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MySQL.com vs. MySQL.org? 226

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the you-gotta-be-kidding-me dept.
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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MySQL.com vs. MySQL.org?

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    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.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    strcmp("MySQL", "MySQL) returns 0

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

  • by Anonymous Coward
    if you have to click, it's not free.

    blah blah blah
  • Basically MySQL AB have removed all of thier press releases about Gemini.

    But the gist of their exemption was that for providing the code Gemini was excluded from the terms while it was still a unsupported fork in codebase, under the understanding that gemini would be part of the forthcomming MySQL v4 trunk codebase.

    Since NuSphere formed in June 2000, its development team has been working on "Gemini," the company's code name for the development work that now adds a robust transactional storage engine, providing row-level locking to MySQL. The release of Gemini is being issued in accordance with the General Public License (GPL).

    "We're convinced that NuSphere will play an important role in the future of MySQL," said Michael "Monty" Widenius, chief technology officer of MySQL AB. "Their contribution will provide an enhancement that is often requested, and much needed. Gemini is another example of NuSphere's commitment to MySQL and the entire open source community."

    "NuSphere's initiative to see a row-level locking capability added to the MySQL database should attract an entirely new group of end users," said Wayne Kernochan, managing vice president, Platform/Infrastructure Solutions, Aberdeen Group, Inc. "Until now, this popular open source database has been mainly restricted to Web content management. With row-level locking, MySQL will be able to substantially increase its business value."

    Nusphere's own press releases shed more light on the matter.
    http://www.nusphere.com/releases/013001.htm
    http://www.nusphere.com/releases/103000.htm, this press release for what ever reason has been removed from mysql.com, but its still in googles cache
    Doh!!
    NuSphere announces contribution of Row-level locking to MySQL database [google.com] & then NuSphere Ships It's First Open Source Database Distribution [google.com]
    http://www.nusphere.com/releases/062800.htm

    What ever the /. community thinks as a whole there is something pretty strange with removing press releases.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Progress software corp/nusphere donated $2.5million (USD) to MySQL AB
  • Uhh, where in there or the press release does it say NuSphere has an exception? if it's there I'm missing it...

    ---
  • Yeah. So slow Sourceforge runs faster.

  • Caveman said: >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.

    Hmmm. Then I guess you have a problem with Slashdot? Or do you hide your head in the sand and just read it at slashdot.com instead? chuckle...

  • 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?

    It's way past too late for that :) (most slashdot users are already confused beyond all hope).

  • Posted by polar_bear:

    Is it? I can't honestly say I've read the Artistic License in the last few years. I think I browsed it once a long time ago, but it's been too long for me to recall.

    This was just something that came up when I was working for a Linux company and evil business types started infiltrating the company looking to "develop" GPL'ed software and trying to convince developers to switch licenses b/c the management couldn't conceive of a way to make money without proprietary licensing.

    Frankly, I think that MS, for instance, could still make a killing with Windows and Office even if they were GPL'ed just by enforcing the trademark. Most people are still going to go ahead and pay for software to get a brand they feel they can trust. Sure, the majority of Slashdotters are willing to download and tweak code - but slashdotters are a very insignificant minority when it comes to software sales. Companies would still be willing to pay Microsoft for "support" and OEMs would be willing to pay (lesser) fees to have branded Microsoft Windows. Look at what happened with MS-DOS and other versions - consumers weren't willing to take the chance on "off-brands" of DOS.
  • by gavinhall (33) on Thursday July 12, 2001 @07:23AM (#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.
  • When sap-db, Postgres, and Interbase are open and (mostly) ANSI SQL 92-compliant, isn't it time for the MySQL community to take the hint?

    Sybase 11.0.3.3 has also been free on Linux for a very long time. MySQL has yet to catch up to this level of functionality, and yet I still know people who swear by MySQL.

    I'm not up on this issue, but it seems to me that MySQL is in the midst of an angry code-fork.

