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back to article Google sniffs at MySQL fork MariaDB: Yum. Have an engineer

Search giant Google has put its support behind an independent fork of MySQL, the famed open-source database that was gulped down by software giant Oracle when it acquired Sun Microsystems. The Chocolate Factory has sent an engineer to the MariaDB Foundation, which looks after the fork's codebase, community and ecosystem, and has …

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MySQL's licensing policy puts it under both a GPL (for devs) and a "commercial licence" for businesses, which will need to pay a fee to Oracle.

...which is pretty much impossible. Either you are GPL, or you are not. You can't be GPL for one kind of use and not GPL for another kind of use.

Another imperfect Monty construction.

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commercial license

If you pay oracle, the copyright holders, they grant you a license that lets yu distribute products based on mysql without having to distribute code for the propitiatory bits.

A long time ago I'm pretty sure that MySQL for windows was not free.

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Re: commercial license

proprietary even, automated spell checking/predictive typing :-(

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If someone holds the copyright they can impose whatever licences they like. Some open source projects let the user decide the licence from a choice and their needs.

For example they may allow the user to use software with the LGPL/GPL in which case they are obliged to release any modifications they make to it. Or to pay $$$ for a commercial licence where any modifications they make or any code they link to are kept secret.

Probably the most famous example of this is QT which has gone through various licencing models but appears to have settled on LGPL or commercial.

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LDS
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Re: commercial license

MySQL was never "free". It is free for GPL applications - and you can distribute it for free only when used by a GPL application. If you need to use it outside the GPL, you always needed a commercial license - on whatever operating system you were going to use it.

I guess many people used it - and are still using it - "for free" when they should pay for a commercial license instead.

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Linux

Dual licensing not uncommon.

If you own the code, then you can license it any way you like. You can license it as GPL to some people and under a more restrictive license to others. QT was originally licensed in this manner.

Thinking that a BSD-timebomb license will buy you anything is just daft.

"Liberating" your project with the BSDL just means that Oracle can gulp up your old work and doesn't even have to buy you out.

Although the most valuable thing about MySQL is probably the trademark.

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h3
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Re: commercial license

Most of the people using Mysql are using it in such a way as they never need to distribute Mysql so that GPL wouldn't be a problem.

GPL only limits redistribution. You can do whatever you like to GPL code as long as you don't redistribute it.

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Anonymous Coward

@h3 - Re: commercial license

Hats off to you, Sir, for bringing up this detail. Even El Reg's Mr. Gavin Clarke failed to spot the difference:

[quote]...GPL... requires any changes you make to be returned to the community and that modified versions be marked as changed [/quote]

Time for some tar and feather, anyone ?

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Anonymous Coward

"For example they may allow the user to use software with the LGPL/GPL in which case they are obliged to release any modifications they make to it"

I'm pretty sure you know GPL and LGPL, but this statement can be misunderstood. GPL and LGPL only oblige you to realease the code if you distribute the software. There is a license called RPL which oblige you to release the changes even if you make them for internal use. But GPL is different.

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Holmes

Re: MySQL was never "free"

It was licensed under GPL. You could download it and dsitribute it under those terms.

If your application used it but wasn't GPL, and didn't include any of MySQL's GPL'ed libray code, there was no clear legal reason why you couldn't sell yours and tell the customer to install MySQL themselves. But MySQL at some point started a massive FUD campaign that tried to scare everyone into believing that you had to buy a commercial license if your commercial application depended on it. Its market share dropped like stork shit* and in its place the likes of PostgresSQL appeared on the scene. Although that gave you the option of, with a bit of string substitution, offering the end user the choice of using PostgresSql or MySQL themselves, and then pointing out your application was no longer wholly dependent on MySQL.

*yes, I just saw that photo too...

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Re: commercial license

This is simply wrong. There is nothing in the GPL that says you can't use GPL licensed code for commercial use.

The only restriction is that if you distribute the application, you must make the source available, but that only applies to the GPL licensed code. The only place you might run into trouble is if you co-mingled the GPL MySQL drivers with your code, but most applications don't do that and it would be bad architecture to do so. Other than that, you can keep your code as closed as you like.

As someone else pointed out, there was a lot of FUD from MySQL about this, but it was just that, FUD.

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LDS
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Re: commercial license

It's better you re-read MySQL license.... start here http://www.mysql.com/about/legal/licensing/index.html

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LDS
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Re: MySQL was never "free"

Because many proprietary software using MySQL do link MySQL client DLL, they need to choose if their code is under GPL - and thereby they have to release the whole application code - or it is not, and then they need a commercial license. That's why Postgres is not under GPL.

