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04.23.08

Clarification on MySQL and Software Patents

Posted in Database, Europe, Free/Libre Software, Patents, SUN at 9:17 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

I had a conversation with Marten Mickos yesterday. A lot of it was not relevant to this Web site’s focus (e.g. business models), but the issue of MySQL & patents, which was covered here before [1, 2] (quite critically in fact), came up at one stage. There appears to be full alignment in terms of our views. MySQL remains an opposer of software patents in Europe (alongside Sun Microsystems) and it acknowledges the existing problems. In his own words, to quote what he permitted me to share publicly: “As long as we have software patents legally in our market, the owners of such patents may try to make money on them in FOSS environments, and some will succeed.

“Fortunately there are companies with patents that don’t use them in this way. I am not an expert on Sun’s practice in this regard, but my impression is that Sun hasn’t used it patents for revenue extraction from users or producers of free software.”

In Slashdot and elsewhere the bigger question actually revolves around different questions, mainly the closing of some portions of the software, which Mickos has just commented on publicly in Mercury News and ComputerWorld, so in case you are interested, consider the stories below.

1. Closing MySQL: Marten Mickos Responds

Whatever you think of Mickos’s reasoning behind the move, explained below, the company deserves full marks for responding so quickly to a situation that it admits was caused by its own slightly maladroit handling of an announcement, which in retrospect was bound to be controversial. In particular, Mickos seems genuinely to welcome this kind of criticism because he recognises that rapid and honest feedback – whether good or bad – is one of the key advantages of the open source way.

2. Mercury News interview: Fitting MySQL into Sun’s orbit

He also said there’s no decision on how the add-ons may ultimately be licensed.

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A Single Comment

  1. Andre said,

    May 3, 2008 at 3:27 am

    Gravatar

    Well, once SUN acquired MySQL the patent policy of MySQL went away. And SUN is no reliable partner, see Microsoft OOXML.

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