    Folks, it's time to switch.

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

  • 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".

    --

  • There are two problems with NuSphere's version of MySQL. The first is the trademark violation, and the second is the fact that they are distributing a proprietary extension statically linked to a GPLed product. Both of these actions are illegal, immoral, and contrary to what most Free Software advocates believe is the right thing to do.

    If NuSphere took the source code from MySQL and released it as NuSQL (or something), and they released the source code to the Gemini extensions, then that would be a horse of a different color, and I personally wouldn't have a problem with their actions.

    One of the Freedoms that Free Software advocates are fighting for is the right to fork the source code. This happens fairly often, and it is considered good form to rename the new project. In the case of a trademark dispute, it is not only good form, it is legally imperative. No one in the Free Software world gets excited about the Emacs/XEmacs split, or the Samba/Samba TNG split, or the now rectified gcc/egcs split. Individual developers might root for one side or the other, but that's about competition, and not disgust.

    What NuSphere has done is illegal and disgusting. Pretending to cover over their greed with statements about the "community" is ridiculous at best. If they cared about the Free Software community they would follow the GPL and release their source code. If they had an ounce of integrity they would follow Free Software "tradition" and rename their project when they forked it. The fact that MySQL AB has to go to court to push the folks at NuSphere into doing what's right (and legally necessary) simply shows how far removed NuSphere is from the rest of the community.

  • In order to register as a ".org", an organization must meet certain criteria.
    Is that still true? I know that such restrictions on TLDs have eroded over time as they proved unenforcable.

    AFAIK there has never been such restriction. See RFC 1591 [faqs.org]:

    "ORG - This domain is intended as the miscellaneous TLD for organizations that didn't fit anywhere else. Some non-government organizations may fit here."

    In other words, "the TLD for the rest of us".

  • You have to keep in mind what RMS said. He said that you shouldn't have an opinion on "Intellectual Property", because the issues that occur on patents, copyrights, and trademarks are so varied. Instead you should discuss the merits/weaknesses of each individually. Trying to batch them together confuses the issue.

    The reason for free software is freedom for the user. Trademarks do not really restrict user freedom. The idea of trademarks actually benefit the consumer in a meaningful way - they get to know who is giving them a product. Let's say a user is happy with the service RedHat does. Let's say another company calls itself RedHat, and starts marketing to you. How are you, the customer, supposed to know that its a different company? Let's say you are used to RedHat's quality of service, and then buy an enterprise product from the "fake" RedHat for a mission-critical piece of software. Something goes wrong, you call the number. This time, instead of getting the service you're used to, you get crap, because you went with a crap company masquerading as the real deal.

    Trademarks are important. There are some abuses of trademark law, but all-in-all its a good thing (tm).

  • Actually, with write-ahead logging (found in 7.1) PostgreSQL is very, very fast.
  • 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.

  • "MySQL" is a wholly made-up name

    Well, yeah, except for that SQL part.

  • Yeah, but Structured Query Language is a little more generic than say Texaco or Kleenex or even Pascal.
  • 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.
  • > "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.

  • > 5. We do not endores forks, but we acknowledge
    > that they are not illegal per se.

    You need to acknowledge that forks are not illegal or wrong at all. The fact that you even make this comment speaks volumes about your company's attitude.

    MySQL AB may be an "open source" company but they certainly aren't a Free Software company.

  • NuSphere didn't decide to call their release of MySQL "MySQL". They decided to call id "NuSphere MySQL". There is a long tradition of this kind of naming of forks in the Free Software world.

    • Emacs -> Lucid Emacs -> X Emacs
    • Samba -> Samba TNG

    etc etc etc

  • From WordNet (r) 1.6 [wn]:

    hypocrisy n 1: an expression of agreement that is not supported by real conviction [syn: {lip service}] 2: insincerity by virtue of pretending to have qualities or beliefs that you do not really have

    It seems pretty clear to me that unless Cmdr. Taco uses Open Source, he is in danger of having his opinions disregarded. And his site disregarded.

