[nycphp-talk] sun and mysql acquisition for non-enterprise users
jellicle at gmail.com
Wed Mar 26 22:09:57 EDT 2008
On Wednesday 26 March 2008, David Krings wrote:
> I think that the plain simple MySQL that we mainly use will remain
> available at no cost with a favourable license for some time. One never
> knows what a company will do, but I cannot recall anyone ver releasing a
> product under GPL and then taking it proprietary.
Well, it has been attempted:
The above is somewhat biased but largely accurate in its facts. VA Linux
had a GPL software product and an Open Source-based business model. (I
have a VA Linux t-shirt which says: "Open Source: it's the difference
between trust and anti-trust.") The company then did a complete u-turn and
decided to produce a proprietary product. (To my knowledge, they never
produced a t-shirt extolling the virtues of proprietariness and anti-trust
lawsuits.) They converted it to a proprietary product, however, by
definition, the previous code remained free to use indefinitely under the
GPL. The community, not entirely happy with this path, maintained and
upgraded the product, working from the GPL'ed codebase. VA Software
(renamed) then faced the interesting business model of selling a
proprietary product that was competing against virtually the same product,
GPL'ed and available for free. It's challenging to sell meatballs when
someone is giving away the exact same meatballs next door for free.
Despite pouring quite a lot of money into the effort, this did not work out
well. And today, the open source fork remains:
Anyway, the upshot is this... there are a few questions to ask.
1) Is there a large community interested in the GPL version of this product?
2) Are there sufficient programmers who would work on it and keep it going
if the primary company abandoned the product?
If the answers to both these questions are "yes", it is essentially
impossible for a company to successfully take an open source codebase and
privatize it, no matter how stupid their management may be. For MySQL, I'd
say the answers are clearly yes. So have no fear! MySQL, or some
derivative of it, will remain available as long as people care about it.
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