Subject: Re: Effect of the MySQL FLOSS License Exception?
From: Rick Moen <>
Date: Wed, 16 Jun 2004 11:29:46 -0700

Quoting No Spam (

> A short while back in May, MySQL submitted its FLOSS License Exception
> for comments.
> I'm surely missing something not having legal training, but what is
> the net effect of that?

MySQL used to be under LGPL.  This is a licence exception designed to
fix some licence incompatibilities accidentally introduced by the
project's shift to GPL.

> Term 0 says "you are free to distribute Derivative Works... without
> affecting license terms of the works", but subterm a says "you obey
> the GNU General Public License in all respects for ... the Derivative
> Work".

   You are free to distribute Derivative Works [...] without affecting
   the license terms of the works, as long as: [...]  a.  You obey the
   GNU General Public License in all respects for the Program and the 
   Derivative Work, except for identifiable sections of that work
   which are not derived from the Program, and which can reasonably be
   considered independent and separate works in themselves,

Aside:  The wording reflects a bit of management brain damage:  No use
of a third-party codebase in a derivative work can "affect the licence
terms of the work".  Licensing is under the control of the copyright
owner.  If you don't own the code, you cannot affect its licensing.
The most you can do is create a derivative work that, on account of
licensing conflict, cannot be lawfully distributed (because that would
violate the third party's copyright, or someone's, at any rate).

> Do I interpret this correctly as: if I combine my BSD code with MySQL,
> I can keep the BSD license I have, but I have to follow GPL terms
> including reciprocating for my BSD code?

No, that is not what it says.  It says (rather clumsily) that if your 
code is reasonably independent, isn't derived from MySQL, and is under
one of the licences listed in section 1, then you may use it in a
derivative work with MySQL, despite MySQL being otherwise subject to GPL
terms of use.  Essentially, they're trying to retrofit via a licence 
exception some of the licence semantics of LGPL.

> i.e. my code may not be de jure GPL, but it is de facto GPL?


Cheers,             "I used to be on the border of insanity.  However, due 
Rick Moen           to pressing political concerns, I recently had to invade."                        -- Kurt Montandon, in r.a.sf.w.r-j
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