  • 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

    ----
  • I wasn't one of them. :-) I thought Illustrator was kinda genericish, but still worthy of enough trademark protection that KIllustrator should change its name. I was rather upset when Adobe was threatening to call out the legal dogs of war on them, but that appears to have been a mistake.

    I do think the case of mysql.com vs. mysql.org is worse. Though they appear to have a prior business relationship. I think mysql.org loses its right to the name when mysql.com decides to sever the relationship.

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

    ---

  • by JabberWokky (19442) <slashdot.com@timewarp.org> on Thursday July 12, 2001 @08:02AM (#89700) Homepage Journal
    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

  • This reminds me of the entire Gallagher lawsuit. His brother, whose last name is Gallagher, starts performaing as "Gallagher". While he actually had a legal right to use the name, he did not make the audience aware that he was not "The Gallagher".

    From looking at both websites, I would not be able to tell which was the "actual" site. (Except the big "We're suing someone" on the .com site) This is totally not cool.

    To use the slashcode analogy, don't even think of it as selling code, etc... It would be as if someone added new features to slashcode, set up slashdot.com, and started reporting news.

    This is not as much about IP as it is about false and misleading buisness practices that could lead to problems for MySQL. If NuSphere published litigiously incorrect or defamatory information, offended the community, etc..., MySQL.com would be tarnished. Since there is no indication the MySQL.com has no relation to MySQL, MySQL AB could bear the brunt of NuSphere's mistakes.

    What if it was Slashdot.com, news for racists, stuff that matters. Alot of people would be suprised when they forgot the "entire" URL you gave them. (Hmmm, Dave sent me to a slashcode based white racist group newsbank.... OOOH! Swasticka screen savers!)

    This is the same as someone using Nabisco.org to sell porn. Judges have also backed this up in real world situations: Remember 1-800-flowers?? Someone else had 1-800-fl0wers... That's a zero. It was ruled trademark dilution and cease and desist orders were handed out.

    I'm all for it....
    ~Hammy
    "The reason I don't practice what I preach, is that I am not the kind of person I'm preaching to."
    ~BOB
  • OK, maybe I should not talk because I do think that kIllustrator should probably change its name.

    However...

    I think your point is nevertheless off base for the following reason:

    1. This is not about "dilution of trademark", it's plainly stealing the trademark. These people are not even changing any part of the name. It's not kMySQL.org or MySQL2.org or anything like that. It's just plain MySQL.org

    2. Since we all know how the TLDs are desperately broken, we realize that this would in fact confuse the users into believing that it is the official website of MySQL. You see most users just expect all trademark owners to own all the domain name for their trademarks in all TLDs. i.e.: coca-cola.org redirects to coca-cola.com (and it does), etc etc. Now, MySQL apparently did not do that (wonder why, $35/year is pretty cheap). Think of it this way: if pepsi had registered coca-cola.org and sold its stuff on it, do you think that coca-cola would have been wrong to sue?? I don't think so.

  • With appologies for being ever-so slightly off-topic, can someone explain the "Gemini table type"?
  • Well, thank you for pointing out the errors in my argument. I really do appreciate the corrections.

    I did mean to say "date of registration of the trademark" and not "date of incorporation". I should have been more careful.

    I didn't take into account the arbitrary-ness of the name "Foogiston" or "Foog!", though. Thanks for adding that.

    I guess I should have prefaced all of this with a IANAL disclaimer.
  • by Masker (25119) on Thursday July 12, 2001 @09:00AM (#89708)
    I'm sorry, but I think that you're argument is incorrect. You're first assumption is bad, IMHO: you are not, in fact, defending your trademark by registering only the *.mysql.com domain name. Let's look at examples from another namespace, corporation names.

