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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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  • like oracle but come on Larry no need to be that greedy

    • by ron_ivi ( 607351 )
      Glad I moved to PostgreSQL.

      (Nothing to do with Oracle screwing it up - I moved back around the 6.4 relase. IMHO Postgres was always better on Linux/Unix, and MySQL's popularity is really only due to it having a Windows installer first.)

      • by samkass ( 174571 ) on Tuesday June 18, 2013 @10:32PM (#44045779) Homepage Journal

        Glad I moved to PostgreSQL.

        (Nothing to do with Oracle screwing it up - I moved back around the 6.4 relase. IMHO Postgres was always better on Linux/Unix, and MySQL's popularity is really only due to it having a Windows installer first.)

        That's not at all why MySQL was popular. It was dead simple to get started on, you could dump/reload databases to text files trivially, and you could learn on a platform with minimal support for everything so there wasn't a stack of binders work of documentation. It was fast, free, had minimal complexity for a DB, and had a clear path from first tutorial to production.

    • He's gotta cover those mortgage payments for Lanai somehow...

  • by dgatwood ( 11270 ) on Tuesday June 18, 2013 @08:16PM (#44044969) Homepage Journal

    They offer things under two licenses: GPL and commercial. IMO, it is far more likely that some build script broke and failed to replace the copyright notice on the GPLed export than that Oracle has decided to try to take the man pages proprietary.... :-)

  • by Cassini2 ( 956052 ) on Tuesday June 18, 2013 @08:19PM (#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: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Most likely the choice will be:

      (d) write free documentation

      Debian does this quite often. See: Debian with GFDL licensed documentation.

      • Yup. They could fork the old documentation and add corrections themselves. Mind you, that is a lot of work. I can imagine that the community favours switching to MariaDB instead.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 18, 2013 @08:42PM (#44045133)

      (d) provide the old documentation, which didn't come with any such restrictions.

      The Correct way to look at this situation, is that MySQL has died and is no longer being maintained by its owner. The last [GPLed] version was the last version.

    • by icebike ( 68054 )

      Haven't most distros moved already to MariaDB?

      • Not RHEL/CentOS, although RHEL7 will be based on Fedora19, which will use MariaDB instead of MySQL. Basing RHEL7 on Fedora19 is strange in itself; RedHat used to base RHEL on older versions of Fedora; I guess they feel the commercial world is ready for bleeding edge.
        • by arth1 ( 260657 )

          Or they needed to wait until there was a stable MATE, given how Gnome 3 still is rather unsuitable for server use, including remote desktops, VMs and heterogeneous environments.

        • And I just thought of a complication: RHEL is known for backporting security fixes to older versions, but soon those security fixes may not be compatible license-wise. So versions of RHEL that are still in use (5,6) will need to switch to MariaDB for security reasons, which will be hairy for support.
    • Plenty of distributions are already ahead of you and have moved over to MariaDB anyway.

  • Wouldn't they need the approval of everyone who contributed to the GPL'd version in order to do this?

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

      by Hewligan ( 202585 ) on Tuesday June 18, 2013 @08:43PM (#44045139)

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

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        The answer is "Yes" and the long answer is that they already gave the permission or MySQL AB/Sun/Oracle wouldn't have accepted the contribution.

        • GP was answering the question in the body, not the question in the subject line.
          "Yes" it's legal.
          "No" they wouldn't need approval of everybody who contributed to the GPL version.

          • "No" they wouldn't need approval of everybody who contributed to the GPL version.

            I agree with you, but I think of it as "Yes, they need the approval of everybody who contributed to the GPL version, so they got that approval in advance in the form of a copyright assignment. Because the contributors assigned all their copyright rights to the owners of MySQL, the owners can make this change without needing any further permission from the contributors."

  • Just use Postgres (Score:5, Informative)

    by SplashMyBandit ( 1543257 ) on Tuesday June 18, 2013 @08:46PM (#44045161)
    Just use Postgres - and get on with whatever it is you have to do :)
    • by sk999 ( 846068 )

      Years ago I evaluated PostgreSQL and MySQL for a project and decided to go with PostgreSQL. One reason was that it seemed more solid, which was more important than speed. The other was the funky way that MySQL was being developed - by a single, for-profit company - even though it was formally GPL licensed. Yes, MySQL would probably have worked fine, but the current issues with forking and all that mean that I would not trust it today. The community behind the project is more important than whatever lice

    • 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.

