MySQL and open source
david at vaudevillecourt.tv
Sun Nov 28 04:52:39 CST 2010
On 27 November 2010 14:06, Ruslan Zasukhin <ruslan_zasukhin at valentina-db.com
> joke about "100 years delay" in fact is true ? :-)
> If this is true, then yes, this is big challenge personally for me.
> Then I think all closed-source software can claim that we all are GPL, and
> ready to open our sources, e.g. 100-1000 years later.
> I.e. Oracle and MS SQL can claim they are open source? :-)
> Just 1000 years later ? Wait please ...
I really think this is a red herring Ruslan. I'm pretty sure that the way
this clause is drafted in the GPL has been given a LOT of thought. I know
this form being involved in the early drafting of the UK Creative commons
licenses, and observing the level of rather painful detail that the
volunteer legal buffs spent haggling over each and every word. It also
strikes me as fairly standard and reasonable legal practice - even though
this may not sit well with a purely logical mind :)
As far as I can tell, the purpose and effect of this clause is to make it as
flexible as possible for the copyright holder to comply with the terms
without mandating any specific form of distribution. That is reasonable, the
requirement is that:
> You must make sure that they, too, receive or can get the source code.
> In a court case a judge will rule accordingly and is fully able to decide
whether or not the defendant has made reasonable attempts to comply with the
requirements of the license. For instance in 2008, FSF took Cysco systems to
court more or less on this basis, as Cisco had spend 6 years (despite
repeated protests from the FSF), effectively stalling to make copies of
Lynksys Router software readily available. Cisco settled out of court in
Many projects start out by claiming to be open source but months or even
years to make their code easily accessible, but this is largely due to their
internal fears over the quality of the code, and wish to "properly support"
the open source initiative with documentation etc. If you email them they
will almost always (perhaps grudgingly) send you a copy. It is generally
regarded as both bad business practice, especially in marketing terms, to
not release the code fully and early. Virtually all open source projects
that have managed to successfully build a community around their project
have taken that route, those that haven't usually fail to attract any of the
benefits of opening their code.
In short there is nothing confusing about the requirement to make the source
available on request, and indeed GPL 3 goes further and specifies:
b) Convey the object code in, or embodied in, a physical product
> (including a physical distribution medium), accompanied by a
> written offer, valid for at least three years and valid for as
> long as you offer spare parts or customer support for that product
> model, to give anyone who possesses the object code either (1) a
> copy of the Corresponding Source for all the software in the
> product that is covered by this License, on a durable physical
> medium customarily used for software interchange, for a price no
> more than your reasonable cost of physically performing this
> conveying of source, or (2) access to copy the
> Corresponding Source from a network server at no charge.
> Which if long winded is pretty clear that if you don't actually make the
code readily available, then you have to include a specific binding offer to
do so on request.
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