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Brian Aker Responds To RMS On Dual Licensing 212

Posted by timothy
from the up-close-and-personal dept.
krow (Brian Aker, long-time MySQL developer) writes "Richard Stallman's comments on the Oracle Acquisition of Sun left me scratching my head over his continued support of closed-source licensing around open source software. Having spent more than a decade in the MySQL community, I feel that his understanding of the dual-license model is limited, and is at odds with his advocacy of free software. For this reason, I believe his recent statements concerning it need to be addressed. By pushing for the right to turn GPL-licensed software into the heart of a proprietary business model, he is squandering an opportunity for advocacy of open source within the European Union."
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Brian Aker Responds To RMS On Dual Licensing

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  • That's a new one (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Jurily (900488) <jurily@noSpAM.gmail.com> on Thursday October 22, 2009 @03:46PM (#29839255)

    Did someone just accuse RMS of supporting commercial licenses anywhere near Free Software?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by nullchar (446050)

      Yeah, apparently as long as [some of?] the source remains GPL, RMS seems okay with dual licensing.

      Stallman's quote:

      This approach was able to provide (1) an attractive platform for developers looking to use FLOSS, and secured MySQL enormous mind share, particularly in supporting content rich web pages and other Internet applications, and (2) the ability for paying clientèle to combine and distribute MySQL in customizations that they do not want to make available to the public as free/libre software unde

      • by nextekcarl (1402899) on Thursday October 22, 2009 @05:16PM (#29840243)

        But, but I though RMS was an insane rambling ideologue who wants all software developers to be homeless? /s

        Flamebait? Trolling? Maybe, but what I'd like to point out is that some people come to hate the person from a single statement attributed to them at some point (regardless of whether they actually said it, or it was taken out of context, etc) that anything they say is automatically hated as well. This is no better than the opposite, worshiping someone such that anything they say is loved without considering the merits. I just wish people would pay attention to why they feel the way they do, rather than just associating the emotion with a person and leaving it at that.

        • by pem (1013437) on Thursday October 22, 2009 @05:39PM (#29840509)
          From http://fsfe.org/projects/gplv3/bangalore-rms-transcript [fsfe.org]

          Audience member: [...] in this new World, and you're talking about GPL going over to the next version, how do you see proprietary software businesses making a profit?

          Richard Stallman: That's unethical, they shouldn't be making any money. I hope to see all proprietary software wiped out. That's what I aim for. That would be a World in which our freedom is respected. A proprietary program is a program that is not free. That is to say, a program that does respect the user's essential rights. That's evil. A proprietary program is part of a predatory scheme where people who don't value their freedom are drawn into giving it up in order to gain some kind of practical convenience. And then once they're there, it's harder and harder to get out. Our goal is to rescue people from this.

          So, I'm an unethical evil person because I make money writing proprietary software. However, it's a requirement that MySQL be sold to a different big evil corporation that doesn't already have a database offering and that can make money off it, else they might not support it.

          Sorry, my brain isn't big enough to hold the cognitive dissonance that is Stallman -- he gives me a headache.

          • by Korin43 (881732) on Thursday October 22, 2009 @06:57PM (#29841229) Homepage
            If I understand him right, it seems that RMS doesn't have a problem with companies selling their software, he has a problem with companies that sell software and refuse to tell people how it works. Or maybe I'm just giving him too much credit.
            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              It's the seeming paradox of the free market at work. To prevent fraud and allow competition, companies have to be transparent. This is required because without adequate information, deception can easily occur. Fraudsters want a black box to hide their deception. Non-fraudsters want a black box to effectively lock out competitors, giving them a monopolistic position. The GPL is an anti-black box, by allowing people to understand how the software works to know whether it's worth the money spent. If copy

          • by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Thursday October 22, 2009 @08:01PM (#29841735) Homepage Journal

            So, I'm an unethical evil person because I make money writing proprietary software.

            He didn't say that, although you could infer it. He said the software was evil. He also talks about Freedom for software, so clearly there's an element of anthropomorphism going on here. Information wants to be free!

            Sorry, my brain isn't big enough to hold the cognitive dissonance that is Stallman -- he gives me a headache.

            Mission accomplished.