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LDS
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Re: commercial license

No, re-read the GPL. If you use GPL code in your application then *all your application code* falls under the GPL - not only the GPL licensed code! That's why GPL is called "viral" and that's why not all open source code is under GPL. Any application linking MySQL client code are GPL or need a commercial license.

It's not FUD, it's just many used MySQL thinking it was wholly free while it is not.

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Vic
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Re: commercial license

> If you use GPL code in your application

If *distribute* GPL code in your application, it falls under the redistribution rules. Merely using GPL code places no onligations on you whatsoever.

> *all your application code* falls under the GPL

Not necessarily; any individual application using GPL code is covered, but other code on the same system - even code that communicates with the GPL application - is not, unless it also contains GPL code.

> It's not FUD

Yeah, it was. Some of the crap they came up with would be laughable were it not treated as gospel by people who ought to know better...

Vic.

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Facepalm

Widenius's arrogance is amazing. He made a killing out of selling his baby to Sun, but still thinks he could have laid down his own terms, and he also thinks that Oracle bought Sun just to get MySQL?!!

What sort of excuses will he be making in a few years after getting reamed end to end by Google? Poor baby, he'll only have a few $bn left to retire on.

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Yes, he's being a bit disingeneous to say the least.

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Anonymous Coward

I pissed myself laughing at the "Oracle bought Sun for MySQL".

What a fucking moron ... OK, rich and astoundingly deluded.

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I dont think that someone cares if you hate or love Monty, unsell you personally know him (in which case, your feelings about him should concern you and Monty, but not The Register).

Talking about his past errors is more interesting, but the Foundation now exists, so he CAN'T repeate those errors.

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Vic
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> the Foundation now exists, so he CAN'T repeate those errors.

Hactually, he can't repeat those errors because he no longer owns the copyrights.

He sold his rights. He made a *killing*. And now he whinges that he can't dictate what happens to MySQL. Well, that's pretty much where selling something leaves you...

Vic.

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The biggest problem

The biggest problem is the name. MariaDB just doesn't sound like a proper database product.

It shouldn't matter, but somehow it does.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: The biggest problem

Indeed, MySQL is a very catchy name.

I guess OurSQL or YourSQL weren't considered?

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Facepalm

Re: The biggest problem

"My" and "Maria" are the names of onty Widenius' daughters.

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LDS
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Re: The biggest problem

Yes, and that's not the way you choose a product name. It worked for Mercedes and MySQL, but may not work for MariaDB.

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Re: The biggest problem

And as for Edsel Ford...

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D'you think that the Chocolate Factory will slip Monty a nice, steaming cup of Shut The Fuck Up whilst they're at it?

His disingenous whining about the direction that MySQL took *after* he sold out to Sun is tiring in the extreme, but money talks, eh? The notion that Oracle only bought Sun to get at MySQL also indicates that he clearly possesses a reality distortion field of truly Jobsian magnitude.

Maybe he should just admit that he screwed up, albeit in a mind-buggeringly lucrative manner, and move on ...

<insert usual 'I use Postgres because ....' argument here>

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C 2

MySQL isn't faring so well under Oracle

First hand experience here, I've been updating a server at work that uses MySQL, and I have to work around more bugs and more serious bugs the further I go. This progressed to the point that the GA (generally available) releases of MySQL 5.5 have show stoppers. I can no longer restore backups to them. That's pretty serious. Although this has supposedly been fixed in MySQL v5.6.6, I can't use that yet.

Looking at other options, mariaDB seems viable, but the software we're using doesn't specify compatibility with it, although I may try it on a test server. PostgreSQL is looking pretty good and is supported by our vendor, but I'm still looking for something as well thought out as the (now old, discontinued?) MySQL GUI Tools.

That brings up another point, Oracle has decided to revamp the MySQL GUI Tools into some bizarre interface that seems to be missing what I need from it. I was ambivalent before, but dealing with this mess over the last few weeks, I'm feeling pretty grumpy about Oracle.

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Re: MySQL isn't faring so well under Oracle

"Looking at other options, mariaDB seems viable, but the software we're using doesn't specify compatibility with it, although I may try it on a test server."

That's likely going to change when Enterprise distros start shipping it by default; wait a few months for RHEL 7, and vendors are likely to say "MySQL, what's that?"

