed Extensions? (2)

sterno (16320) | more than 13 years ago | (#89694)

Can somebody explain how there can exist proprietary non-open source extensions to a GPL'd product.

---

To add to the fun.. (1)

magnwa (18700) | more than 13 years ago | (#89696)

NuSphere was licensed by MYSQL to produce a boxed edition of their database, or so I was told. MYSQL knew there would be extending going on (and heck, that's why they supposedly sold the rights to it..) and they knew NuSphere would be selling the extensions in a boxed set with support.

I do not see the problem here other than NuSphere having forked a product to create a better one.

Magnwa

Re:NuSphere is wrong (1)

magnwa (18700) | more than 13 years ago | (#89697)

NuSphere is NOT A DIRECT COMPETITOR TO MYSQL AB. They have a deal to do this. They are licensed to use MYSQL and to extend it. They have had a deal to do this. What I think this is was MYSQL AB realizing that NuSphere extended the product beyond MYSQL AB's expectations and enhancing it to the point where MYSQL AB's version is not used.

That's what I think this is.

Re:Hypocritical (3)

JabberWokky (19442) | more than 13 years ago | (#89700)

Isn't it self contradictory on one hand to produce a product as Open Source - releasing the content IP to the world freely - while fighting vigorously to protect the trademark - restricting identification/brand name IP from the world?

In the open source world, you live or die by your name - your reputation is what gets you recognition, as a single developer (JWZ, Linus), as a project (KDE, MySQL) or as a company (SuSE, Mandrake).

Now, you'll note above that I listed MySQL as a *project* above. The problem is, there is also a *company* named MySQL who wants to clearly define themselves as an entity so that they can take crdit for what they do. As a recent example, I wanted to look into Everybuddy, the IM client, and I reflexively hit www.everybuddy.org to take a look. Nope - no site. (A quick fm:everybuddy in Konqueror found it). The point is, the dot Org is where many people start their search into new projects.

And it's still considered bad form, even if not technically illegal, to fork a project without renaming it. Almost every time a project is forked, a completely different name is given to it (Athera from Magellen, XEmacs from emacs, *BSD from BSD). That's just playing nice with your fellow developers. If the two different products based on the MySQL source (and yes, having a completely different table type means you're running a different server) want to compete on a fair playing field, both commercially and open source, they should be readily distinguisable.

And again, part of the problem is the fact that MySQL is both the name of a OS product *and* the name of the company.

--
Evan

Gemini? (2)

gregbaker (22648) | more than 13 years ago | (#89704)

With appologies for being ever-so slightly off-topic, can someone explain the "Gemini table type"?

stupid questions (1)

realkiwi (23584) | more than 13 years ago | (#89705)

Are these the same people that don't care that RedHat chose an inferior RDBMS for RedHat Database?

Are they having a marketing problem?

Too funny! (1)

SheldonYoung (25077) | more than 13 years ago | (#89706)

I go to mysql.org [mysql.org] at 9:10 PST and I get this message:

Warning: Too many connections in /usr/local/nusphere/apache/htdocs/phpwebsite-0.7.6 /mainfile.php on line 9 Unable to select database

What's in a name? (5)

Masker (25119) | more than 13 years ago | (#89709)

I wonder what Mr. Taco would have thought if three years ago (before the Andover takeover), someone set up a site called www.slashdot.com that had embraced and extended Slashcode [slashcode.com] and was selling it and support for it to websites without giving a dime to him. I think that he would be singing a different tune.

This is a fundamental problem with the "information wants to be free" argument that some people use to justify their Napster & software warezing/pirating habits: "It's just information (trademarks, music, etc.), and it should be free for me to do whatever I want to do with it". Unless it's my name, music, code, graphics, etc., etc. Then you find that you have to defend it.

This is a trademark issue. If you register a trademark, you have to defend it, or you won't be able to defend it in the future. I don't see any problem with someone saying, "Hey. I registered Foogiston, Inc. and www.foogiston.com, and I don't want you registering www.foogiston.org". What would have been better would be to register foogiston.org yourself, but if you got beat to the punch, you should still be able to tell someone not to use your trademark in their name.

I know that a lot of people don't like intellectual property here, but really. This is something that has precident and is defensible in court. I also don't like the language in the press release, becuase it shows a lack of maturity and professionalism on the part of MySQL AB, but that's doesn't detract from the core of their arguement.

Just my $0.02.

Re:gemini in... then out (3)

12dec0de (26853) | more than 13 years ago | (#89710)

And it also begs the question where the code for gemini is to be found. Maybe this is a GPL problem in addition to the trademark issue.

MySQL is GPLed, and NuSphere is _distributing_ (by selling it) an extension based on that code. Now, my understanding of the GPL and projects based upon it, would proscribe that NuSphere uses the opportunity of mysql.org to blast about the source code, if they don't talk about MySQL AB (and a small link don't quite cut it)

Am I the only one that is too stupid to find the link for the source of the gemini table types?

Part of a bigger NuSphere/MySQL GPL issue (2)

lal (29527) | more than 13 years ago | (#89711)

This is probably related to this description of the NuSphere product on the MySQL site:

NuSphere MySQL Advantage includes an unauthorized modified version of MySQL which includes support for GEMINI tables. As long as GEMINI is not released under open source, as required by the GPL license of the MySQL server, we at MySQL AB can't recommend anyone to use this distribution. Also, NuSphere uses our trademark in the product name and elsewhere without our permission.

The "elsewhere" presumably includes mysql.org.

Re:Wrong focus? (2)

Matt2000 (29624) | more than 13 years ago | (#89712)


Forget updating MySQL, when are people just going to go and get their get their features from PostgreSql?

I mean, are there any disadvantages to chosing PostgreSql over MySQL? This is an honest question.

Re:Hypocritical (2)

Khalid (31037) | more than 13 years ago | (#89715)

As it has been said not at all.