    Example 1:
    Company Foogiston, Inc. was incorporated in 1998 and makes Foogiston (TM) brand floogle-binders. Then, another company is incorporated in 2001 as Foogiston Systems, Ltd. and they make Foogiston Ltd. (TM) floogle-binders. Foogiston, Inc. is obviously upset, since it is very easy to confuse the two names and products. Foogiston, Inc. sues Foogiston Systems, Ltd. over the trademark, and probably wins, since they were incorporated first.

    Example 2:
    Foogiston, Inc. is incorporated in 1998 and makes Foogiston (TM) brand floogle-binders. Foogiston Systems, Ltd. is incorporated in 2001 and makes a software product called Foog! (TM). Since the companies have no common product, can Foogiston, Inc. sue Foogiston Systems, Ltd.? I don't think they'd win any such law suit, because they can't show that their floogle-binder product is hurt by the similar names. There's no material damage.

    Example 3 (bringing it back to domains):
    Foogiston, Inc. is a publishing house that prints Foog Magazine (TM), was incorporated in 1998, and has registered www.foog.com, www.foogmagazine.com (pointer to www.foog.com) and www.foogiston.com (the corporate website). Bill Whiteguy registers an online 'zine called www.foog-zine.net. Can Foogiston, Inc. sue Mr. Whiteguy because for trademark infringement? You bet they can, because it is a similar product (website content) that bears a striking resemblance to Foogiston, Inc.'s product (online offering of magazine content) in product and name. This has happened many times, both justified and not.

    The difference here is that MySQL.org is selling a slightly different version of the MySQL.com product. This is even worse than the above scenarios, becuase it is not only likely, but inevitable that someone (how many pointy-haireds are out there?) will confuse these products because of the strong similarities in the products AND the names.

    For MySQL AB to protect their trademark, they need to ask NuSphere to not use their trademarked name in a confusing and (what they most likely consider) abusive manner. Just like I can't set up Foogiston Systems, Ltd. and make Foogiston Ltd. flooglebinders, MySQL AB shouldn't let NuSphere sell a modified version of their GPL'd software from the mysql.org website.

    The issue with gTLDs being useful in that "different entitiees with the same name can have a domain with their name in it" doesn't hold when similar, or in this case nearly the same, product is being sold. I won't address the rest of your remarks, because I feel that your whole argument is flawed as shown above.
  • by Masker (25119) on Thursday July 12, 2001 @07:17AM (#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.
  • by 12dec0de (26853) on Thursday July 12, 2001 @08:00AM (#89710) Homepage
    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?

  • 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.

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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
  • (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.)
  • 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.

  • by brianvan (42539) on Thursday July 12, 2001 @07:08AM (#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?
  • The problem is the website. It looks like the average free software website, and if I didn't know better, I'd think it was the official MySQL site. I think a footer of "not affiliated with MySQL AB, the creators of MySQL" would have been fine.
    ------
  • The GPL is very clear that you may distribute others' code, but alos that you must clearly maintain the copyrights thereon. This has nothing to do with trademark law, which allows MySQL AB to complain that someone else is using their trademark and not being clear about who they are. If it were a normal individual or group thereof operating mysql.org similarly to qmail.org or djbdns.org (both non-official sites), then it would be different. As it is, mysql.org is operated by a competitor and MySQL is required to defend their trademarks to maintain them. cf. the old stories about Linus trademarking Linux.
  • Also note the Support Page [mysql.org] at MySQL.org -- it lists the companies offering support in alphabetical order which of course puts Abriasoft at the top, not MySQL AB. I haven't ever taken a look at the NuSphere version of MySQL, but if it comes without the source to any modifications they made to MySQL, then it would be in violation of the GPL, not just trademark law. If its clearly distributed (as it is on the mysql.org downloads page) as NuSphere MySQL, then it shouldn't be a problem.

  • MySQL.org clearly violates 15 USC 1125(d) , specifically 1125 (d)(1)(A)(ii)(I) . Using a domain name of someone else's trademark was made illegal by the Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act [earthlink.net] of 1999.