    • Tried it. Didn't work. Because I rely on iterative development, I use "make-it-work" statements a lot and have one master SQL script that I can use to both create a new database or upgrade an existing one (see Evolving A Database With MySQL []). This requires a lot of "IF NOT EXISTS" clauses or "ON CONFLICT" clauses. MySQL features quite a few of them, and I could not find most of them in Postgres. Even the SQL standard MERGE command is not supported.

      Also, with the zillion ways of logging in to a database, I h

  • 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.
    • It's kind of like the people in the lifeboats that can't stop watching the captain of a sinking ship as he continues to cut more holes in the hull to "let the water out".
    • Yeah, that totally makes sense out of why Oracle keep hiring more MySQL devs and putting out new MySQL releases like those MySQL 5.7 previews or that MySQL Cluster 7.3 that had a GA release just yesterday.

      Thanks for clearing that up!

  • 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.


    • What continuously baffles me is that they haven't managed to screw up VirtualBox yet (that I know of, I could be misinformed). Is the project just below the radar?


      • by CAIMLAS ( 41445 )

        But they have messed up VirtualBox: 4.0 was basically 'out the door' when Oracle bought them (it came out something like a month or two later, a rushed release IIRC), and VirtualBox hasn't seen any marked improvements since. It's basically in a 'maintenance' freeze, from what I can see, and long-run bugs which have been around for quite a while are still there. What's more, more seem to be getting introduced (more instability lately, I think).

    • by adolf ( 21054 ) <> on Wednesday June 19, 2013 @02:53AM (#44047041) Journal

      IBM isn't known for dumb moves

      Your memory of IBM differs from my own.

      • Your memory of IBM differs from my own.

        I can't say I've had that much to do with them. HP, on the other hand, I could rant about for a while...

  • This is why you shouldn't work on free software that requires you to hand over your copyright. This includes GNU software as well. Of course the FSF would be ideologically opposed to selling their copyrights to a proprietary software company, but what happens if one day donations dry up and they go bankrupt? Then the purchasers of the assets would be perfectly entitled to relicense your code however they want. Even if a bankrupt FSF tried to sell their assets to free-software-friendly companies, the court w
    • You can always fork GPL code, the GPL license is not revocable by anyone.

    • This is why you shouldn't work on free software that requires you to hand over your copyright. This includes GNU software as well.

      Even where code remains GPL, you have to be a bit careful about selling code. A case in point was Michael Sweet's selling the source for CUPS to Apple. Sure it's still GPL, but the exceptions to link against Apple software have (in some cases) set the clock back for users of Linux and other Unices.

      I had always thought CUPS stood for Common Unix Printing System. I was wrong. Apparently it doesn't stand for anything any more. There was a time when if any printer you bought worked from a Mac, you would be ab

  • Seriously, this is just about perfect proof that Oracle isn't even paying attention to the MySQL community. If they were paying even the smallest iota of attention, they would have realized that changing the license terms on *anything* would be a big deal to the users, who are already a bit hesitant. At the very least, they would have messaged it better - told everyone up-front what they were doing, and *why*. Hell, maybe they actually have a good reason.

    But now, they've lost spin control on their own actio

  • PostgreSQL

    Everyone knows its better and more free. The MySQL lineage needs to die.

    • Legal speak for a generic copyrite disclaimer which references a general agreement to me. What is the big deal? Sure it could say GPL, but this seems like a lawyer pleasing way to say "go read the related agreement" to me. The agreement can still be GPL but now the files just say you are restricted to the agreement.

      GPL restricts use and copyrite is what gives GPL power.

      NOTE: I purposely spell it copyrite.

  • Enough already! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 18, 2013 @11:16PM (#44046015)

    You've been kicking this one back and forth for a decade or more! If you knuckleheads would have used BSD licensed PostgreSQL from the git-go instead of MySQL's crazy now-you-see-me-now-you-don't license you would have freed up so much time and intellectual horsepower that you'd have your fucking flying cars by now.

    Slashdot. It's like herding cats, except cats are cleaner.

  • I already switched to MariaDB, along with Red Hat, Arch Linux, and most everyone else.

    Exactly what happened to open office. We got a working fork, that is what everyone is going to use.

Evolution is a million line computer program falling into place by accident.