For instance Linus own the Linux trademark, and only Linus can define what Linux, is by accepting or rejecting patchs. This is the only way to avoid forks, oherwise you may have hundreds of Linux, and you couldn't tell which one is the official one. Well in fact, in practice, you may have some variation on the Linux Thema with some patchs included or not, but no one can hijack say (Microsoft for instance) and release their own substalially different version of Linux while calling it Linux. The GPL allow them to get the soure code, but they can no longer call Linux if Linus says this is not Linux. They need to find another name.

Here's my take. (2)

Restil (31903) | more than 13 years ago | (#89716)

I'll admit, the site is sneaky. They don't outright say that they are the primary developers of MYSQL, but they certainly don't go out of their way to draw attention to that fact. They have a single link on the home page to the primary mysql.com site, but they don't make a distinction that is what it is.

They require registration to download anything on the site, and they have opt-in spam requests by default, but they do seem to offer the source for download, so even if they were charging money for downloads, they're still not in violation of the GPL.

I can see the confusion issue over the name. They SHOULD at least change it, or at the very least they should put a big notice on the front page that they are not the trademark holders of MySQL and are only using the name.

As far as I can see, whats been done is what can be done. The MySQL people have put out a press release about it, warning people of the possible confusion. I suppose in the future, if you're planning to use a potentially popular name, get all 3 of the domains, and if any of the 3 are already taken, by all means, find yourself another name, thereby avoiding trademark issues yourself.

-Restil

EMACS COMMUNITY THREATENED BY OBSCURE .ORG WEBSITE (3)

Hobart (32767) | more than 13 years ago | (#89717)

(Well, if they're going to get that bent out of shape over a fork ... heh)

What follows is the Press Release the Free Software Foundation has released attacking Xemacs.org (and Lucid). It was submitted to us by Richard Stallman from the FSF

EMACS COMMUNITY THREATENED BY OBSCURE .ORG WEBSITE

Boston, MA, 1 April 2001 -
The Free Software Foundation today announced that an unauthorised party has set up a website on www.xemacs.ORG in direct violation of the trademark rights of the Free Software Foundation and with the apparent goal to confuse the huge worldwide community of Emacs users.

Richard "rms" Stallman founder of the Free Software Foundation and the creator of this world-leading Free text editing / programming software commented "We normally welcome new sites that focus on EMACS, but this one violates our trademark and may lead users to wrongfully believe it represents the people behind the EMACS software. 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 software, but sends users derivatives of the software that apparently has been copied from the official GNU ftp site. The .ORG site fails to display information of the people or organisations behind it. The domain was registered in the name of XEmacs Advocacy Group, on 28 April 1996. Both companies make non-proprietary, free software.

The original and official EMACS ftp site of the FSF 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 ftp.fsf.org. In addition, the EMACS package is a popular topic on several other free software websites such as Slashdot.

Yahoo! has been using EMACS in mission-critical applications for several years. Mr. J.Z., a member of the EMACS user community and an engineer at Yahoo! commented "I really don't see the need for the xemacs.org Web site. The FSF site already contains a wealth of information and software from the EMACS 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 EMACS user community."

Richard Stallman, not-so-newly appointed leader of the FSF, commented "We consider operating the xemacs.ORG site illegal activity and we are taking steps to enforce our trademark and other rights." In respect to how the EMACS community is served, he said "We will continue to serve existing and new EMACS 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 contract programming / customizations services for the EMACS package and as the owners of the software we are the only ones who can sell commercial licences. Not that we would." The Free Software Foundation develops, supports and markets the EMACS package worldwide. The Free Software Foundation, the sole owner of the EMACS trademark, is fully committed to the Free Software philosophy and to making EMACS available and affordable for all. The Free Softare Foundation is an American privately held not-for-profit company co-founded by some benevolent folk on the east coast. EMACS is a trademark of The Free Software Foundation 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.fsf.org or write to press@gnu.org."

(Note: If you do not recognize the above as parody, Go Away.)

In defense of .COM (1)

chill (34294) | more than 13 years ago | (#89719)

Not going to the web site too often, I *have* gone to .org site thinking it was the "official" site.
--
Charles E. Hill

Re:Hypocritical (2)

Manax (41161) | more than 13 years ago | (#89720)

While I don't necessarily agree with MySQL AB's methods of enforcement, I don't see any hypocracy at all.

Open Source isn't about being against copyright, or about being against other forms of IP, such as trademarks and patents. Open Source is about access to source code and acquiring certain rights along with it.

If an organization provides source to a product they have created, they have an interest in maintaining "consumer brand awareness". i.e. They want people to know that it was THEM who created the product. That is one of a few things that can help distinguish themselves from everyone else.

That is what trademarks are about, and no doubt why MySQL AB is concerned.

I kinda think that MySQL AB was stupid for not registering MySQL.org... but hey, that's a different issue.

Hypocritical (3)

brianvan (42539) | more than 13 years ago | (#89721)

I'm not gonna try to slander the OS movement, cause I see it as a very good thing, but...

Isn't it self contradictory on one hand to produce a product as Open Source - releasing the content IP to the world freely - while fighting vigorously to protect the trademark - restricting identification/brand name IP from the world?

I don't care if a company doesn't release the source and fights for its trademarks - and similarly, it's a non-issue of someone puts out the source and doesn't enforce a trademark. But does a trademark on an open source product become free or not?

Then again, it's important not to confuse OS with free software. But how does the ideaology of OS affect trademark enforcement?

Re:What's in a name? (1)

fizik (64754) | more than 13 years ago | (#89726)


Notice - Uppsala, Sweden, 12 July 2001

I assume that the press release is either a poor translation of the original (presumably in Swedish) or drafted by somebody for whom English is not a first language. While it certainly does come across as being juvenile, I think it's excusable in this case

and so the TLDs have failed us again (3)

AugstWest (79042) | more than 13 years ago | (#89732)

Nusphere is pretty far from a non-profit organization. But then again, so is Slashdot.