    It also appears that MySQL.org is clearly violating the GPL by distributing a modified version without source code for the mods.
  • by AugstWest (79042) on Thursday July 12, 2001 @08:13AM (#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?
  • Maybe one of these two companies should work on bringing MySql up to the feature level of PostregSql.... It boggles the mind.
  • 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.
  • by jerkychew (80913) on Thursday July 12, 2001 @07:34AM (#89735) Homepage
    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.
  • by szcx (81006)
    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?

  • 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.
    --
  • 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.

  • Geekaustin.com deletes posts. they are based on the slash code, not the slash philosophy.

    You mean Geekaustin actually has editorial standards? Maybe I should bookmark it...

  • And since when did we start handing out Score: 4's every time someone just repeated what was written further up the page?

    Have you ever been to Slashdot? You should try it sometime.

  • by Christianfreak (100697) on Thursday July 12, 2001 @07:31AM (#89757) Homepage Journal
    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

  • by ClarkEvans (102211) on Thursday July 12, 2001 @07:31AM (#89760) Homepage
    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.

  • Well, I don't think that a view of Trademark good, other IP bad is particularly inconsistent. I like to think about it in terms of how it benefits consumers:

    Trademarks help companies distinguish real products (ie, physical goods) from each other, which gives the consumer more accurate information about what product she is buying. This is good. Optimally, all trademarks would equally well describe the product in question, so that ownership of one doesn't give a company an advantage. (This isn't true in practice, but it seems there are plenty of "good names" left).

    Similarly, "ownership" of ones password or credit card number is justifiable; the information has no real value aside from it being private.

    Ownership of other kinds of information typically does not help the consumer. If a corporation "owns" a song, I can't share it with my friends, even if there's no way they could even detect that I did such a thing. etc. etc. You've heard all the arguments here.

    For the most part, I agree with your post. Lots of wannabe free software kids have a tough time giving back, particularly when someone else steals their thunder (viz: even RMS!). I think there is a lot of hipocrisy in the community. The press release is totally immature. But that doesn't mean that there isn't a sensible argument in there, somewhere.
  • 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.

    Just because he's an Open Source advocate (and rather vocal one at that) doesn't mean he should use what he views as inferior products to run his site.
    If he chooses a closed-source solution to better run his website, who are you to complain?

  • by sommere (105088) on Thursday July 12, 2001 @07:20AM (#89764) Homepage
    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....

    ---

  • 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.
  • 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]
  • 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

  • Right on the front page they even have:...

    If I go and register "www.disney.org" then provide a link over to the .com site, it's still every bit as much of a trademark violation. Disney spent a lot of time, money, and energy to present that name in a certain light, and trademarking it is what protects it.

    This is outright wrong of them - they are just being bullies here

    Trademark demands that you act as a bully. If you don't defend it, you lose it. Many of the rules involving trademark are wildly different then copyright. In my Disney example, if they didn't come after me hard and fast to give up the hypothetical disney.org site, they risk losing their trademark altogether.

    This only becomes a copyright issue if NuSphere doesn't release the code they've added to their propietary product built on top of the GPL'd MySQL. One thing that's interesting here is that NuSphere is dodging this point by promising to release at some future date. This is LONG after they've been selling this code on the street. From a legal standpoint I wonder how long you can just promise to release before you're in actual violation of the GPL?

    Lastly, NuSphere supposedly started up this site because they didn't like how MySQL's folks ran their development. Well, if they didn't like it, why are they still using the name MySQL? The reason is simple, and it's why we have trademark protection. NuSphere is utilizing the MySQL name to ride on top of it's good reputation that's taken years to build up. If they just named it "NuSphere's Database Hack", it would also take them years to develop a worthy reputation.

    NuSphere is WAY in the wrong on this one. They know it too. They're just hoping their lawyers talk prettier then MySQL's lawyers.
  • Does Linus hold the TM on Linux?

