Revolution, MySQL vs FileMaker

Lynn Fredricks lfredricks at
Fri Sep 29 15:44:26 EDT 2006

> 3. If you include one or more of the MySQL drivers in your 
> non-GPL application (so that your application can run with 
> MySQL), you need a commercial license for the driver(s) in 
> question. The MySQL drivers currently include an ODBC driver, 
> a JDBC driver and the C language library.
> Does this mean Runtime Revolution,  Inc., pays MySQL, since 
> they include drivers?
> But it does seem Rick is correct, that distributing a 
> standalone that includes drivers needs a license- or am I 
> misreading it?

I have two reads on MySQL licensing; I have a certain bias because of my
relationship with Paradigma when wearing my Paradigma hat, so be warned :-)

The first one is that MySQL AB has tightened up their licensing a few times
(granted, interpretations of the GPL have also morphed in that time) and
that, based on what I have read, if you incorporate MySQL drivers in your
application and its not GPL, you need to pay them. Also, if its commercial
venture of any kind, you have to pay them (dig through their references to
compensation); it doesn't necessarily matter if you simply tell your
customer they need to download MySQL and install it yourself. I visit their
website about once a month to see what they are doing with licensing, so
maybe something has changed since then.

The second one is, they have previously had sprinkled around their website a
statement that if you arent sure if you can use it free or not, you should
call them or just pay up. From feedback from others who have called, usually
the answer is - pay up, and here is a plan, just for you. So the licensing
confusion puts you into a position where you are encouraged to call them and
enter into a negotiation of pricing. MySQL AB has greatly benefited over the
years because of license confusion - a huge number of people in the world
assume its free to use, but also a huge number of people don't know the
difference really between public domain and GPL. Several years ago when the
computer industry was just getting a handle on what GPL means, MySQL AB did
a lot of suing - I don't know about now.

Now Ill try to put on my Runtime hat if you can suspend disbelief :-)
Support for MySQL helps Runtime, because it's a popular database system and
supporting it enables customers to make choices. With my Paradigma hat on, I
can agree with that - MySQL is not a horrible product, and its popular, and
choice and competition in the market are good for everyone, as long as you
understand and are happy with their licensing.

Now with both hats: I wouldn't incorporate anything into a product if I
wasn't really sure in my own head what the license means. If there was any
doubt of what to incorporate into Revolution or Valentina, I would be dead
set against it. If you have read MySQL's terms and are happy with them and
the product, be happy :-) But, if you are relying heavily on the community
to help you make a licensing decision because you cannot comprehend the
license - please save yourself some heartache and sleepless nights later.

Im the sort of person who will not sign anything at all unless I understand
the fine print completely - mortgages, codicils, immigration papers,
intellectual property licenses, everything. I don't rely on a lawyer saying
"yeah, you're good" without some deep explanation.

Best regards,

Lynn Fredricks
Paradigma Software, Inc

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