I once taught someone to write PHP code. Can I register for a .edu now?

Wrong focus? (2)

barneyfoo (80862) | more than 13 years ago | (#89733)

Maybe one of these two companies should work on bringing MySql up to the feature level of PostregSql.... It boggles the mind.

Re:Wrong focus? (2)

barneyfoo (80862) | more than 13 years ago | (#89734)

I'm sorry :) I know how it's spelled. I was typing fast. My left hand got ahead my right. I promise it wont happen again.

I'm so confused... (5)

jerkychew (80913) | more than 13 years ago | (#89735)

Just last night I looked into the possibility of running slashcode on my website. So, I read the FAQ and saw that I needed mysql installed. I instinctively went to www.mysql.org and downloaded the source. Now this morning I read this article, and I have no idea if I downloaded the 'official' mySQL or not! This is name dilution at its worst, and something needs to be done to stop confusing clueless newbies such as myself.

Jesus... (2)

szcx (81006) | more than 13 years ago | (#89736)

Attacking the folks who are helping MySQL perform better and become more widely used?

MySQL AB need to think about how that looks to companies who are evaluating database software. Do you think behavior like that will fill them with confidence?

Re:gemini in... then out (1)

Gr8wyrm (84004) | more than 13 years ago | (#89737)

Gemini was never fully included in a MySQL release. They've added some rudimentary documentation and a few inoperative configure options to their recent 3.23.3x releases, but you still have to get it from NuSphere. Having hundreds of MySQL servers ourselves, the company I work for participated in the NuSphere Gemini beta and I was less than impressed. It should also be noted, having met Monty (Mr. MySQL himself) on numerous occasions myself, that he can be and often is, overly dramatic. Hell, I'd be pissed to. Keep in mind that MySQL, although a GPL'd open source product, does make much needed money for continued development by selling support contracts and the like. Dilution of their trademark doesn't help them any in that department.

Re:Wrong focus? (1)

Gr8wyrm (84004) | more than 13 years ago | (#89738)

Yeah, great idea! While they're at it why don't they also make it just as bloody slow as PostgreSql too.

Looking at mysql.org (1)

AirLace (86148) | more than 13 years ago | (#89739)

NuSphere is completely within their right to produce proprietary extensions for GPL'd software provided it is not in breach of the GPL. However, it is not great 'netiquette'.

Looking at mysql.org, there is a notice pointing to MySQL AB at the bottom of the front page. However, it is written thus:

If you are looking for the MySQL AB company, click here. If you came here looking for NuSphere, click here.

The W3C [w3.org] suggests that "click here" as Web pages will increasingly be accessed by devices without mice or things that can be clicked (touch displays, text readers etc.) By making "click here" a hyperlink to MySQL AB rather than the text "MySQL AB" itself, it could be argued that they're trying to confuse the visitor. Of course this is only conjecture and it may just be that the Webmaster was not aware of Web standards.

right on (1)

ckuhtz (87644) | more than 13 years ago | (#89741)

rightfully so. just because it's open source doesn't mean copyright, trademarks etc don't apply.

Or.. gee whiz... BOTH!?!? (1)

Hell O'World (88678) | more than 13 years ago | (#89742)

Why can't we all get along? Didn't those kids watch SesameScreet?

Re:I'm a little confused here... (2)

gimbo (91234) | more than 13 years ago | (#89743)

The press release doesn't say NuSphere is obscure, it says that the www.mysql.org site is obscure.

It's going to remain obscure, too, if you have to register to download source, or even read documentation.
--

problem is gTLD's (2)

ChristTrekker (91442) | more than 13 years ago | (#89745)

MySQL is already defending their trademark by having mysql.com registered. The whole point of having different TLD's is so that different entities with the same name can have a domain with their name in it.

I can see how this might be a problem if MySQL did not yet have a web presence and someone else came along and squatted on mysql.* or something. But that's not the case here.

Once again, it comes back to the existence of gTLD's in the first place. It was a mistake. Only ccTLD's should be allowed. Let individual countries duke out their trademark issues as they see fit, under their own laws. We enlightened geeks know that MySQL is a Swedish company, thus mysql.com.se is the real domain. If someone else comes along and registers mysql.org.us, or heck even mysql.com.us that would be fine. I think the registrars should have very specific rules to disallow a single entity from buying up all the trademark.* domains.

The other solution is to go the other way, and allow any gTLD to be created, but nobody can own them, whether it's a trademark or not. So there could be a .mysql or even .microsoft but anybody could have a domain in it.

I don't like the latter idea nearly as well, because it throws trademarks out the window altogether, at least online. The former idea left it up to the country the company is from, which is where it belongs.


I have zero tolerance for zero-tolerance policies.

not Nusphere...!? (1)

Hurricane_Bill (96738) | more than 13 years ago | (#89752)

MySQL.org does not look like a Nusphere owned site. If you look under 'Support', you will see that they point you to Abriasoft, MySQL AB, and Nusphere. Don't you think they would point you to a Nusphere support number, rather than the competition? There's no mention of Gemini anywhere on this .org site, yet Nusphere has put a lot of effort into it's development.

Nusphere is a very professional company, and this site is highly suspect.

The only thing I can think of is that Nusphere just purchased this domain from some individual that had their own personal MySQL info site, and Nusphere hasn't updated it yet.

MySQL AB + Nusphere (1)

nichachr (98296) | more than 13 years ago | (#89753)

I attended Nusphere's MySQL training last november and at that point the relationship between the companies seemed quite good. According to Nusphere Monty had been there shortly before looking at the Nusphere-MySQL distribution. During the actual training our instructor (who was from Polycon) was sending questions he couldn't answer directly to Monty each night and getting a response for us the following day.... It seems odd that things have degraded this far but he mysql.org site is pretty "confusing" in how it's not branded as what it is.

