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MySQL license with fogbugz...

Doesn't one have to purchase the commercial license of mySQL since fogbugz isn't GPLed?  That's how I read the MySQL license agreement. 

From my understanding it seems fog creek might be in violation of MySQL license, unless they have a distribution agreement in place with MySQL, AB.  I think this is exactly what the license is trying to prevent -- shipping commercial products that use MySQL without paying royalties to MySQL, AB. 

I think the MySQL license is so screwed up that I wish someone would stand up and explain what it means.  Hey after that MS rant, maybe an Open Source rant is due. 

If fogbugz IS GPL anybody know where I can download the most recent release?  ; )

christopher baus (
Thursday, June 24, 2004

I thought the MySQL licence just means you can't distribute your product with it. It has to be downloaded and installed separately.

Thursday, June 24, 2004

I just don't get when one would have to buy a license then.  To me allowing someone to download your software with another product has nothing to do with the GPL. 

Even after talking to one of their reps, I still couldn't understand where they were coming from with their dual license.  My understanding was you could only use the GPL license if the code that accessed the database was GPLed as well.  That's why they used GPL and not LGPL for their libraries.

christopher baus (
Thursday, June 24, 2004

Ok here is the important statement.

> Free use for those who never copy, modify or distribute. 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 license or not.

I still don't get who buy's the license on a one off basis.  It has to be pretty rare that you need to do that.

christopher baus (
Thursday, June 24, 2004

"As long as you never distribute (internally or externally) "

Just curious - what would internal distribution entail?

Thursday, June 24, 2004

Would giving a coleague a CD with MySQL on it and asking him to install it on a server for you be internal distribution?

So you should just send a email "Please download MySQL and install it on SQLDEV1 thanks."

Chris Ormerod
Thursday, June 24, 2004

Probably, if someone wants to embed MySQL?

Green Pajamas
Thursday, June 24, 2004

Yeah, that's my understanding of the quote above. If you ship your product *with* MySQL, then you pay. OTOH, if you ship a product, such as FogBUGZ, that happens to work with MySQL, then you don't pay.

Steve Jones (UK)
Thursday, June 24, 2004

You are supposed to buy the license if you are wanting to distribute mySQL yourself.

Technically, burning it onto CD and handing it to someone to install on an internal server *IS* distribution.  Realistically, it's not worth their time to come after you.  Though, out of respect for the license, you should just email them a link.

The main thing this licensing scheme is to prevent is someone building an app (like Fog Bugz), selling/distributing the app with mySQL, and then users expecting support from mySQL when they had nothing to do with the process.

Thursday, June 24, 2004

Most of the things mentioned here are irrelevant. Read more specifically:

"If you develop and distribute a commercial application and as part of utilizing your application, the end-user must download a copy of MySQL; for each derivative work, you (or, in some cases, your end-user) need a commercial license for the MySQL server and/or MySQL client libraries."

FogBUGZ on Linux definetly is not GPL'ed, and requires MySQL: from
"MySQL Database Server
Client and Server must be installed and running.
Version required: 4.0 or later"

The same requirement is there for the OS X version.

So, FogBUGZ certainly needs a commercial MySQL licence. The only question that remains is: Shoud Fog Creek get a licence for MySQL, or should you, the end customer, buy MySQL, or do both of you need a commercial license? My guess is as good as yours. To find out: contact MySQL AB

"If you have any questions on MySQL licensing, feel free to contact us:
USA and Canada: + 1-425-743-5635 or online
Germany, Austria, and Switzerland: +49-(0)7022-9256-30 or
Scandinavia (Sweden, Norway, and Denmark): +46 730 234 111
France: +33 (0) or
Finland: +358 (0)9 2517 5553
Spain, Portugal, and Latin America: +1 (425) 373-3434 or"

Just me (Sir to you)
Thursday, June 24, 2004

MySQL is such a feature-poor DBMS. Why anyone chooses to develop an application that relies on it is beyond me (ignorance?).

PostgreSQL is far better and doesn't have such restrictions.

Captain McFly
Thursday, June 24, 2004

It should be noted that GPL only covers derivative works which is a fairly vague concept.  Obviously, MySQL AB would like to use the widest possible interpretation of derivative work in order to get you to purchase their license. 

It's most likely that Fogbugz doesn't need a license because:

* Fogbugz is not distributed with MySQL and does not require it for operation.

* Fogbugz most likely links with the old LGPL version of the client libraries as opposed to the new GPL version.

Almost Anonymous
Thursday, June 24, 2004

MySQL is what a lot of us develop with because MySQL is what our hosting providers.. err.. provide.

My experience is with MySQL because I use a webhost, as opposed to a more expensive colo.  My webhost gives me MySQL.  PostgreSQL is not an option.

In my opinion, MySQL is really more than adequate for 99.9% of what I need to do, and it's getting more fleshed out all the time.

muppet is now from
Thursday, June 24, 2004

> Fogbugz most likely links with the old LGPL version of the client libraries as opposed to the new GPL version. 

I suspect it doesn't link with the libraries at all.  It uses PHP which links with the client libraries. 

I think mySQL is trying to be vague to scare people into buying the license.  To me the definition of a commercial license vs open source contradicts each other. 

christopher baus (
Thursday, June 24, 2004

PHP uses the LGPL version.  And they are working with MySQL on a license exception for PHP (and all other "open source" but not "GPL" products) for the next version.  It's probably already gone ahead for all I know.

Almost Anonymous
Thursday, June 24, 2004

So...  Basically

FogBugz - commercial license
PHP - PHP license enabled with GPL exception
mySQL client - GPL

You have to be a lawyer to figure that one out.  So the viralness of GPL stops at the mySQL client/PHP level?  I'd guess most lawyers couldn't understand the technical details.

christopher baus (
Thursday, June 24, 2004

BTW, this isn't how Linux works.  People ship Linux all the time with code that isn't GPLed.  Ie Linksys wireless routers.

christopher baus (
Thursday, June 24, 2004

Captain McFly
Thursday, June 24, 2004

Yea but does that include the ASP admin code and all?  I know Linksys was sued over this. 

christopher baus (
Thursday, June 24, 2004

The whole GPL/not-GPL thing is a red herring in the conversation.

MySQL (the company) offers MySQL (the DB) under two different licenses. And Just me (sir to you) was right in his post above that FogBugz use requires the commercial license (as per MySQL's license terms).

Bill Tomlinson
Friday, June 25, 2004

Wel, since I was intrigued, and the whole MySQL licencing is a bit unclear, I decided to ask MySQL AB for clarification. I just received a reply today that states I can use the GPL version of MySQL for use with FogBUGZ.
I must say I am even more confused now, since this seems in direct contradiction to some of their licencing statements on the MySQL site.
My advice would be to get a personal OK from MySQL AB on this to avoid future hassle.

Just me (Sir to you)
Monday, June 28, 2004

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