            • Umm, no (Score:3, Interesting)

              by pem (1013437)
              Maybe a strict literal reading says the software is evil, but:

              That's unethical, they shouldn't be making any money.

              is a quote directly addressing the proprietary software businesses. (Read the question.)

              Since, for at least part of my life, I was a sole proprietor delivering proprietary software solutions, then, according to Stallman, I was acting unethically.

              I also believe that he said I was evil. I will grant you that, in parsing English grammar properly, he might have said the software was acting

      • Yeah, apparently as long as [some of?] the source remains GPL, RMS seems okay with dual licensing.

        With the GPLv3 and its differential treatment of B2B vs. B2C software, its pretty clear that the FSF has decided to aggressively leverage the GPL's more restrictive nature, compared to other Free licenses, as a way to push business adoption of the GPL over other Free licenses, and a willingness to restructure where those restrictions cut to meet the preferences of big vendors.

        Stallman's praise of the MySQL dual

      • by Jurily (900488)

        (2) the ability for paying clientèle to combine and distribute MySQL in customizations that they do not want to make available to the public as free/libre software under the GPL.

        Umm. Isn't this exactly the reason GPL was born in the first place?

        If you want to modify open code, but not contribute back, you either don't use code under GPL or you don't distribute the modified version. Did they talk this through with all the people whose code was merged under the GPL? There is a reason why FSF could move to GPL3 and why the Linux kernel can't possibly do so.

    • by vagabond_gr (762469) on Thursday October 22, 2009 @07:28PM (#29841483)

      Yes, but I don't think that RMS in his letter actually wanted to promote dual licensing.

      The letter states his opinion on a very specific issue: the acquisition of Sun by Oracle. RMS thinks this is bad for MySQL and one of the reasons is that a source of funding, namely dual licensing, that used to be re-invested in the development of MySQL will probably stop being used that way. The point is that, if Oracle holds the copyright, sells licences, but doesn't give back to the community in terms of development of the GPL version, this will be worse than the current situation. RMS prefers that MySQL stays away from Oracle, this doesn't mean that he likes dual licensing (after all, none of the GNU software is dual licenced).

      The letter was sent to the European Commission in support of blocking the acquisition. It's not the usual RMS speech.

      • after all, none of the GNU software is dual licenced

        I wish they would. It would give them money they could use to fund GNU development. In my experience companies have always chosen to redevelop libraries to work around GPL license issues, rather than GPLing their products.

  • by brennanw (5761) on Thursday October 22, 2009 @04:09PM (#29839505) Homepage Journal

    Ghostview used to have (and may still have) a dual-licensing setup -- the most up-to-date version of Ghostview was under a non-free license that could be purchased by companies that wanted Acrobat support on platforms Adobe wasn't interested in supporting, and the older versions of Ghostview were released under the GPL. I remember RMS commenting on this at the time, and his comment was "I'd rather it be all GPL, but if that's what the creator needs to do in order to support his work so be it."

    Perhaps I misunderstand the article, but I don't see this as a new position or a deviation on RMS' part. I also personally disagree that it's "anti Open Source" -- first, on a pedantic level, RMS would say that the issue had nothing to do with "Open Source," rather it was about "Free Software." ;-) Second, and probably a lot more relevant, if software is licensed under the GPL, then it's licensed under the GPL. You're free to hack on it, distribute it, improve it, modify it, as much as you wish under that license, and any new work you add to that software under that license stays under that license as well. So what exactly are you losing?

    • by christurkel (520220) on Thursday October 22, 2009 @07:11PM (#29841343) Homepage Journal
      People also forget he champions free as in speech software. He's never been anti commercial.
    • by jbn-o (555068) <mail@digitalcitizen.info> on Thursday October 22, 2009 @09:03PM (#29841971) Homepage

      Actually, pointing out why Open Source misses the point of Free Software [gnu.org] isn't pedantic or irrelevant, these differences are real and they explain why RMS takes the position you just pointed out.