Re:An Eye for an Eye (3)

Christianfreak (100697) | more than 13 years ago | (#89757)

Its different because 'Illustrator' is a word that common sense would say can't be trademarked, plus its the name of the product. Whether or not the 'KIllustrator' people were trying to steal users from Adobe is iffy but really I think they were simply trying to let users know that it was a program that does a similar thing.

This case is much sinister. MySQL is the company name not just a product that they make. It seems to me that NuSphere is trying to fool people into believeing that they have the genuine MySQL when in fact they do not. MySQL AB seems to be complaining because, 1. NuSphere is requiring registration to get software that they wrote. 2. NuSphere is releasing the Gemini table type in violation of MySQL's lisense (unclear on this but isn't it GPL?) because its not open. And 3. NuSphere is trying to capitalize on MySQL's popularity by stealing the name. I think the MySQL folks (no matter what you think of their database) are perfectly justified in their action. They don't mind NuSphere extending MySQL but they want people to play by their rules because it their work and they have that right.


"One World, one Web, one Program" - Microsoft promotional ad

MySQL is GPL and the extension isn't? How so? (3)

ClarkEvans (102211) | more than 13 years ago | (#89760)

From the intro: NuSphere has extended MySQL with the very cool, but not open source Gemini table type.

How can this extension not be not licensed under GPL? To extend MySQL some sort of linking would have to be done, and this would make their extension fall under the GPL unless they have received an exception from MySQL AB.

Inflammatory... (1)

meisenst (104896) | more than 13 years ago | (#89763)

This is, put simply, a flame by MySQL AB towards mysql.org. I just went to mysql.org, and on the very first page, I see:

"If you are looking for the MySQL AB company, click here. If you came here looking for NuSphere, click here."

Furthermore, nowhere on the page does it say "we are the official contacts for this product", nor does it suggest this. One has to wonder what mysql.org did to MySQL AB to prompt such an inflammatory (and apparently uninformed) attack.

Sounded harsh until I looked at mysql.org (4)

sommere (105088) | more than 13 years ago | (#89764)

I thought it sounded harsh too, until I looked at mysql.org. [mysql.org] I couldn't find ANYTHING that suggested that their product wasn't the standard distro of mysql... The only thing I found on quick inspection was that in their licence section they say that if you modify the GPL code, "as we have" you must release it under a GPL compilent licece. There wasn't a link to mysql.com arround anywhere obvious.

I think that if someone did that to my project I'd be kinda peeved too... by not pointing people at the GPL portion of the project's main site, they are just asking for project splits. If I make a change, and I've only looked at mysql.org, I'd never know who to tell about my change to get it in the main distro....

---

Re:Looking at mysql.org (1)

sahala (105682) | more than 13 years ago | (#89766)

The W3C suggests that "click here" as Web pages will increasingly be accessed by devices without mice or things that can be clicked (touch displays, text readers etc.) By making "click here" a hyperlink to MySQL AB rather than the text "MySQL AB" itself, it could be argued that they're trying to confuse the visitor. Of course this is only conjecture and it may just be that the Webmaster was not aware of Web standards.

???

Re:Wrong focus? (1)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 13 years ago | (#89767)

I'm not too impressed by someone who trashes MySQL in comparison to PostrgeSQL, and can't be bothered to spell "PostgreSQL" right ...

Re:I'm a little confused here... (2)

Grinch (112916) | more than 13 years ago | (#89769)

I don't think .org websites should ever be for-profit businesses as that is not how that domain was intended to be used.

That's a very popular misconception. The .org domain is intended to be a catch-all for domains that don't qualify for any other TLD.

gemini table type better only by comparison (5)

StandardDeviant (122674) | more than 13 years ago | (#89771)

Yeah, it's fast and supports transactions. BUT, at least in the last stable release, there were still some nasty catches. One I do recall was that the database could have no more than 1023 tables of the gemini type.

So if you do use it, make damn sure you read the docs on it and use it wisely given its limitations. IMHO, all of the new table types designed to give MySQL ACID-level database behavior have flaws, so you'd be better off using something with more mature suport if you need this (like PostgreSQL or a commercial rdbms).


--
News for geeks in Austin: www.geekaustin.org [geekaustin.org]

Not a GPL issue? (1)

Janon (137970) | more than 13 years ago | (#89773)

If MySQL is GPL, as the article states, and NuSpheres addition to it isn't (in fact, not even Open Source), shouldn't this be a problem under the GPL license terms? Can anybody explain the nature of this 'addition'?

But I guess MySQL AB would have used this issue it it existed, since they seem so eager to stop the site, so it probably is a addition in that doesn't violate the GPL.

Re:Hypocritical (2)

TheFuzzy (140473) | more than 13 years ago | (#89774)

Actually, under OS trademark enforcement is even more important because all other IP rights have been released. Lemme give you an example:

I have a very useful business software product built on OS technology. I would like to relase it as OS -- however, I've invested a consderable amount of my own time and money in developing the product. As such, the only way for my investment to pay off (and for me to pay my office rent) is if users, having downloaded the OS version of my program, hire me at high hourly rates for customization, support, and training.

Thus, if another consulting company opened a domain as, say, nameofmyproject.co.uk without a prior relationship with me as an attempt to get users to come to them instead of me for support and consulting, I would be infuriated and take them to court. They would be profiting from my code by stealing my income. OS works precisely because it is possible for others to profit from my code without picking my pocket.

It's actually this sort of fear that has prevented my from launching the OS project.

All that being said, MySQL did have a prior relationship with NuSphere, and I think here we're witnessing a flamewar resulting from a breakdown in that relationship.

Josh Berkus

Re:They got what was coming to them (1)

rob_99 (144974) | more than 13 years ago | (#89776)

I agree that it is craziness, but MySQL AB should have been proactive in this situation. There are tons of people domain squatting, and it was just a matter of time that someone else registered mysql.org.

