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Monty Wants To Save MySQL 371

An anonymous reader writes "It seems as if the MySQL author is trying hard to win back control over MySQL. In his blog he calls upon the MySQL users to 'Help keep the Internet free' by signing his petition. He fears that if Oracle buys Sun they automatically get MySQL which would spell doom for the project. But I have have mixed feelings with this call for help, because after all — who sold MySQL in the first place?"
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Monty Wants To Save MySQL

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  • by tepples ( 727027 ) <{tepples} {at} {gmail.com}> on Monday January 04, 2010 @12:06PM (#30641710) Homepage Journal

    Why doesn't he just fork the whole project?

    The article addresses the forking issue [helpmysql.org].

  • Monty is a douche (Score:4, Interesting)

    by thetoadwarrior ( 1268702 ) on Monday January 04, 2010 @12:09PM (#30641764) Homepage
    He got his money and now he sees an opportunity to get his code back that he sold and the shyster is doing what he can to get it back.

    He has his own db, MariaDB and if it's any good then he shouldn't care since its whole purpose is that it's a replacement to MySQL.

    I've also noticed he's not allowing comments on his blog that counter his points no matter how mature and well presented they are.

    I really hope Oracle gets the ok, if for any reason to shit in this guy's Cheerios. I won't have anything to do anything he's working on.
  • Re:Own fault (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Antique Geekmeister ( 740220 ) on Monday January 04, 2010 @12:20PM (#30641948)

    More like breaking up with his wife, signing the divorce papers and custody agreements, but now she wants to move to another state where access to his kids will be far more difficult. Because Monty went with the dual licensing model, he thought he could retain his business model as well.

    This is _exactly_ the sort of wanting to have your cake and eat it, too, model that the GPL helps _avoid_. The situation is in fact mislabeled as a GPL issue. It was the dual model, GPL for the core and BSD for business ventures model that Sun used and that Monty's later business ventures are based on, and that is now at risk.

  • by up4fun ( 602118 ) on Monday January 04, 2010 @12:23PM (#30641984)

    And another in the wings as drizzle [drizzle.org] - a fork of mysql. This is getting a lot of attention and some parts are considerably cleaner and faster than mysql.

  • Re:No he doesn't (Score:5, Interesting)

    by JSBiff ( 87824 ) on Monday January 04, 2010 @12:35PM (#30642174) Journal

    There's an interesting thing hidden in this whole mess. . . The argument that Monty makes for why he doesn't think MySQL can survive as a strictly GPL product is that it would cut off the ability of him and others to make money selling non-GPL products which *link* to MySQL. This is based upon the notion that dynamically linking an executable with a GPL library (or linking a non-GPL library with a GPL executable) violates the GPL - which of course is an assertion the FSF likes to make. I am not a lawyer, but I've tried to research this and find an answer to the following question: does dynamic linking actually create a copyright infringement situation (i.e. a derivative work)?

    From a technical standpoint, you can argue back and forth on the merits all day. But, from a standpoint of the law, so far as I've been able to tell, this is a question that has never been addressed by courts or legislation. Personally, I feel the most reasonable interpretation (from the standpoint of being consistent and, well, logical) would be that linking does *not* create a derivative work (for example, is Firefox a derivative of the Flash plugin, or Flash plugin a derivative of Firefox? Seems to me they are fairly independent works that use the mechanism of dynamic linking to work together.)

    But, I also agree with other posters that Monty got a Billion bucks, and now wants to get MySQL back, and that's just kind of shady. You sell something, you get paid, it's not yours anymore. Maybe Monty can *buy it back* from Sun before they sell to Oracle - seems like that would be fair to all parties involved, and clear the way for the Oracle/Sun merger.

  • Because (Score:3, Interesting)

    by toby ( 759 ) * on Monday January 04, 2010 @12:55PM (#30642522) Homepage Journal

    Oracle actually wants it, and it's worth 10-100x what Monty could personally afford.

