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From "Mike Heath" <mhe...@apache.org>
Subject MySQL licensing policy
Date Fri, 06 Apr 2007 00:21:07 GMT
As part of my grad school studies, I've been looking into the idea of
event-driven asynchronous database drivers.  When I'm done with my
research for school, I would like to look into donating my work to the
MINA project.

As I embark on this research, I started looking at the MySQL
documentation for their over-wire protocol.  I read something in their
internals manual that doesn't really make sense to me.

The way I understand it, MySQL AB is basically saying that any
implementation of the MySQL protocol is a derivative work of the MySQL
server and must therefor be licensed under the GPL.  This is
incongruent with projects like Samba that have reversed engineered
Microsoft protocols.  Is MySQL AB's policy really enforceable?

The part of their notice that really caught my attentions was the part
that says, "Therefore if you use this description to write a program,
you must release your program as GPL."  How is this at all
enforceable?  Section 5 of the GPL says very clearly that the only way
I agree to the GPL is by redistributing something licensed under the
GPL.  The GPL is what grants me the right to do something that would
otherwise be illegal according to copyright law.  I don't need to
agree to the GPL to read something posted on a publicly accessible web
server but could any implementation of what they describe in their
manual be considered a derivative work?

If anyone has any insight into this it would be very helpful.


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