Re:Acceptance (1)

silicon_synapse (145470) | more than 13 years ago | (#89777)

The only thing about MySQL.org that bothers me is that it looks very much like an official site for MySQL and makes no effort to give credit to the creators/developers of MySQL. The ONLY reference to mysql.com I can find on mysql.org is on their support page. They provide a link (not the first link in the list mind you) to mysql.com's support page, but give no indication who mysql.com is. I think it's great that mysql.org wants to help make MySQL better, but don't be deceptive about it. Give credit where credit is due.


--

Re:actually... (1)

_xeno_ (155264) | more than 13 years ago | (#89783)

Do you mean Salshdot.org [salshdot.org] ? (Or maybe Slahsdot.org [slahsdot.org] ?)

A while ago, Taco complained about it [slashdot.org] without mentioning the typo, but lar [slashdot.org] told the world about it in a comment [slashdot.org] , another mentioned another [slashdot.org] , but it would appear the typosquatter [slashdot.org] gave up on it.

--

Re:I'm a little confused here... (2)

SquadBoy (167263) | more than 13 years ago | (#89785)

This may have been added in the last few minutes but as of ~1 minute ago there was a link to http://www.mysql.com with the name of MySqul AB attached to it on the front page. And it is a very clean front page the link is very clear and obvious. So there is in fact a link to the .com site on the front page. And it does not say that they wrote it at all. It sounds to me like the MySql AB people are going way overboard on this one.

MySQL AB: we don't have total control, boohoo! (1)

smack_attack (171144) | more than 13 years ago | (#89787)

Let's not forget that mysql.com used to require people to "register" to use MySQL, and have been loosening the reigns on control of their software for only a year or so now.

That said, I don't use NuSphere, but I think what they are doing with MySQL is great. They are trying to package it in a professional form (a la RedHat) and dumb it down for the not-so-technical folks. They are also HEAVILY involved in spreading the word about OSS (including recent seminars and tours with PHP developer Rasmus Lerdorf, I received an email from one of the guys from NuSphere recently regarding a trip to Atlanta to meet with the phpAtlanta group). For the most part, I think Nusphere is actually headed in the right direction in supporting and evangelizing MySQL.

So why is MySQL AB crying foul? Here's my theory... I think they know that they have to because NuSphere is "the competition" and by registering a domain with MySQL AB's trademark, they are opening themselves up to a lot of infringement. That's the bad part. the good part is that MySQL.org is NOT trying to misrepresent, they clearly state on their site that they are not affiliated with mysql.com AND EVEN PROVIDE A LINK.

As for requiring registration to download from mysql.org ... I can't blame them, but then again I can't support them on it. They want to be able to contact the people to downloaded it and sell them on NuSphere services, at the same time, this should (and does) make MySQL AB quite nervous.

Oh well, we'll see how long it takes before mysql.org either shuts down the site, redirects everything to NuSphere (uh, bad idea), redirects everything to mysql.com (most likely), or gets sued by MySQL AB for the rights to the domain (unlikely judging by the tone of the release).

I dunno, I'm kinda torn on this, on one hand I want to slap NuSphere for doing something dumb like this that can only make everyone invlolved look bad. On the other hand, why NOT have a competing site for resources and information, it would certainly light the fire under mysql.com to keep on top of their documentation and support alleys.

---

Gemini not open source? (2)

oingoboingo (179159) | more than 13 years ago | (#89788)

NuSphere has extended MySQL with the very cool, but not open source Gemini table type

I thought the Gemini table type was included in the MySQL source package from MySQL.com? Gemini is mentioned in the docs. Maybe I'm confused with Innobase support, which is definitely included in the regular MySQL source distribution (and in the binary MySQL-max package). Innobase also supports row-level locking and transactional commit/rollback...we've been using it for about 3 months now and it works great.

(whoops...just checked the release docs for MySQL 3.23.40...it mentions that all references to GEMINI tables have been removed due to licensing).

Re:Easy Fix (1)

CyberKnet (184349) | more than 13 years ago | (#89792)

Where exactly did you stand on the kIllustrator vs Adobe Illustrator case?

---

Sheepizens (4)

CyberKnet (184349) | more than 13 years ago | (#89793)

So exactly whom among you thought that Adobe should burn in hell for daring to ask kIllustrator to change its name? Who among those now think that MySQL.org ought to change ITS name?

It occurs to me that there are a lot of sheep wandering aimlessly; with no clue as to what is going on. Folks, you cant have it both ways.

Taco, how about it? Poll this, I'd love to see the results.

---

I agree with MySQL AB (1)

adelayde (185757) | more than 13 years ago | (#89794)

The term 'obscure' is pretty obvious really, MySQL AB are just trying to belittle NuSphere. I agree with what MySQL AB have to say, it is obviously their trademark and product and name and someone registering a .ORG site for apparently commercial reasons, without the permission of MySQL AB certainly aren't behaving with honour or honesty. I can't belive the two parties haven't discussed this before, nor that MySQL AB didn't already own mysql.org. However, the actions of NuSphere almost definitely seem either illegal or at least "not cricket" as we English might have said about fifty years ago.

Re:Hypocritical (2)

ichimunki (194887) | more than 13 years ago | (#89795)

Even RMS might have a problem if someone started distributing a fork of GNU Emacs this way -- especially if they included proprietary add-ons.

Excuse me for wondering, but how the fsck can you have a proprietary add-on to a GPL product without violating the GPL? Doesn't this go against everything the license was intended to promote? This also occurred to me as I read the article posting... how can the Gemini table type (or whatever it was-- I don't use any version of MySQL) be non-open-source but be a feature for an open source licensed piece of software?

And BTW, Dear Slashdot, if you start using anything remotely resembling proprietary code for your site, I don't think I can look you in the eyes anymore.

