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Re: MySQL licensing and OpenSSL linking issues

Steve Langasek <vorlon@netexpress.net> writes:

> On Fri, Jun 06, 2003 at 02:51:31PM -0400, Brian T. Sniffen wrote:
>> > Would it be reasonable to ask them to "snapshot" the OSI license list
>> > with every release?  This would ensure that the permission to link isn't
>> > retroactively revoked by a third party, while saving MySQL AB the work
>> > of coming up with their own definition of what they consider acceptable.
>> > As long as this is a list of *additional* linking permissions, and the
>> > contributors are ok with this sort of license, I don't see any reason
>> > why this couldn't work.
>> The contributors would each need to assent to each change of the list, or
>> assign copyright to MySQL, or assent to the schema of changes (and I'd
>> assume that last to be shaky).
>> That's a lot of paperwork for each release.
> Why?  If MySQL themselves can offer a license that references an
> external list (the OSI list), why can't the MySQL contributors do the
> same with regards to a list vetted by MySQL?  I don't think Branden was
> objecting to the legal validity of this technique, only to the
> impracticality of depending on such a list that could change over time
> and result in de facto changes to the license of code already in use.

That has other issues, in that the MySQL contributors would have to
use a different license than MySQL AB uses -- practically difficult,
and prone to forking.  Really, the best license for "Free and may only
be linked with free things" (which seems to be what they want) is the
GPL itself.  Encoding complex criteria for freeness into a license
just seems like a very difficult proposition.

>> > Other than that issue, I think this would nicely address Debian's needs.
>> > I'm pleased to see MySQL AB taking this step to clarify the license of
>> > the client libraries.
>> It seems at that point that it would be easier to just put it under
>> the LGPL.
> Except that the LGPL permits use of the code in ways that MySQL does not
> want to allow.

Nah, the LGPL is OSI-certified, isn't it?  Oh, there's a distinction
between "You may link to anything under an OSI-certified license, such
as the LPGL" and "this is under the LGPL".  Hm.


Brian T. Sniffen                                        bts@alum.mit.edu

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