      RMS, as you rightly point out, understands that non-free software which eventually becomes free software is significantly better than non-free software that stays non-free forever because the former leads to eventually respecting our software freedom while the other can lead to our loss of software freedom. The open source movement is interested in a development methodology aimed primarily at businesses, not framing issues in terms of user's software freedom. Open source proponents aren't taught to think in terms of user's software freedom. This too can lead to the loss of software freedom. So whenever someone licenses a non-free program, open source advocates have little reason to object despite how that chips away at our freedom (from the aforementioned essay, "This attitude will reward schemes that take away our freedom, leading to its loss."). Free software activists, on the other hand, lament the disrespect for user's freedom which motivates them to support a project to develop a free replacement so that everyone can do that job whilst retaining their software freedom. Finally, as for the GPL: RMS wrote the GPL with user's freedoms in mind. The reason we enjoy the freedoms you champion at the end of your post is precisely because RMS pays attention to all computer user's software freedom. Had he taken an interest in mere development methodology instead, proprietary derivatives might be far more common than they are.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by onefriedrice (1171917)

        The open source movement is interested in a development methodology aimed primarily at businesses, not framing issues in terms of user's software freedom. Open source proponents aren't taught to think in terms of user's software freedom.

        Umm, no. The supposed "Free" software proponents like to try to make this distinction, but unfortunately it's bogus. You think some coder has business in mind as he contributes to Apache projects or zlib/MIT/BSD licensed projects? Haha, right... He has the users of his software in mind (which probably includes himself), and that's not any different than someone who is contributing to GPL software.

        If you want to make a distinction, it's that so-called "open source proponents" realize that businesses m

  • by harlows_monkeys (106428) on Thursday October 22, 2009 @04:15PM (#29839573) Homepage

    Groklaw has an interesting take [groklaw.net] on this, full of conspiracy theories.

    See, for example, this comment [groklaw.net], where PJ is talking about Monty, and says:

    I have come to suspect he's a double agent. And I believe the beneficiary will be Microsoft.

    Wow

    • by DAldredge (2353) <SlashdotEmail@GMail.Com> on Thursday October 22, 2009 @04:26PM (#29839687) Journal
      That is because everything wrong in the world is the fault of Microsoft according to PJ.
    • by Bruce Perens (3872) * <bruce@perens.com> on Thursday October 22, 2009 @04:57PM (#29840045) Homepage Journal

      I met with Monty a few months ago and could not convince him that he could carry out his business although the MySQL server was under the GPL. He appears to be locked into some GPL FUD that MySQL got from a lawyer in service of selling the commercial license even though - IMO - you've never needed one to run the server, just a few of the client libraries.

      So, Monty is now attempting to rebel against the GPL unnecessarily because of this false conclusion.

      Or perhaps his real strategy is to kill the Sun/Oracle MySQL business, leaving him and his company in an advantageous position.

      What makes this doubly strange is that Monty has been paid. Something around USD $100 Million for about 10 years work - a pretty good rate, IMO. Whatever he put into MySQL, he got compensated for. And thus I don't see that he has much moral standing on this issue.

      Bruce

      • by krow (129804) * <brian&tangent,org> on Thursday October 22, 2009 @05:44PM (#29840569) Homepage Journal

        Hi Bruce!

        Please note that I say nothing about the effectiveness of dual licensing as a business model. Pay-day loans exist as a business model, but I do not find that they are healthy for the communities that they exist in.

        Richard is choosing to ignore the overall health of community interaction in order to favor a business model that is in direct conflict with "free software". This is what I find to be sad in his actions.

        The fact that he is squandering his opportunity to further the cause of free/open source is shameful.

        -Brian

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          I've read both the links, and it sure seems like both you and RMS came to exactly the same conclusions. You appear to be disagreeing on the justification of that if I understand it correctly. I'm not trolling, I'm honestly confused, and think that understanding would be enlightening. You appear to be saying: "Oracle should not be allowed to own MySQL" (or at the very least, it's bad for Free Software/Open Source for that to happen). From the open letter RMS signed:

          Defenders of the Oracle acquisition of

        • by krow (129804) *

          Oops, wrong comment to post on.

          Btw I assume you are referring to the non-sense that gpl follows protocol. Notice that with drizzle we have bsd drivers, and that many others drivers exist that are not gpl. The concept that gpl infects via protocol is absurd.

        • by Bruce Perens (3872) * <bruce@perens.com> on Thursday October 22, 2009 @06:08PM (#29840801) Homepage Journal

          Please note that I say nothing about the effectiveness of dual licensing as a business model.