I'm a little confused here... (2)

11223 (201561) | more than 13 years ago | (#89798)

Obscure? Help me out here. How is NuSphere obscure? I've heard quite a bit about them. They're even advertising.

What this smells like to me is an attempt by MySQL AB to shut down some competition by attacking the name of their website, not the competition themselves. If they had a problem with NuSphere, they could have went to them directly and asked them to do something else with the name. What they did do is a business attack pure and simple.

Re:Sounded harsh until I looked at mysql.org (3)

bbh (210459) | more than 13 years ago | (#89799)

Yes, I agree with this statement. When I went to mysql.org it really does look like it would be the standard website for the mysql distribution. In fact the only reference to the AB company on that website was the little blurb at the bottom that said "If you are looking for the MySQL AB company, click here." . This makes it sound like there simply referring you to some other commercial distribution of mysql. If a person did not know about mysql or the company behind it this website would not provide them with that information. In fact the licensing page isn't really even correct between the mysql.org and the mysql.com pages:

http://www.mysql.com/support/arrangements/policy.h tml [mysql.com]

http://www.mysql.org/content.php?menu=18&page_id=6 [mysql.org]

bbh

A little respect? (4)

update() (217397) | more than 13 years ago | (#89800)

I assume this is going to turn into the usual exchange of IANAL-ing:
  • "mysql.com and mysql.org are COMPLETELY different. I don't see how could anyone could POSSIBLY confuse the two."
  • "If MySQL AB doesn't instantly sue NuSphere for everything they've got, they lose their right to the trademark."
  • "NuSphere should move to Sealand. Or Afghanistan."
  • ...
The notion that seems really foreign around here, though, is that there are issues of respect and courtesy that go beyond what you think the law could possibly allow you to get away with. If you want to run mysql.org, clear it first with the company that makes MySql.

Unsettling MOTD at my ISP.

Re:They got what was coming to them (1)

MCZapf (218870) | more than 13 years ago | (#89801)

Why should MySQL AB have to register mysql.*? IMHO, that's craziness. I don't think they should have to pay a registrar all that money to simply not use most of those domains.

Heck, they already paid registrars in several countries to register MySQL (the trademark). If organizations have to resort to doing things like registering zillions of domain names as well, then what's the point of registering a trademark in the firstplace?

fully agreed.... (3)

unformed (225214) | more than 13 years ago | (#89804)

I'd mod tis up, but don't have any moderator points, so I'll just reply instead.

BUT, the creators of MySQL do and should be allowed to keep a trademark on their name. They put forth the original effort in writing the code, and should receive credit for it, regardless of whether its financial. By registering MySQL.org, NuSphere is getting the attention of people who weren't actually looking for the Gemini code, (had they been, they'd type in NuSphere.com)...

This happened about two years ago with Slashdot. Someone else had registered slashdot.com, made a framed page on which one frame led to slashdot.org and the other was a banner. Now I'm sure that everyone would agree that Slashdot should have been able to take over the slashdot.com domain, as the person who was owning it at the time was making money off of someone else's work.

This is no different. NuSphere is capitalizing on MySQL's name (sure maybe they're well-known too, but not nearly as well as MySQL) and MySQL should be allowed to keep their name.

just my panney's worth...

Monopoly in Web Sites? (1)

lostchicken (226656) | more than 13 years ago | (#89805)

The whole Linux movement is about choices.
Linux gives people a choice to not use MS. There are about 4 office suites one can choose from. There are many lanuages the programmer can choose from. Get the idea?

I don't care what mysql.org is doing, but I'm sure it forces mysql.com to be better. That improvement forces mysql.org to improve, and so on. The fact that both names are similiar just increases the competition between the two.

twb

It's called "missing the boat." (2)

BoarderPhreak (234086) | more than 13 years ago | (#89809)

Shouldn't MySQL AB have just registered the "mysql.org" and "mysql.net" domains, like most other companies do?

Unless they have a registered trademark or patent, there's not a whole lot they can do.

Re:Hypocritical (1)

mobydobius (237311) | more than 13 years ago | (#89810)

Open Source and Free software means having the right to use and and modify source code. It does not include the right to take credit for that code. Quite the contrary, the GPL says that the only way you can modify code is if you continue to keep the GPL as the license for the new code. Thats a very real application of the author wanting to have credit. If the author didn't have credit for the original code at all times then how could he enforce the GPL?

Enforcing trademarks are more related to credit for the code than for licensing the code, and OS licenses need code credit to be enforced to enforce the license.

Re:Sounded harsh until I looked at mysql.org (2)

Calle Ballz (238584) | more than 13 years ago | (#89811)

From www.mysql.org [mysql.org] ...

If you are looking for the MySQL AB company, click here [mysql.com] . If you came here looking for NuSphere, click here [nusphere.com] .

They got what was coming to them (4)

Calle Ballz (238584) | more than 13 years ago | (#89812)

MySQL(TM) should have registered...

MySQL.com
MySQL.net
MySQL.org
MySQL.co.uk
MySQL.gov
MySQL.mil
MySQL.mars
etc...

...when they had the chance. That's what almost every other company does. Even slashdot (www.slashdot.org, www.slashdot.com).

Re:Hypocritical (1)

Random Walk (252043) | more than 13 years ago | (#89815)

It is not at all self contradictory. Quite the contrary, Open Source could never be a valid business model without trademark enforcement.

Anyone can take the source and (re-)distribute it, so the only thing you can charge money for is the brand name that comes with the product, and which suggests things like support, reliability and accountability to those who are buying into the product. Without the brand name, there is absolutely zero you can sell to potential customers.