    Someone might want to correct me here in the details. Yes, Linus owns the trademark to Linux. I believe that someone else (MadDog?) actually keeps tabs on it's use.

    Are Linux.com, .org, and .net, which all lead to diferent sites, in violation of that trademark?

    Only if they are using the name without permission. It's probably fair to assume that the owners of those sites have been granted this permission. It is perfectly okay to use someone else's trademark, so long as there has been some agreement reached in it's use.

    If everyone can use Linux in the Name of their distro, can everyone also use Mysql in theirs?

    No. A trademark owner can set up rules and guidelines on how their trademark may be legally used without having to explicitly grant permission. If Linus set up some provision which stated that it was perfectly okay for someone to use the name "Linux" for an operating system based on a certain kernel, or other criteria, then it's all cool.

    For example, if you were to develop "Pete's Linux" which actually used the FreeBSD kernel underneath, then you might run under a trademark violation. If on the other hand this distro met the guidelines for the Linux name, such as actually using the Linux kernel, then everything is legit and legal.

    As the owner of a trademark, you get to set up rules in how it will be used. If MySQL AB didn't allow for some other company to come in and use their trademark without their permission, it is very much a violation.
  • That's why a lot of us like the BSD license more than the GPL and it's "free software" variations.

    Even if MySQL had been released under the BSD license, you'd still have a nasty trademark dispute. Copyright license does not impact in any way tradmark.
  • 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.
  • 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).

  • What this smells like to me is an attempt by MySQL AB to shut down some competition

    It is really competition if they are distributing YOUR product? I think your argument might be valid if the website was run by somebody like Oracle, but NuSphere is simply talking AB's product and marketing it. This is not a bad thing per se, but it is a bad thing if the site makes people think that they are the producers of said software. One of the major sticking points in most trademark cases is whether the infrigment causes consumers to be confused. I think in this case it does, and I think MySQL AB has a solid case.


    Enigma

  • MySQL should have registered...

    While MySQL is relatively distinctive, there are a number of cases where the mass-registration serves to make the entire domain system more of a mess. For example, the trademarked named for the company where I work happens to also be a not uncommon surname. I don't think there would be any object or confusion if someone with that surname were to register the corresponding .org and use it as their family vanity domain. If, on the other hand, one of our competitors were to register it and point it at their own site, it'd be an entirely different matter -- they'd be attempting to actively exploit confusion with our name in order to make a profit.

    Similarly, I got screwed out of a vanity domain that I wanted. I had decided SSMH (for Syrian State Mental Hospital, something mentioned once in the H2G2 series) would make a nice, short, memorable domain. Unfortunately, the South Shore Mental Health Center wasn't content with just ssmhc.org. Instead, they felt compelled to grab ssmh.com, ssmh.net, and ssmh.org, as well. I suppose I could've always gone with a registration in one of the ccTLDs, but the .us domain (which corresponds to where I live) is a mess, and I refuse to help subsidize countries that've decided to whore out their domain space. Given a choice, I would vote to declare war on the Cocos Islands.

  • by CyberKnet (184349) <slashdot AT cyberknet DOT net> on Thursday July 12, 2001 @07:32AM (#89793) Homepage Journal
    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.

    ---
  • 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.
  • 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.

  • by bbh (210459) on Thursday July 12, 2001 @07:33AM (#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
  • by update() (217397) on Thursday July 12, 2001 @07:23AM (#89800) Homepage
    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.

  • Yes, and so what? We already HAVE a TLD for businesses - .com. So why should a site that is already covered by another TLD use the fall-back catch-all?
  • by unformed (225214) on Thursday July 12, 2001 @07:37AM (#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...
  • I can't figure this out - just two days ago everyone was saying how right Adobe were for seeking to protect their trademark on the word Illustrator which they stole from all the English speaking people of the world - now because it's an open source company trying to protect it's name (BTW MySQL is not a dictionary word) it's suddenly bad.