          Hi Brian,

          You do, you just don't couch it in those terms. Many - certainly not all - of us need a business model to justify the production of Open Source software. Certainly that was the case for MySQL AG while Monty and you worked there. I very strongly doubt that you would have been able to operate the company while paying yourselves without the dual licensing paradigm which you and the company espoused at the time.

          So, what you said was:

          Dual licensing is anti-open source.

          Actually, it isn't anti-Open-Source at all. It's pro-proprietary-software. You're confusing the two. It is also pro-Open-Source in that it effectively funds its development.

          I am really scratching my head regarding your moral position here. It's the license model you promoted. You got paid a salary. You produced a work-for-hire and the company had all rights to it. You sold the company, and you got paid again through your stock.

          IMO, what you should do is let Sun and Oracle do what they wish with the ownership of MySQL, as the GPL copy will persist forever and you have freedom to continue its development, and your customers can use that server with their proprietary software without a problem. Sun/Oracle can develop or sink their MySQL version as they like, and we don't care because our version lives on. Ignore politics on a mailing list, everybody has a right to carry it out and you can have another, moderated, list if you don't like it.

          And please stop promoting the FUD that the GPL and Sun's rights block you and are somehow unfair to your business. It doesn't, and isn't, and you've been compensated so far beyond the merely "fair" that your protests sound inappropriate.

          Bruce

          • You do, you just don't couch it in those terms. Many - certainly not all - of us need a business model to justify the production of Open Source software. Certainly that was the case for MySQL AG while Monty and you worked there. I very strongly doubt that you would have been able to operate the company while paying yourselves without the dual licensing paradigm which you and the company espoused at the time.

            Based on...what? There are certainly companies that do business around F/OSS (and even F/OSS database

            • by Bruce Perens (3872) * <bruce@perens.com> on Thursday October 22, 2009 @07:27PM (#29841467) Homepage Journal

              Although many small companies claim to have made money from an Open Source based business, there is no evidence that they actually have because they haven't published their financial information. We have actual evidence that only two companies have made money from an Open Source based business, MySQL, and Red Hat. Thus, MySQL accounts for 50% of the profitable companies that we have proof for.

              • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

                by DragonWriter (970822)

                Although many small companies claim to have made money from an Open Source based business, there is no evidence that they actually have because they haven't published their financial information.

                Published financial information is not the only evidence that a business is making a profit. Simply remaining a going concern for an extended period of time is evidence that the business is making money. OTOH, published financial information is no more than a written claim of facts, which is no different than the cl

                • Well, given the size of the sample I think MuSQL's experience is extremely relevant. They aren't the only way to make money, just a good one.
              • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

                by MichaelSmith (789609)

                AdaCore [adacore.com] is another. Their business model does include dual licensing but for me, their support services are of more value.

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by krow (129804) *

            Hi!

            I am not sure where in histrory you will find that I have ever advocated for dual licence, since it is well known that I do not for work which I personally do (aka if you check you will find that I lean toward BSD).

            Also, I believe people are free to do whatever they like with what they produce. No company doing original work should feel that they have to open source it.

            What I object to is Richard's comments which I find counter to the notion at what is at the center of notion of the gpl. I seem to rememb

            • by Bruce Perens (3872) * <bruce@perens.com> on Thursday October 22, 2009 @09:04PM (#29841983) Homepage Journal

              I do not for work which I personally do (aka if you check you will find that I lean toward BSD).

              Also, I believe people are free to do whatever they like with what they produce.

              Oh come on. You were a company representative for how many years? You promoted MySQL to a great many different communities under the license scheme it had at the time.

              And you're being self-contradictory. If people are free to do whatever they like with what they produce, why isn't the Oracle-Sun partnership free to do what they want with the copyrights that Sun bought?

              What I object to is Richard's comments which I find counter to the notion at what is at the center of notion of the gpl.

              I seem to remember the fsf suggesting once that developers assign copyright to them to block dual license strategies.

              Richard would have much rather that Monty had donated the copyright to FSF 10 years ago. He didn't. He chose to make himself somewhere in excess of 100 Million dollars on the software through selling a dual-licensing company, and now he, through you, is complaining that he shouldn't have been allowed to do that.

              Well, if Monty really thinks so he should get together some other investors and purchase the copyright.

