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Thread: MySQL License

  1. #1
    Follow Me On Twitter: @djg gold trophysilver trophybronze trophy Dan Grossman's Avatar
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    MySQL License

    My boss/partner on developing a web-based service in PHP/mySQL is really concerned about mySQL licensing. We're going to sell access to a site that uses mySQL as its backend DB.

    This falls under the GPL and "powering your application" which is free, correct? We're not distributing mySQL, or distributing any software that uses mySQL source or libraries.

    Am I correct that this is a free use of the mySQL server?

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    $postcount++; koomann's Avatar
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    Just to calm your boss' nerves, I'd really just read over the MySQL Licensing policy just to be extra sure.

    But other than that, I wouldn't see a need to purchase a license.

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    Follow Me On Twitter: @djg gold trophysilver trophybronze trophy Dan Grossman's Avatar
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    I think it's covered under GPL since we're not distributing any source code that includes mySQL embedded. Even if we wanted to let someone run the product on their own server, it'd just be installing mySQL and using it to power the software, not embedding it in the PHP app. I'm hoping someone else can back me up on this, possibly someone who actually has a paid service powered by mySQL?

    However, the program doesn't function without mySQL, so I'm not completely sure anymore.

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    Sidewalking anode's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Grossman
    My boss/partner on developing a web-based service ...This falls under the GPL and "powering your application" which is free, correct? We're not distributing mySQL, or distributing any software that uses mySQL source or libraries.
    Who cares what's "powering your application" when you're not distributing or selling it..you just said you were selling the service..

    Nothing to worry about.
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    Follow Me On Twitter: @djg gold trophysilver trophybronze trophy Dan Grossman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Licensing Examples Page
    If your product requires MySQL, you need a license for any machine that runs the mysqld server. For example, if you've designed your application around MySQL, then you've really made a commercial product that requires the engine, so you need a license.
    Quote Originally Posted by Licensing Examples Page
    You need a license if you sell a product designed specifically for use with MySQL or that requires the MySQL server to function at all.
    That worries me. Obviously take away mysql and mysql_connect, mysql_query, etc don't work.

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    But,
    As long as you never distribute (internally or externally) the MySQL Software in any way, you are free to use it for powering your application, irrespective of whether your application is under GPL or other OSI approved license or not.
    I believe that if you only run the app on your server and do not sell your software, then you don't need to pay.

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    Your Lord and Master, Foamy gold trophy Hierophant's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Grossman
    I think it's covered under GPL since we're not distributing any source code that includes mySQL embedded. Even if we wanted to let someone run the product on their own server, it'd just be installing mySQL and using it to power the software, not embedding it in the PHP app. I'm hoping someone else can back me up on this, possibly someone who actually has a paid service powered by mySQL?

    However, the program doesn't function without mySQL, so I'm not completely sure anymore.
    As long as you do not install MySQL on the customer's machines you will not need a License. We investigated this for vBulletin and found that to be the case. Since we do not use MySQL directly and we do not distribute MySQL, we do not have to worry about the license fees.

    Your customers may need licenses depending on how they use MySQL but that is not your concern.
    Wayne Luke
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    Follow Me On Twitter: @djg gold trophysilver trophybronze trophy Dan Grossman's Avatar
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    The service is offered on our domain by logging in with a purchased username/password. They never leave our domain. And the site uses mySQL for that authentication and to store all the customer's data to power the service. With vBulletin you're selling software that gets distributed to a customer. Do you think this makes any difference?

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    Your Lord and Master, Foamy gold trophy Hierophant's Avatar
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    I don't think so or webhosting is going to get really expensive ... The best thing would be to have an IP lawyer review the license and give you a recommendation.
    Wayne Luke
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  10. #10
    Follow Me On Twitter: @djg gold trophysilver trophybronze trophy Dan Grossman's Avatar
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    Thanks for the opinion Wayne I hope this is enough to convince him it's unnecessary.

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    Sidewalking anode's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by W. Luke
    I don't think so or webhosting is going to get really expensive ... The best thing would be to have an IP lawyer review the license and give you a recommendation.
    Not only webhosting, but almost any DB backed service online from a not-huge company (sometimes even then, since Yahoo uses MySQL.)

    The GPL (and all Free Software licenses) only apply to distribution. Nobody in business would use them otherwise.
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    $postcount++; koomann's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Grossman
    That worries me. Obviously take away mysql and mysql_connect, mysql_query, etc don't work.
    If your 'services' are going to include exporting MySQL code, then you might need a license. But if the code you write is going to stay yours, and you're not going to be selling it (the code itself) in anyway, then there's no need to worry =]


    -Jg

  13. #13
    \m/ R.I.P. Dimebag! \m/ JimBolla's Avatar
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    I also am confused by MySQL's licensing mumbo jumbo. I am not up on all this GPL junk as I am primarily a MS developer, writing .NET code that normally connects to MS SQL Server. I am currently exploring options to replace MS SQL as it is expensive and overkill for most of our projects.

    The software we develop is commercial, closed source software; typically an ASP.NET business app that stores data to a database. Some of these are intended to be distributed as resellable software; as opposed to monlithic one-install-ever software. It is my current understanding from their licensing information on their website, that this would require us to have a commercial license for MySQL for each install of our software. Is this correct?

    PS: Thread necromancy!
    -- JIM BOLLA
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  14. #14
    \m/ R.I.P. Dimebag! \m/ JimBolla's Avatar
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    Still looking for clarification on this. With Mono maturing quickly I would really like a free and mature platform-agnotistic database solution to complement the ability to deploy an ASP.NET app to a Linux or Windows box.

    Although .NET 2.0 and SQL Server Express 2005 may keep my on the Dark Side for a while longer still...
    -- JIM BOLLA
    Wanna play Halo 2? My XBOX Live gamertag: crowdozer

  15. #15
    Follow Me On Twitter: @djg gold trophysilver trophybronze trophy Dan Grossman's Avatar
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    The way I understand it, if mysql is on the software CD you sell, you need a license for each copy. If you sell the software the way scripts are traditionally sold, requiring the buyer to install mysql on their own, you don't need the license.


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