    Actually, what I can't figure out is how just the other day everyone was jumping on Adobe for trying to protect their trademark, and now because it's an open source company trying to do the same thing, everyone says it's OK.

  • 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.

  • 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].
  • by Calle Ballz (238584) on Thursday July 12, 2001 @07:11AM (#89812) Homepage
    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).
  • 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.
  • by cavemanf16 (303184) on Thursday July 12, 2001 @07:18AM (#89821) Homepage Journal
    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.

  • When it all started: .MIL = military. .EDU = education. .COM = commercial. .GOV = government. .NET = network infrastructure. .ORG = everything else. Not "non-profit", just everything else.

    .MIL is unavailable to the public. .EDU is unavailable to the public. .GOV is unavailable to the public. Those domains are tightly controlled and for the most part stick to their original charter.

    .COM, .NET, and .ORG are available to the public, and have been "misused" since almost the very beginning of the internet. Get over it.

    Personally, I think General Motors should only be allowed gm.com and not be allowed to have buick.com, chevy.com, oldsmobile.com, etc. But that's my bias and I had to get over it, too. We all adapt or we die.

  • 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.
    Huh? You just told him both that it was a misconception, and that it's right. Look at what you said: if .org is intended for domains that don't qualify for other domains, and commercial entities qualify for .com, then .org is not intended for commercial entities. Of course, things have changed since 1984 (Obligatory karma-whore RFC link [faqs.org]).

    You're wrong, and I agree with you!

  • The argument against Adobe was that Illustrator was a generic name that can legitimately apply to all programs designed for creating illustrations. The issue wouldn't have arisen over, say, Acrobat, which clearly is not a generic.

    If someone had created a front-end to Ghostscript to show PDFs, and had called it KAcrobat, they'd have not have been defended in the same way as the KIllustrator people were. Adobe would have had a legitimate case against the KAcrobat people.

    In this case, MySQL is a made up name, it's not a generic name that could be used to describe any database package. Therefore the comparison is invalid.

    FWIW, Adobe didn't sue anyone. Lawyers working independently of Adobe decided to perform some sort of civil "citizens arrest" that only the peculiarities of German law can explain. This was explained in the second of the two KIllustrator threads, and you might find it worth your while reading those threads, to both educate you on what was happening, and to actually determine what arguments people were using.
    --

  • In order to register as a ".org", an organization must meet certain criteria.

    Is that still true? I know that such restrictions on TLDs have eroded over time as they proved unenforcable.
  • by melquiades (314628) on Thursday July 12, 2001 @07:39AM (#89835) Homepage
    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.
  • 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.

  • by s20451 (410424) on Thursday July 12, 2001 @07:42AM (#89846) Journal

    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.

  • by GreyPoopon (411036) <gpooponNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Thursday July 12, 2001 @07:31AM (#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
    --

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.
  • There is definitely a GPL issue just as you describe. In one of their products, NuSphere links their Gemini module statically to MySQL without publshing the source code for Gemini under GPL as they should.

    But that product is not on the mysql.org site, and that's why this issue is not mentioned in our press release about mysql.org.

    -Marten Mickos, MySQL AB
  • by martenmickos (467191) on Thursday July 12, 2001 @08:20AM (#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
  • by martenmickos (467191) on Thursday July 12, 2001 @01:11PM (#89872)
    We have tried to get a partnership up and running with NuSphere, because we were enthused by the plans they had. But they did not live up the interim agreement we had, they used our trademark beyond what was agreed, and they didn't put Gemini under GPL as planned.

    We don't mind competition or websites focusing on our product, but we do mind wrongful use of our trademark and other rights. They never mentioned to us that they were launching the mysql.org site.
    Our business model is based on partnerships, and we are getting new partners every day, and we don't see them as "the competition".
    -Marten Mickos, MySQL AB

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