              You are welcome to do whatever you like with whatever you write Bruce, but I wouldn't suggest that other developers contribute their work to you, just so that you can change the license and make a buck off them.

              Don't you realize how hypocritical this sounds? You made USD$1.1 Billion off of them!!!

              Then, you sold the company, fairly, and Monty took a king's ransom in profit, and no doubt Brian took home some cash too.

              I can't see that you have the slightest ethical stance to complain.

              • by krow (129804) *

                Hi!

                So I will repeat myself one more time, you are free to do what you want with what you write.

                I said nothing about what Oracle or Sun should do. I have pointed out that the dual license model is a viable business model.

                What I have said is Richard has squandered an opportunity to address larger questions that exist for free/open source to support a model that is contrary to the promotion of additional open source software.

                I see that you are trying to make some point, but I believe you are doing it at the ex

            • by petrus4 (213815)

              I am not sure where in histrory you will find that I have ever advocated for dual licence, since it is well known that I do not for work which I personally do (aka if you check you will find that I lean toward BSD).

              If MySQL itself had used the BSD license, this particular conflict (as with so many, many others) would not be happening.

              • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                by Bruce Perens (3872) *
                Because they wouldn't have survived very long. And none of us would be using MySQL. Don't you think that's self-defeating?
                • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                  by petrus4 (213815)

                  Because they wouldn't have survived very long. And none of us would be using MySQL. Don't you think that's self-defeating?

                  When you say survived very long; do you mean in economic terms, Bruce?

                  There are a number of large organisations [postgresql.org] of various kinds using PostgreSQL. They also had a new version released earlier this month, too...so apparently finding the resources to continue its' development isn't a problem for them.

                  Although I'm aware that it generally isn't considered socially acceptable to discuss this in Linux-related circles, it is actually possible to make money using BSD licensed software, you know. It seems to be wo

              • by krow (129804) *

                That was never my decision, though I have advocated it.

                It is hard to say what the right solution is. I find it sad to see how in some bsd projects few of the vendors who make use of the software participate in improving the base software. On the same token having a monopoly on source changes seems to also stifle innovation.

                I believe we have yet to achieve the propper balance that will eventually be required.

        • by sco08y (615665)

          Pay-day loans exist as a business model, but I do not find that they are healthy for the communities that they exist in.

          Actually they're far less worse for those communities than the alternative: loan sharks and organized crime. Poor people are poor, not stupid.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Groklaw has an interesting take [groklaw.net] on this, full of conspiracy theories.

      See, for example, this comment [groklaw.net], where PJ is talking about Monty, and says:

      I have come to suspect he's a double agent.
      And I believe the beneficiary will be Microsoft.

      Wow

      Groklaw is turning into the Troofer site for the realm of technology law.

      PJ did great work on shining the light of day on SCO, but damn, Groklaw is turning into the professional athlete that played about a decade too long in a futile search for former glory.

    • by davecb (6526) *

      Groklaw also broke the story that MS is either one of or the complainant, that Monty is part of their (arguably bogus) open-source initiative, and that some of the legal arguing is explicitly anti-GPL.

      As a business, MS has no real reason to complain that Oracle might hurt MySQL. They should be hoping that MySQL is hurt, to the advantage of the MS sql server.

      I read it as an effort to distract the EC and get an easy "out" of some of the penalties that MS faces. Plus get back at Scott for all the unkind t

  • by harmonise (1484057) on Thursday October 22, 2009 @04:20PM (#29839635)

    By pushing for the right to turn GPL-licensed software into the heart of a proprietary business model, he is squandering an opportunity for advocacy of open source within the European Union.

    RMS could not care less about open source. He only cares about free software. There's a difference and he will go to great pains to point out the difference if you engage him using the term "open source." If you are going to respond to him, the least you can do is use the terminology correctly. Otherwise he'll interpret what you say differently than what you probably meant.

    • by vertinox (846076) on Thursday October 22, 2009 @04:54PM (#29840015)

      RMS could not care less about open source. He only cares about free software.

      Well yeah... What is the use of have access to the source code when the license forbids you to modify it?

      That's the different between Open Source Software and Free Open Source Software. I mean Microsoft releases source code to 3rd parties all the time but the strings attached to the code are pretty brutal.