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Re: MySQL isn't faring so well under Oracle

> ... are likely to say "MySQL, what's that?"

Indeed, there are a lot of parallels with the LibreOffice/OpenOffice situation. Both are alive and kicking, but particularly in the Linux camp, a lot of people are saying "OpenOffice, I remember it."

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A lot will depend on adoption by ISPs. There are many millions of small sites running on PHP / MySQL on shared servers. They can't switch unless their ISP installs MariaDB (and many others do too, so they can still switch providers if needed).

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LDS
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Maria won't be owned by a corporate: of course, since Widenius has sold MySQL rights

Of course MariaDB can't be owned by a corporation being a fork of MySQL which rights are held by Oracle. And that's why Widenius tried in the past to get MySQL back from Oracle, without that rights he's bound by GPL and can only release GPL code. Probably he dreamed to resell those rights another time - the pile of cash he got when he sold it the first time probably aren't enough for him...

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Oracle wouldn’t have bought Sun

Tha man's delusional.

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LDS
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He didn't understand Oracle was much more interested in Java than in MySQL...

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Yup - they wanted Java, Solaris and the big iron Sparc stuff so they could sell everything from the hardware up to their database customers. They already owned the company behind InnoDB, which is the only vaguely decent part of MySQL.

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I'm not a Java developer, but all Java developers I know never suspected that Oracle could do something good with Java...

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Good News Everyone...

"The objective is for MariaDB to remain the kind of open-source project no single company can own."

Never got why this wasn't actually a mandatory part of being open source. Way too many cases of an open source project being bought (and really, given the authorship, how can any one person accept the sale or claim to be the owner with the ability to sell an open source project?) and ruined by singular interests. I'm not much of a socialist, but if there's anything that should be protected as communal property, it's OSS.

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LDS
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Re: Good News Everyone...

"Open Source" by itslef doesn't mean the owner doesn't retain any right - it depends on what kind of license you use. With GPL, for example, if the owner didn't retain any rights, it would not be able to ensure that anyone getting the code is bound to GPL itself, and can't turn it into something else without releasing the code. But Open Source has a problem, and that's development costs. Thereby or an open source project becomes able to sustain itself in some way, or it can end to be sold (maybe for greed, also, when someone offers a lot of $$$$$$). How would you protect it? Paying development with taxpayers money? It would turn it into a state-owned business....

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Re: Good News Everyone...

There are numerous problems with your line of reasoning, but the most painful one for me is that open source software by definition has no singular author or even any limited group of authors. The core may have been built by certain people, but there will often be oodles of others involved from all over the internet. Shouldn't they have a stake?

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Re: Good News Everyone...

"and really, given the authorship, how can any one person accept the sale or claim to be the owner with the ability to sell an open source project?"

Copyright assignment. I just assume any code "owned" by a corporation, like MySQL AB, has copyright assignment clauses for contributors. Heck, even [b]GNU[/b] has Copyright Assignment clauses in order to keep complete control of glibc and the like. That Linux doesn't was a major slipup by Torvalds.

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LDS
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Re: Good News Everyone...

Depends on the license. Some open source aficionados should start to read licenses wholly.... I met one a few days ago that were complaining someone else was selling USB sticks with his GPL code on them.

When I told him - and showed him the GPL text - that it was perfectly legal under the GPL he was surprised. He believed GPL meant "free as a beer", not "free as freedom". He was a GPL fan, but never read and understood that licenses. And I believe that's a common mistake many do....

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Anonymous Coward

@LDS - Re: Good News Everyone...

Not only open source aficionados and not only open source licenses. Everyone should read and understand every license he intends to use, no matter if it is for personal use or for redistribution.

In my opinion, being a fan of some thing assumes at least a basic understanding of that thing.

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Re: Good News Everyone...

@Powerlord, yes but we shouldn't confuse companies with foundations. A foundation (like Linux Foundation, MariaDB Foundation, Apache Foundation, etc... and in practice, GNU too) is an organization which ensures that the software will always be free (free software license, and patent-free). A company makes its exclusive interests, and could stop releasing its software as open source in any moment. I'm not saying that companies are bad, but in many cases their interests have nothing to do with mine - that's obvious, as I don't work for them.

Also, please note that in some cases copyright assignment is not required. For example, if you don't like MariaDB Foundation's copyright assignment agreement, or if you don't trust them for any reason, you can release your code with a BSD license.

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Re: Good News Everyone...

Open source is a licensing mechanism used by the owner of the code in question. It has nothing to do with 'retaining ownership' since that is related to copyright, not license.