  • Re:well... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by shutdown -p now ( 807394 ) on Monday January 04, 2010 @01:32PM (#30643102) Journal

    These days, most new sites developed by sensible developers are built on FLPP (FreeBSD/Lighttpd/PostgreSQL/Python) or FNPP (FreeBSD/Nginx/PostgreSQL/Python) stacks.

    I suspect that LAMP still makes the majority, though, it's just that you've conveniently sneaked up the word "sensible" here, which is of course defined by you as "using the technology I believe to be appropriate".

    Meanwhile, the mention of FreeBSD there already makes me go "huh?". Not even to mention non-Apache web servers, and Python over PHP (I wholeheartedly wish PHP to die a quick death, but at this point, for web development at least, it is clearly more popular than Python by any measure).

  • Re:No he doesn't (Score:3, Interesting)

    by shutdown -p now ( 807394 ) on Monday January 04, 2010 @01:42PM (#30643202) Journal

    The problem is not linking a library binary object. Instead, it's the use of header files during development.

    If that is the case, the trivial workaround would be to write all function prototypes and type declarations yourself (e.g. from the docs, or via clean-room reverse engineering).

    Furthermore, Java doesn't have headers. And FSF insists that "dynamically linking" (of course, it is always dynamic in Java) against a GPL'd Java class library results in a derived work as well.

  • Re:Me too! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by not-my-real-name ( 193518 ) on Monday January 04, 2010 @02:23PM (#30643786) Homepage

    It's kind of surprising how few people realize this disadvantage of the GPL. Keep that in mind the next time you use it on a project.

    How is this a disadvantage of the GPL?

    If I sell software with anything like a typical commercial license and I decide to stop supporting it, you're SOL. With the GPL, at least you have the source and can spend money to hire someone to support it.

    As far as the trademark is concerned, if I own BobSQL, you can't call your own database BobSQL regardless of how either one is licensed.

    So, how is this a disadvantage of the GPL?

  • by msimm ( 580077 ) on Monday January 04, 2010 @02:26PM (#30643836) Homepage
    You know he'd started the Maria engine because of concerns regarding InnoDB's ownership (Oracle bought Innobase Oy in October 2005) in 2007.
  • Re:Own fault (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Kagato ( 116051 ) on Monday January 04, 2010 @02:37PM (#30643980)

    Basically Monty fell into the classic pitfall technical people with great ideas fall into. In order to have the successful project they need money. Money in these situations typically comes from venture capital firms (investors). The stated strategy of many firms is to remove the founders (in particular when they come from a technical background) from the business side of the organization. Once a VC and their slate of investors is on the board with a significant share of the equity the downfall of the founders is assured. Sometimes they allow the technical folks to be in charge of R&D, more often than not they are shown the door (with a large chunk of money and stock in-hand).

    Products based on Open Source encourages VC firms to play nicer with company founders, but make no mistake, most VC firms want to make as much money as they can off a deal, and that usually involves selling it to a larger fish. Once a sale has occurred the stock a company founder would have is seriously diluted where at most they are a mid-tier shareholder.

  • Re:well... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by sirlark ( 1676276 ) on Monday January 04, 2010 @02:49PM (#30644130)
    Seems to depend very much on distro. Ubuntu karmic allows local only connection by username/database name only... gentoo allows full trust to all local connection to all databases. Don't know offhand what the compiled from source outside of package management scenario is, but a quick visit to pg_hba.conf and the comment in the file explain it all. edit, restart and go
  • by dissy ( 172727 ) on Monday January 04, 2010 @04:19PM (#30645384)

    There is already a perfectly good free DBMS
    It's called PostgreSQL. It's fast, what's even more important, it's correct and it's tried and tested. Get it here [postgresql.org].

    I'm confused on your suggestion. You want Monty to take PostgreSQL, change it's license to closed source, and sell it as a product?

    If not, I don't see why you would suggest it over MySQL, which is what he is trying to do that with currently.