      • MS-PL is pretty nice though... But most of their "Shared Source" is far from MS-PL.

      • That's the different between Open Source Software and Free Open Source Software

        I don't know what dictionary you're getting your definition of open source from; but I take it you're not using http://www.opensource.org/docs/osd [opensource.org]. It says

        The license must allow modifications and derived works, and must allow them to be distributed under the same terms as the license of the original software.

    • RMS could not care less about open source. He only cares about free software. There's a difference and he will go to great pains to point out the difference if you engage him using the term "open source." If you are going to respond to him, the least you can do is use the terminology correctly. Otherwise he'll interpret what you say differently than what you probably meant.

      That's right. Keep bringing this up. Keep treating it as important. The corporations that you're so paranoid about, love it when you do...because it means that while you're busy arguing about this, you're not providing them with any consistent form of opposition instead.

      But then again, what am I saying? If you were one of the people who were actually helping Linux get somewhere, you wouldn't be on Slashdot.

      Oops, I forgot to use the term, "GNU/Linux," as well. You'd better remind me not to do that next

  • by harlows_monkeys (106428) on Thursday October 22, 2009 @04:29PM (#29839721) Homepage

    The letter from Stallman and the others discussed two ways in which forking MySQL would be hard. One was because it is under GPLv2 without the "or later" option, so cannot mix with GPLv3 code. That a pretty irrelevant point, though, because the problem lies entirely with GPLv3's lack of compatibility wity other free licenses, such as GPLv2.

    The other problem the letter mentions, though, has nothing to do with GPLv3 vs GPLv2. Here is how they describe the problem. I'll include the GPLv3 argument for completeness:

    Defenders of the Oracle acquisition of its competitor naively say Oracle cannot harm MySQL, because a free version of the software is available to anyone under GNU GPL version 2.0, and if Oracle is not a good host for the GPL version of the code, future development will be taken up by other businesses and individual programmers, who could freely and easily "fork" the GPL'd code into a new platform. This defense fails for the reasons that follow.

    MySQL uses the parallel licensing approach to generate revenue to continue the FLOSS development of the software. If Oracle acquired MySQL, it would then be the only entity able to release the code other than under the GPL. Oracle would not be obligated to diligently sell or reasonably price the MySQL commercial licenses. More importantly, Oracle is under no obligation to use the revenues from these licenses to advance MySQL. In making decisions in these matters, Oracle is facing an obvious conflict of interest – the continued development of a powerful, feature rich free alternative to its core product.

    As only the original rights holder can sell commercial licenses, no new forked version of the code will have the ability to practice the parallel licensing approach, and will not easily generate the resources to support continued development of the MySQL platform.

    The acquisition of MySQL by Oracle will be a major setback to the development of a FLOSS database platform, potentially alienating and dispersing MySQL's core community of developers. It could take several years before another database platform could rival the progress and opportunities now available to MySQL, because it will take time before any of them attract and cultivate a large enough team of developers and achieve a similar customer base.

    Yet another way in which Oracle will have the ability to determine the forking of MySQL relates to the evolution of the GNU GPL license. GPL version 2.0 (GPLv2) and GPL version 3.0 (GPLv3) are different licenses and each requires that any modified program carry the same license as the original. There are fundamental and unavoidable legal obstacles to combining code from programs licensed under the different GPL versions. Today MySQL is only available to the public under GPLv2.

    Many other FLOSS software projects are expected to move to GPLv3, often automatically due to the common use of the "any later version" clause. Because the current MySQL license lacks that clause, it will remain GPLv2 only and it will not be possible to combine its code with the code of many GPLv3- covered projects in the future. Given that forking of the MySQL code base will be particularly dependent on FLOSS community contributions - more so than on in-company development - the lack of a more flexible license for MySQL will present considerable barriers to a new forked development path for MySQL.

    I'm assuming that hell has frozen over, because the first argument is that forking won't work because the GPL does not let the forker use the dual licensing model to make money, and that letter [keionline.org] is signed by Stallman.