I don't know about you... (1)

TheWhiteOtaku (266508) | more than 13 years ago | (#89818)

I don't know about you but I think this whole debate is irrelevant, as Microsoft Access is clearly the only product one would use for their database needs. ;-)

Re:I'm a little confused here... (2)

cavemanf16 (303184) | more than 13 years ago | (#89820)

But ultimately the downloads are not 'free' because you're forced to register with them. Plus, that link on their home page is there, but as a person searching to find out more about MySQL, how would I know who was MYSQL AB? I've never used MySQL before, so to me, this does appear like something that ought to be fixed. Also, the MySQL.com people were never contacted about mysql.org going live, and I would think in the OpenSource community you should make an effort to keep the original developers informed when the product you built is better than their original design. At the very least, they should at least just say, "We're sorry if any confusion was caused, we'll fix it." But, most companies are pretty arrogant and self-serving now-a-days, so I doubt this will happen.

Re:I'm a little confused here... (5)

cavemanf16 (303184) | more than 13 years ago | (#89821)

NuSphere may not be 'obscure', but the mysql.org website seems a little deceptive. If I didn't investigate it more, I wouldn't have known the difference between mysql.org or mysql.com just by looking at the front page of the website. MySQL.org presents their website in a manner that does not give credit where credit is due.

For one, if you go to mysql.org [mysql.org] you will find that it doesn't say whether it developed the software, it just says it's got mysql software available for 'free' download. But the mysql.com guy is correct, in that you cannot download any software without registering with mysql.org first. That indicates to me that it's not 'free' because now mysql.org has customer data to use to market their product to. Plus, it doesn't say: "Hey, we didn't write the software, mysql.com is where you can find that info. We just improved upon it." Besides, I don't think .org websites should ever be for-profit businesses as that is not how that domain was intended to be used.

gemini in... then out (1)

codebunny (310383) | more than 13 years ago | (#89828)

I download MySQL from the .com reasonably recently and it came with Gemini tables, with details in the documentation, they obviosuly didn't mind it then.

After seeing this press-release I went back, no Gemini in the contents and this at the top:
"Removed all documentation referring to the GEMINI table type. GEMINI is not released under an Open Source license."

Trademarks are a blessing for open source (4)

melquiades (314628) | more than 13 years ago | (#89835)

Isn't it self contradictory on one hand to produce a product as Open Source...while fighting vigorously to protect the trademark?

It's not hypocritical at all. It's very important that when a name like "MySQL" or "Perl" or "Linux" represents a standard for compatibility, that name remain meaningful. If it weren't for trademark law, malicious companies could embrace and subvert all our open-source languages by creating their own incompatible versions, releasing the code, and stealing the brand in public perception with a big marketing blitz. Most people are not going to take the time to sort it out if many sites are providing different versions of Perl, and if Microsoft pre-installed a "Perl" that only ran under Windows and allowed embedded Visual Basic, people would use it and think it's Perl. Only trademark law prevents them from doing this.

AbiWord uses this combination of copyright (to keep the code open) and trademark (to keep the name meaningful), and they have a nice FAQ about the AbiWord trademark [abisource.com] which explains both the legal and the philosophical issues (see also this post [debian.org] ).

All of that said, the real issue here is that MySQL was dumb not to register every available form of their domain.

Oh please, the hypocracy is going to kill me (5)

SumDeusExMachina (318037) | more than 13 years ago | (#89838)

Jesus, Taco, you beat the open source drum all day and every day here at Slashdot, and yet you are planning on using a closed source program to power the site.

If you are going to go all proprietary software on us, why don't you just go all the way and get a real database from Oracle or Sybase, so the response time aren't so shitty.

NuSphere is wrong (1)

Kunta Kinte (323399) | more than 13 years ago | (#89839)

NuSphere is wrong for registering [ a domain which is ] the TRADEMARK of a DIRECT COMPETITOR.

It is that simple IMHO.

MySQL AB probably puts a lot into development in the MySQL database, more than any other company I'd also assume. They spend money and effort on developing the core product, other companies can thus spend money on packaging that product and branding. Note that the activities the second company takes part in do not necessarily benefit the original company, and in fact may often hurt it's bottom line.

My point is, after looking very seriously into starting a opensource oriented software establishment, I've come to the conclusion that companies like MySQL are screwed.

If another company comes and drives MySQL AB out of business, even though fair competition, You, as a MySQL user, had better hope that company is ready and willing to pickup on core development where MySQL left off.

I wonder (1)

Jupiter9 (366355) | more than 13 years ago | (#89843)

Personally I don't have a problem with this stuff happening, but I'm not MySQL AB.

Would Taco have a problem if I created cmdrtaco.com (oppose to cmdrtaco.net) "with the apparent goal to confuse the huge worldwide community of" Slashdot Users?

Just curious, I don't have anything agains the guy, I just wonder how someone/company/organization would feel if they were in MySQL's shoes.

An Eye for an Eye (1)

famazza (398147) | more than 13 years ago | (#89844)

Let's remember a very recent chapter here in slashdot. Does anybody remembers what is happening with KIllustrator? This is even worse, if you do a strcmp KIllustrator is not equal Illustrator, but strcmp("MySQL", "MySQL) returns 0!

I think that MySQL AB should do just like Adobe. Sues this dam company that its name. We don't live in a perferct world, I'd like if Adobe hasn't sued KIllustrator, and then MySQL AB wouldn't need to sue NuSphere. But, that's the rules, and I think that MySQL should play according the rules.

What can I do? Just be sorry for all this tiny fights!

Re:Hypocritical (5)

s20451 (410424) | more than 13 years ago | (#89846)

Isn't it self contradictory on one hand to produce a product as Open Source - releasing the content IP to the world freely - while fighting vigorously to protect the trademark - restricting identification/brand name IP from the world?

Not at all. Trademarks exist so that an individual company that has built good will based on a particular, recognizable product name will not have that good will hijacked by others seeking to either slander it or profit from it. This may be even more relevant in the open-source world, where anyone can take your source code and do what they want with it.

Say I release an open-source software package called Foo. The package receives a following and I decide to trademark the name.