  • by rbanffy ( 584143 ) on Monday January 04, 2010 @04:29PM (#30645596) Homepage Journal

    It basically goes like this "we got paid by the folks who wanted MySQL for proprietary software to make enhancements that we could, if we wanted, include in the GPL versions".

    This asymmetry - when a customer pays MySQL for a proprietary license, MySQL gets developer attention it would not get otherwise - may have distorted the free database market giving MySQL more resources than it rightfully deserved.

    But that's a good subject for a thesis I am not willing to defend.

  • Re:Own fault (Score:4, Interesting)

    by montywi ( 1713110 ) on Monday January 04, 2010 @04:30PM (#30645598)

    When you take in investors, it's impossible to get such a clause. (Don't think that we didn't try).

    So, in 2001, David and I had the choice to continue like before and grow slowly or take a risk and grow

    Growing meant more resources for development and a better Open Source database overall. The price to pay was less control.

  • Re:well... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by JThaddeus ( 531998 ) on Monday January 04, 2010 @04:36PM (#30645720)
    We've been happy with Firebird. A few years ago, I was looking to port some 40K lines of Embedded SQL from Oracle to an open source database. MySQL had fees for commercial use, and at that time PostgreSQL lacked the transaction management we required (it may now, but it certainly did not then). The port to Firebird 1.5 when smoothly, and subsequent upgrades a have been painless. It's simple to install, simple to manage.
  • Re:No he doesn't (Score:2, Interesting)

    by montywi ( 1713110 ) on Monday January 04, 2010 @04:53PM (#30645974)

    To make it clear, I don't want MySQL back.

    I just want that MySQL should be owned by someone that have more reasons to keep it alive than to kill it.
    (which is not me). This to ensure that the project is kept alive as an Open Source project also in the future.

  • by montywi ( 1713110 ) on Monday January 04, 2010 @05:02PM (#30646102)

    We have been working on a branch of MySQL, MariaDB, for 11 months already, so it's not like I am not doing anything.

    However, the problem is that with a bad owner of the MySQL copyright, a fork that can't survive for long (because no one will be willing to pay for development of it). This is why we put up the petition; To give all MySQL users a chance to get heard and help affecting that MySQL will be available for all also in the future.

  • Re:Me too! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by AlexMax2742 ( 602517 ) on Monday January 04, 2010 @06:32PM (#30647438)

    If I sell software with anything like a typical commercial license and I decide to stop supporting it, you're SOL. With the GPL, at least you have the source and can spend money to hire someone to support it.

    The GPL emphasizes code freedom over developer freedom. Take a look at Question 6 of the Commercial License page for MySQL:

    Q6: What is Sun's commercial license for MySQL software?
    A: Sun offers a commercial license for all of its MySQL software that is embedded in or bundled with another application. The commercial license allows OEMs, ISVs and VARs to distribute commercial binaries of MySQL software with their own commercial software without subjecting that software to the GPL and its requirement to distribute source code.

    Emphasis mine. If MySQL had been BSD licensed, Monty Program AB could continue to offer a similar service for MariaDB, even though it was not the primary copyright holder of MySQL's codebase. Of course, said commercial software would have to have the BSD license included somewhere in their documentation, per the BSD license's second clause, but this is likely to be far more agreeable than the GPL's onerous requirements.

    As far as the trademark is concerned, if I own BobSQL, you can't call your own database BobSQL regardless of how either one is licensed.

    You are precisely correct. However, I feel that too many GPL advocates don't think about the ramifications of having to discard the brand associated with the code. "Oh we'll fork it and everything will be fine" is naive, since you now have to "get the word out" about the forked project all over again. And this is only if the copyright holders have abandoned the project, if they continue to develop it, you are now effectively competing against your old established codebase and have more to prove.

    Looking back over my original post, however, it does look like I put the branding issues and the 'commercial closed source' issue under the same umbrella, though I meant differently (see: singular use of the word "disadvantage") My apologies.

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