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From Robert Burrell Donkin <rdon...@apache.org>
Subject Re: A MySQL/GPL question for a change
Date Tue, 11 Mar 2008 22:58:51 GMT

On Mon, 2008-03-10 at 14:54 -0700, Henri Yandell wrote: 
> Paul's reply elsewhere is pertinent here too:
> http://svn.apache.org/repos/asf/apr/apr-util/trunk/dbd/apr_dbd_mysql.c
> Seems that that is the same use case as this.


> On Mon, Mar 10, 2008 at 1:21 PM, Henri Yandell <bayard@apache.org> wrote:
> > On Mon, Feb 25, 2008 at 12:24 AM, David Jencks <david_jencks@yahoo.com> wrote:
> >  > Just to provide a little variety in the LGPL discussions...
> >
> >  *cheer*
> >
> >
> >  >  At Geronimo I'd like to propose releasing some plugins that enable
> >  >  running Roller on geronimo.  One of the options lets you use MySQL as
> >  >  the database.  Geronimo plugins are basically configuration
> >  >  information and possibly repackaged code.  This particular release
> >  >  would not include any java source code but the binary portion of the
> >  >  release would include repackaging Roller and Tranql connector binary
> >  >  code.
> >  >
> >  >  1. The default set of plugins uses Derby as the database.
> >  >
> >  >  2. If a user wished to use the mysql database plugin they would have
> >  >  to obtain and manually install the mysql java driver into geronimo
> >  >  before the geronimo tools would install the mysql database plugin.
> >  >
> >  >  3. The plugins are built using maven.  The only information about the
> >  >  mysql driver actually needed by the build is the artifact (groupId,
> >  >  artifactId, version, type) of the mysql jar (i.e. where it's found in
> >  >  a maven repository), but for some reason maven is downloading the jar
> >  >  anyway.
> >  >
> >  >  4. No geronimo code depends on mysql code in any way.
> >  >
> >  >  5. MySQL is GPL with a FOSS exclusion that appears to say that open
> >  >  source software can link to it without needing to be GPL.
> >
> >  Agreed.
> >
> >  http://www.mysql.com/about/legal/licensing/foss-exception.html
> >
> >  However this again brings up the sublicensing question. The exclusion
> >  above would seem to go away if the plugin were included in a product
> >  which was not 100% made up of FOSS licenses.

i'm not sure what this license actually buys us legally

> You are free to distribute a Derivative Work that is formed entirely
> from the Program and one or more works (each, a "FLOSS Work") licensed
> under one or more of the licenses listed below in section 1, as long
> as:

note that the substance here is the definition of derivative work is as
per copyright rather than as per GPL. ISTM that this is more likely to
exclude linking.

> 1. You obey the GPL in all respects for the Program and the Derivative
> Work, except for identifiable sections of the Derivative Work which
> are not derived from the Program, and which can reasonably be
> considered independent and separate works in themselves,


when can an independent and separate work be a derivative work under
copyright. possible wholley language trying to distinguish between
modification of existing source and new works linking to the source.

      * 2. all identifiable sections of the Derivative Work which are
        not derived from the Program, and which can reasonably be
        considered independent and separate works in themselves,
>      1. are distributed subject to one of the FLOSS licenses listed
>         below, and 
>      2. the object code or executable form of those sections are
>         accompanied by the complete corresponding machine-readable
>         source code for those sections on the same medium and under
>         the same FLOSS license as the corresponding object code or
>         executable forms of those sections, and 


geronimo would seem to need to ship complete source will all binaries. 

> 3. any works which are aggregated with the Program or with a
> Derivative Work on a volume of a storage or distribution medium in
> accordance with the GPL, can reasonably be considered independent and
> separate works in themselves which are not derivatives of either the
> Program, a Derivative Work or a FLOSS Work.

IMHO nasty and sloppy phrasing. this seems to go much further than the
GPL in the case where applications are aggregated together. i read this
as possible disallowing an aggregation with derivative works of
unrelated independent FLOSS works. this may prevent Debian (say)
shipping a product under this license.

but everyone knows my position on poorly drafted licenses...

> >  >  6. Tranql is a codehaus project with apache license version 2.  Two
> >  >  classes in the tranql mysql adapter directly use mysql classes.
> >
> >  Painful.


probably a good idea to contact them

> >  >  These classes are repackaged in the mysql-roller database plugin.  If
> >  >  we've understood the FOSS exclusion tranql's asl license is
> >  >  consistent with its use of mysql classes and its use with roller is
> >  >  also OK.  Anyone wishing to use the tranql mysql adapter with non-asl
> >  >  licensed software would have to figure out the mysql licensing
> >  >  situation for themselves, but this should not affect the tranql license.
> >
> >  Seems so. With the issue being that tranql in a product with non-Open
> >  Source would need to go get a deal with Mysql (Sun now). What seems a
> >  bit weird is that all you get an exception to do is to distribute - I
> >  don't know if it matters that they don't say use/copy/modify etc.
> >
> >  Another painpoint - what about Open Source licenses not listed?

> >  >  To summarize,
> >  >  -- use of the mysql database plugin requires the user to  explicitly
> >  >  acquire and install the mysql jar: geronimo will refuse to install
> >  >  the plugin until this has happened.
> >  >  -- building the mysql database plugin does download the mysql jar but
> >  >  this is not used in any significant way nor included in any way in
> >  >  the build artifacts.
> >  >
> >  >  Does anyone see any problems with this?  If so, does this mean that
> >  >  all information about how to run any apache product with  mysql
> >  >  should be removed from apache?
> >
> >  License-wise, I think it's good. 

i'm not so sure. IMO the license is poorly drafted and legally
uncertain. geronimo would also need to work very hard to ensure that
it's in compliance for example by ensuring that the source is included
with all binaries. this isn't impossible (for example, by including the
source within each jar) but it will require some work. 

i worry that by creating a derivative work under the exception then
apache would be agreeing to the license provisions for (at least) the
whole of geronimo and possible more (the aggregation clause concerns
me). apache may be agreeing to GPL geronimo if any of the terms are

> Policy wise, there's the open
> >  question on whether we require the ability to sublicense our packages
> >  or not, and the general complication of introducing this in terms of
> >  making sure it's never packaged with another license [Sun Spec
> >  license; BEA Spec license jumping to mind].

it's introducing a whole additional set of difficulties for anyone
downstream. inclusion as part of a linux or solaris would become
difficult or impossible. commercial users expect apache code to be safe
to link against. this would no longer be the case for geronimo.

but IANAL...

- robert

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