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Re: MySQL only useable for GPL clients?

Scripsit Martin Koegler <mkoegler@auto.tuwien.ac.at>

> At http://dev.mysql.com/doc/internals/en/licensing-notice.html
> MySQL has put a descrption of their network protocol, where they
> force programs using this protocol to be GPL:

>>The MySQL Protocol is proprietary.
>>The MySQL Protocol is part of the MySQL Database Management System.
>>As such, it falls under the provisions of the GNU Public License (GPL).

I am unaware of any legal theory under which a _protocol_ in itself is
subject to copyright. A protocol might conceivably be *patented* in a
sufficiently insane jurisdiction, but there is no way that *copyright*
can prevent people from implementing the protocol. Hence no copyright
license such as the GPL is needed.

>>Because this is a GPL protocol, any product which uses it to connect to 
>>a MySQL server, or to emulate a MySQL server, or to interpose between 
>>any client and server which uses the protocol, or for any similar purpose, 
>>is also bound by the GPL.

This does not make any sense. The GPL is a text that describes
conditions under which certain software may be _copied_ in original or
modified form. It does not speak abot a right to implement a protocol,
nor does it purport to grant such a right subject to an conditions.

>>Therefore if you use this description to write a program, you must
>>release your program as GPL.

That is at best a horrible misunderstanding, at worst an outright lie.

Henning Makholm               "... not one has been remembered from the time
                         when the author studied freshman physics. Quite the
            contrary: he merely remembers that such and such is true, and to
          explain it he invents a demonstration at the moment it is needed."

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