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GNU is Not Unix Oracle

MySQL Man Pages Silently Relicensed Away From GPL 243

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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  • good (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 18, 2013 @08:13PM (#44044947)
    GPL isn't a documentation license. The GPL itself isn't licensed under the GPL.
  • by AmericanBlarney ( 1098141 ) on Tuesday June 18, 2013 @08:52PM (#44045203)
    I think Oracle has been pretty clear the whole way that they are trying to slowly kill off MySQL and drive users towards their more enterprise grade (read: grossly overpriced) product. They've jacked up the license fees substantially a couple times and pretty much every step of the way signaled that they're not really interested in supporting an open source DB, so I'm actually not even sure why this is newsworthy. I actually find a number of features of Oracle's DB offering fairly interesting, but wholly unnecessary for most web applications, so I expect everyone will move on to MariaDB and PostgreSQL. Nice of Oracle to provide a little window for everyone to switch, not that it was their intention.
  • Let's look at what Oracle is doing. I'll start the list of moves that appear to be intended to alienate the community around the very software they're promoting and cause the Open Source community to create viable forks that end up absconding with the product and its market. You guys contribute additional examples...

    • Oracle v. Google regarding Java and the premise that APIs are copyrightable.
    • Apache OpenOffice v. LibreOffice (which has a full-time negative publicity generator in Rob Weir).
    • MySQL v. MariaDB.

    IBM isn't known for dumb moves, but partnering with Oracle on this sure is one.


  • User trust violation (Score:5, Interesting)

    by tepples ( 727027 ) <{tepples} {at} {}> on Tuesday June 18, 2013 @08:54PM (#44045235) Homepage Journal
    But it is possible for the copyright owner to commit a user trust violation by providing new versions of a work only under much harsher terms.
  • MariaDB is plugin-compatible with MySQL, and remains GPL licensed.

    It may be that this license change is just a build oops, or it may be that Oracle is breaking it's agreement with the EU to keep mysql stable, supported and free. In any case, this does strengthen the case for MariaDB for those organizations are still on the fence about switching over.

  • Re:good (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Forever Wondering ( 2506940 ) on Tuesday June 18, 2013 @10:39PM (#44045817)

    In general, perhaps.

    However, when Oracle took over Sun, it made public statements to the effect that the open version would remain that. If users/consumers took actions [to stay with mysql vs. bolting to Postgres], based on these statements, they may have suffered [actionable] harm.

    Reading further down the [wiki] page, under the "reliance-based estoppels" section, Oracle's statements seem to be a "promissory estoppel".

  • Re:good (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Forever Wondering ( 2506940 ) on Wednesday June 19, 2013 @03:03AM (#44047085)

    I don't think the existence of MariaDB lets Oracle off the hook for a couple of reasons:

    MariaDB doesn't change the fact that Oracle is reneging on its [implied] promises.

    The harm is real. If a developer/company continues development on mysql (e.g. spends real money) continuing with mysql, based upon the assurances, vs. pulling the plug on all such devel activity immediately [when Oracle first acquired Sun].

    In absence of the Oracle roadmap, the other company's choice might have been to spend that [wasted] capital on doing a Postgres port right away. Not only money wasted, but time as well, and business decisions about what markets to stay in/get out of. All of these could affect a company's competitiveness, market share, and profitability. Hence the harm.

    If Oracle had said at time of acquisition that mysql was being closed [made no public promises to the contrary], there would be nothing to litigate about. Others are correct about being able to change licensing in general.

    But, if Oracle had said that then [people were plenty steamed up], there would have been an immediate code fork [ala LibreOffice] or mass migration to Postgres [IIRC, MariaDB didn't exist then]. So, if Oracle had this latest action in mind all along [after the brouhaha dies down], then they seem truly duplicitous [and vulnerable in a court of law].

"My sense of purpose is gone! I have no idea who I AM!" "Oh, my God... You've.. You've turned him into a DEMOCRAT!" -- Doonesbury