Whomever owns the copyright owns the code and no open source license gives away ownership of the code. And in some jurisdictions (e.g. Germany) copyright is a right you cannot give away, it's a natural right like liberty. That's why pretty much every open source project now has a contributor's agreement which assigns copyright to the project (or the equivalent legal mechanism in places like Germany), thus allowing the project to control all the code. This is mostly a result of Mozilla's difficulty in changing the license to the Netscape codebase because they didn't control all the copyrights...

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LDS
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Re: @LDS - Good News Everyone...

Looking at downvortes it looks many open source aficionados never read the GPL and think it's just software they have not to pay for. That's not the aim of GPL, but I've seen people incorporating GPL code in closed source applications without shame.

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Re: Good News Everyone...

> Copyright assignment. I just assume any code "owned" by a corporation, like MySQL AB, has copyright assignment clauses for contributors.

I didn't question whether the legal mechanism existed, anyone who works in the industry is fully aware of who owns their code. I questioned whether this is fundamentally the right way to do open source. I don't see open source code as something which should be 'owned' by any entity, corporate or otherwise.

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Vic
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Re: Good News Everyone...

> I don't see open source code as something which should be 'owned' by any entity

How do you defend a copyright if no-one can own that copyright?

Without copyright legislation, the GPL has no teeth...

Vic.

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Anonymous Coward

@LDS

I upvoted one of your posts, the one about GPL code on a USB stick being legitimately sold - because you are correct.

I didn't actually realise these were all from you until now.

Some of your other posts received downvotes, in one case where you said that GPL projects by definition have multiple contributors - this is not true.

In other cases you were awarded downvotes because your reasoning was nonsense or the sentences were malformed.

The upshot of this explanation for your benefit is that there may be many reasons why people choose to vote on your comments.

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MySQL GUI tools?

Are those tools just for devs and sysadmins, or are they going to be end-user/"cubicle-dweller"-friendly?

I've over the years felt crestfallen when attempting to ditch Lotus Approach for some decade-plus-long projects I've developed, and the MySQL "GUI" tools are just completely, utterly show-stopping from my perspective when thinking as an end-user. I've tried using MySQL as the data back end and Lotus Approach as the front end, but that just introduces needless complexity no sane end-user will put up with if trying to become their own local admin.

For a decade or longer now, I dare think, MySQL squandered the opportunity to make deeper penetration into more offices and IT shops by deliberately or dismissively failing to create for their backend what Lotus bought and extended for the multiple back-end databases.

I fear that, with the end of life of Lotus SmartSuite, or maybe the discontinuation of support for Lotus SmartSuite, that IBM might be one of those unnamed sponsors slipping some money to the MariaDB support, maybe to hedge bets and put an axe in the middle of Oracle's canoe. But, I sure as hell wish that supporters of MariaDB would consider and enable the creation of a Lotus Approach-like front end, upated to year 2013/2014 capabilite, and, and, even make for-pay versions of the interface to ensure some sort of professional support that is not dependent upon sponsors who may have other feelings such as dismissing end users.

I want to convert my Lotus Approach-based "apps" or plausible products to something that would allow for Asian fonts in the db back end, as well as on the GUI, and to allow for italics and bolding of characters within a text field not just the entire text string. I could probably reasonably charge $50-$100 for my pending products, and maybe even manage to make $10-$20 per-sale contributions back to MariaDB or the Open Source Community. But, I cannot do that as long as nobody out there makes for me and my future end users/customers a database front end that is clean and crisp and fairly/reasonably stableas Lotus Approach.

Worse, once SmartSuite is no longer supported by IBM, I wonder what'll become of it. I wonder if they'll finally allow Sue Sloan to buy it off their hands. I don't particularly want to learn Lotus Script, as I don't have the bandwidth to become a developer. Macros and formulas suit me pretty well, and I think my end users of the future who buy an unlocked/modifiable version could learn maros and formulas well enough. I'd probably also offer different licenses to facilitate the continued re-contribution to Open Source, too.

Well, this plaintiff wailing is getting long-winded...

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LDS
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Re: MySQL GUI tools?

IBM sells one of the major competitors of Oracle, DB2, can't see them trying to hurt one of the products that brings in a lot of money just to upset Oracle...

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Linux

Re: MySQL GUI tools?

IBM could put the full weight of the collective behind MariaDB in a highly public way and it would not make a dent in their DB2 sales.

Oracle and DB2 users just aren't the same crowd.

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