    • One was because it is under GPLv2 without the "or later" option, so cannot mix with GPLv3 code. That a pretty irrelevant point, though, because the problem lies entirely with GPLv3's lack of compatibility wity other free licenses, such as GPLv2.

      in what way does that make the point irrelevant? the problem still exists. just because you see a way of apportioning blame does not make the problem go away.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        It's irrelevant because the same objection could be raised for any pair of incompatible license. E.g., if MySQL were under GPLv3, you could object that a fork could not bring code that is GPLv2-only. There is a plenty of free software under GPLv2, and other free non-GPL licenses, that can be used with a forked MySQL.

        In fact, most, if not all, significant open source databases are under licenses that, if compatible with GPLv3, are also compatible with GPLv2, and these are the most likely outside places code

  • by Bruce Perens (3872) * <bruce@perens.com> on Thursday October 22, 2009 @04:30PM (#29839733) Homepage Journal

    Some of us would like to be able to support our development of Free Software directly through the software. Many of us support ourselves in other ways and don't care about this. But for those who want to get the support from the software, dual-licensing is a good way to do it.

    It satisfies the folks who don't like the GPL, because it gives them a different set of rights in exchange for some cash. Both the contributions by other developers who follow the GPL and cash are ways of providing a quid-pro-quo for the original developer.

    What it doesn't satisfy is the folks who want a free ride instead of Free Software, because you have to pay for a commercial license. And IMO that strikes a good balance.

    Even RMS sees this. I think Brian's accusing him of being too moderate. :-)

    Bruce

    • What it doesn't satisfy is the folks who want a free ride instead of Free Software, because you have to pay for a commercial license.

      Dual licensing under the GPL also doesn't satisfy the folks who want to maximize the primary benefit to software users of F/OSS: the guarantee that no matter what the copyright owner, original vendor, or any other single market actor does, maintenance and further development to meet the users evolving need will be viable for either the user's organization itself or third part

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Bruce Perens (3872) *
        Yes. And this applies entirely to the MySQL server, and a TCP/IP client of that server is not a derivative work. So, I think that Monty's confused about the GPL and the MySQL server. Now, he could have a valid point regarding some MySQL client libraries, but IMO they are very easily replaced and appropriately-licensed replacements already exist.
      • by Chirs (87576)

        If the copyright holder chooses to license the software under a different license to a third party, the GPL'd code is still freely available under the terms of the GPL.

        If the licensee then makes some modifications, they may choose to keep them proprietary. This only directly impacts those that use the modified version of the code.

        The viability of the GPL'd version is in no way impacted by changes to the proprietary version. Everyone still has all the rights that they did before--it's just that the proprie

    • by krow (129804) *

      Hi Bruce!

      Please note that I say nothing about the effectiveness of dual licensing as a business model. Pay-day loans exist as a business model, but I do not find that they are healthy for the communities that they exist in.

      Richard is choosing to ignore the overall health of community interaction in order to favor a business model that is in direct conflict with "free software". This is what I find to be sad in his actions.

      The fact that he is squandering his opportunity to further the cause of free/open sour

      • Please note that I say nothing about the effectiveness of dual licensing as a business model.

        Hi Brian,

        You do, you just don't couch it in those terms. Many - certainly not all - of us need a business model to justify the production of Open Source software. Certainly that was the case for MySQL AG while Monty and you worked there. I very strongly doubt that you would have been able to operate the company while paying yourselves without the dual licensing paradigm which you and the company espoused at the

  • If I'm the author of a GPLed piece of software I still own the software I wrote so I can decide to make a closed source fork. Did I get it wrong? If I got it right, dual licensing is a pretty normal consequence of my ownership of the code. The only way to prevent it would be to surrender the ownership of the code, but if I don't own it, how can I license it? Without an owner the code would be in the public domain where anybody can take it and use it for closed source projects. So what's the way out? Maybe a
    • by selven (1556643)

      To prevent dual licensing, you can:
      1) Give the copyright to someone else
      2) Release it into the public domain
      3) Release it under the BSD license, so even if you dual license it everyone will simply sue the BSD version

    • If different parts of the code are copyrighted by different contributors (like the Linux kernel) then any particular contributor cannot dual-license.

  • open source? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Jessta (666101) on Thursday October 22, 2009 @07:19PM (#29841403) Homepage

    By pushing for the right to turn GPL-licensed software into the heart of a proprietary business model, he is squandering an opportunity for advocacy of open source within the European Union.

    umm...RMS doesn't advocate Open Source. RMS advocates Free Software

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