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GNU is Not Unix Oracle

MySQL Man Pages Silently Relicensed Away From GPL 243

Posted by Soulskill
from the gimme-it!-it's-mine! dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The MariaDB blog is reporting a small change to the license covering the man pages to MySQL. Until recently, the governing license was GPLv2. Now the license reads, 'This software and related documentation are provided under a license agreement containing restrictions on use and disclosure and are protected by intellectual property laws. Except as expressly permitted in your license agreement or allowed by law, you may not use, copy, reproduce, translate, broadcast, modify, license, transmit, distribute, exhibit, perform, publish, or display any part, in any form, or by any means. Reverse engineering, disassembly, or decompilation of this software, unless required by law for interoperability, is prohibited.'"
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MySQL Man Pages Silently Relicensed Away From GPL

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  • by Cassini2 (956052) on Tuesday June 18, 2013 @07:19PM (#44044983)

    Most distributions include the documentation with any software packages distributed. Without a GPL or free software license on the documentation, the distributions must either:
    (a) comply with the license,
    (b) provide a third-party download (like Adobe with Flash), or
    (c) stop including MySQL.
    Given the existence of MariaDB, it might be simplest to stop including MySQL in the distribution.

  • Re:good (Score:5, Informative)

    by jedidiah (1196) on Tuesday June 18, 2013 @07:31PM (#44045057) Homepage

    Software is. This manpage change appears to be implying that the corresponding software is covered by some license other than some variant of the GPL as the given restrictions are incompatible with that license.

  • Re:Is this legal? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Hewligan (202585) on Tuesday June 18, 2013 @07:43PM (#44045139)

    No, MySQL has always required copyright assignment for stuff to be included.

  • Re:good (Score:1, Informative)

    by Forever Wondering (2506940) on Tuesday June 18, 2013 @07:44PM (#44045149)

    From the blog, the old documentation said:

    This documentation is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it only under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation; version 2 of the License.

    IANAL, but it looks like a GPL violation to me.

  • Just use Postgres (Score:5, Informative)

    by SplashMyBandit (1543257) on Tuesday June 18, 2013 @07:46PM (#44045161)
    Just use Postgres - and get on with whatever it is you have to do :)
  • Re:good (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 18, 2013 @07:52PM (#44045201)

    How so? If they own the copyright, they are free to relicense a piece of data (and more importantly any new versions of it) under any terms they wish.
    This doesn't change the fact that the copy you downloaded previously under the GPL stays that way, and you can redistribute it indefinitely.

    captcha: darlings

  • Assigned (Score:5, Informative)

    by tepples (727027) <tepples&gmail,com> on Tuesday June 18, 2013 @07:59PM (#44045277) Homepage Journal

    You can't steal my copyright or that of my friends who wrote them.

    Ellison can't steal it, but if this comment [] is to be trusted, you already signed it away.

  • Re:good (Score:3, Informative)

    by shentino (1139071) on Tuesday June 18, 2013 @08:15PM (#44045377)

    If outsiders contributed to it they are no longer the sole copyright owners.

  • Re:good (Score:5, Informative)

    by eht (8912) on Tuesday June 18, 2013 @08:29PM (#44045463)

    MySQL was always dual licensed, they always required copyright to be assigned to them for contributions so they could monetize it on the side.

  • Re:good (Score:4, Informative)

    by Bruce Perens (3872) <> on Tuesday June 18, 2013 @10:30PM (#44046077) Homepage Journal

    If they own the copyright, they are free to relicense a piece of data

    Sorry to be pedantic, but replace "a piece of data" with "a work of authorship". If there isn't the creative work of a human being involved, it's not copyrightable. And then we get to this:

    17 CFR 102(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.

    And that means that even when the hand of man is involved, a lot of things are still not copyrightable.

  • Re: good (Score:4, Informative)

    by hairyfeet (841228) <bassbeast1968 AT gmail DOT com> on Tuesday June 18, 2013 @10:52PM (#44046157) Journal

    They can waste their mod points all they want they can't show me a SINGLE CASE, not one, where the GPL foundation was able to keep a company from changing the license to their own products. And I never said anything about retroactive, which is why I said you can fork the last GPL version and they can't do shit because if you tried to retroactively change a license you would be laughed out of court.

    Kinda fucking sad that only the proprietary guy has actually read the fricking GPL, but show me anywhere where the FSF can control FUTURE licenses [] because its NOT IN THERE. all the GPL does is makes sure that particular release that was done under GPL then STAYS under GPL, they can change the license at any. time.they.want. and it does not matter because the version that is ALREADY GPL STAYS GPL, which was the whole fucking point, that you wouldn't come to depend on a piece of FOSS and have them pull the rug out from under you by pulling a switch.

    But that does NOT give you the right to everything a company makes from that moment on, or even every single version of a particular software that they make because it is THEIR PROPERTY and if they want to make it GPL,MPL, if they want to say you have to do a fricking rain dance to get a copy of the latest version? they can do that. what they CAN'T DO is take what was already GPL and wave a magic wand and make it proprietary, it just does not work that way and no case law that I'm aware of lets a company change a license retroactively from whenever they feel like it. If the court allowed that then there wouldn't be any licenses, because you could never know if the deal you made today would be upheld tomorrow.

    So its nothing to get your panties in a twist over guys, you can decide to be a dumbass and trust old Monty again (seriously guys look at the MariaDB license again, old Monty has it set up so all the code belongs to him, no reason he can't sell it out from under you again) or you can go to one of the other SQL variants or hell, if you want you and some other devs can take the last GPL version of MySQL and fork it and make something better. Make it belong to the actual community so it can't be sold and get behind that like you did with Libre office, why not do that? But this is a tempest in a teapot, who cares, you have options galore.

  • by nryeng (2956407) on Wednesday June 19, 2013 @03:54AM (#44047521)
    You're right. This is an unintentional change that will be reversed. []

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