Example 1: Somebody takes the source and corrupts it (e.g., by opening security holes), then releases a competing package also called Foo. The public becomes confused because of this "bad Foo", and good will based around my package called Foo is lost, due to this competing version.

Example 2: A company -- let's call them MacroSoft -- takes the source and uses it to release a closed source version which they call "Foo for MacroSoft". Let's say I used a license other than GPL so that there's no licensing issue, and they sell the product for a tidy profit. In this case MacroSoft is profiting on the good will created by my hard work, even though they did very little themselves, while I see nothing.

So, in other words, to prevent OS projects from becoming corrupted, I believe trademarking is not only consistent with the aims of OS, but necessary for it.

Clearly TM infringement (4)

GreyPoopon (411036) | more than 13 years ago | (#89848)

Hey guys, quit arguing for a minute and actually look at the contents of the mySQL.org website. They even have a download for Nusphere MySQL. If the product name, MySQL, is trademarked, then these guys have definitely violated it.

Also remember, MySQL has to defend its trademark, or run the risk of losing it. (IANAL)

GreyPoopon
--

Re:Hypocritical (2)

actiondan (445169) | more than 13 years ago | (#89850)

Isn't it self contradictory on one hand to produce a product as Open Source - releasing the content IP to the world freely - while fighting vigorously to protect the trademark - restricting identification/brand name IP from the world?

If OS projects did not protect trademarks, there would be all sorts of problems. I could bodge together an operating system and sell it under the name Linux - my customers would think that linux was crap.

Until we have better ways of identifying products than simple names, we have to have a way for people to claim a name for their product - if only to prevent confusion.

In a perfect world, everyone would respect each others product names and would not choose potentially confusing ones. The world is not perfect so we need trademark law to force people to respect trademarks.

Re:What's in a name? (2)

blang (450736) | more than 13 years ago | (#89851)

Agreed.

And for mysql AB, they now can turn to a UN committe that deals with cybersquatting. Being the owner of the trademark, they're almost guaranteed victory. If the nusphere guys have any business acumen and decency, they'll voluntarily give up the domain, and concentrate on their own business, instead of stealing from others.

NuSphere != NonProfit; .org == NonProfit (1)

idonotexist (450877) | more than 13 years ago | (#89852)

Wasn't there a ruling/adoption of standard a couple of months ago that all .org usage would strictly be used only be nonprofit entities? NuSphere is a profit entity so it should be disallowed from using mysql.org.

Acceptance (1)

qxjit (461981) | more than 13 years ago | (#89854)

This is an interesting development. I understand MySQL AB's desire to protect their trademark, and not being an MySQL affcionado, I have to say I can see how one could be fooled by the mysql.org site. However, I also don't see a problem with another company hosting a community for MySQL users to get help and help each other. If the issue is simply the domain name, then I would encourage NuSphere to respect MySQL and change it. However, if the MySQL AB has a problem with the site itself, then I would say that they are just being anal.

The good the bad and you know the rest... (1)

taccom (465753) | more than 13 years ago | (#89857)

The good: opensorce hippes meet the bad: MySQL and there legal rep. and it gets ugly... classical senario

actually... (1)

theantix (466036) | more than 13 years ago | (#89858)

... I remember back in the day the www.slashdot.com was held by some random guy, and there was a minor controversy because he pointed it back at www.slashdot.org but framed it under an ad window. Sorry, couldn't find a link, I doubt there was ever a full story on it.

A prayer to god in the atomic age (2)

Slashdot Chaplain (467180) | more than 13 years ago | (#89861)

Father in heaven,

Humbly praying that you will look upon the earth and find your servants who petition you with prayer, and weak such that my prayer is in public, I petition that you will consider me now seeking your guidance, and let me pray led by your Holy Spirit, that the conflict between people claiming to own things given by your grace to the earth will be resolved amicably. Lord, we are proud and vengeful people, who seek you not in all things; we are not worthy of your condescension, but you did tell us that if we pray to you for help, and if we pray sincerely, not wavering, we will receive your help, and so in the name of your son Jesus Christ, I pray you will send angels to prepare the hearts and minds of those men who are arguing about mySQL. We know that in your eyes, neither owns it, for all belongs to you, but that by your grace you have given authority to represent you to one or the other of these groups. Both have worked hard to make mySQL a better product for the user, and we do not always know whether hard work makes ownership valid, but we trust that if we seek your blessings, and your light, you will hear our prayer. Oh, God, there are so many other things we could pray for this day, but this is the one which we present to you in these moments, seeking that you will be glorified, that we will be humble, and Lord that into your hands we commit these things, that you will consecrate them unto the welfare of our souls, as we seek to draw near you and rise above the dark confusions which plague this world. Father, I love you though I barely know you, for the graces you have poured out upon your unworthy children made worthy by the grace of atonement; in the name of your only begotten, whose example of baptism showed that you condescended to earth, to the rules of earth, to glorify even them, leads us back to you as we choose, rather than by force or coercion, depends on the light to be shone, that men may see our good works and glorify our Father in Heaven, as you said in Matthew. Oh, God, be merciful, and raise us from corruption into incorruption, and cleanse us this day that we may serve you even in the midst of our poverty of compassion, Amen.

Re:ARRRGHH! (1)

martenmickos (467191) | more than 13 years ago | (#89862)

I am Marten Mickos and I am from MySQL AB, the Swedish company that was founded by Michael "Monty" Widenius and David Axmark who created the MySQL product, i.e. the company that owns the MySQL trademark and the copyright to the MySQL server.

Re:I'm a little confused here... (3)

martenmickos (467191) | more than 13 years ago | (#89871)

We DID talk to NuSphere earlier and asked them to give us the mysql.org domain name that they had managed to acquire. But they refused, and now they set up this .org site without our knowledge. Marten Mickos, MySQL AB
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