Commercial Java program bundled with 'free' database?


K

Korto

Hi! I am writing a program for a client and I'm using several database
files that I created with MySQL (inventory, customer, etc). I'm not
sure if I can freely bundle these database files with my program when I
distribute it to my customer so I have a question:

Does there exist something like MySQL that I can use to create files
with and distribute with programs that I write without having to pay
licensing fees?

Thanks, all!

Korto
 
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D

Daniel Dyer

Hi! I am writing a program for a client and I'm using several database
files that I created with MySQL (inventory, customer, etc). I'm not
sure if I can freely bundle these database files with my program when I
distribute it to my customer so I have a question:

Are you talking about the actual data files created? As far as I am
aware, the output of a GPL program is not itself covered by the GPL. If
you are talking about the database engine itself or the JDBC driver, then
your application will be bound by the terms of the GPL (you would have to
provide source to everybody that you provided binaries to). But you
shouldn't be taking legal advice from some random bloke on USENET.
Does there exist something like MySQL that I can use to create files
with and distribute with programs that I write without having to pay
licensing fees?

Look for something with a BSD or Apache licence. PostgreSQL and Derby are
the two alternatives that spring to mind.

Dan.
 
T

Thomas Weidenfeller

Korto said:
Hi! I am writing a program for a client and I'm using several database
files that I created with MySQL (inventory, customer, etc). I'm not
sure if I can freely bundle these database files with my program when I
distribute it to my customer so I have a question:

I have sad this a few times, and I will say it again. Seeking legal
advice on Usenet is a rather bad idea. Do you think a judge will buy
your claim "But that stranger on Usenet told me so!" if things go wrong?

Pay and ask a lawyer, if this is an important matter for you.

/Thomas
 
C

Christopher Benson-Manica

Korto said:
Hi! I am writing a program for a client and I'm using several database
files that I created with MySQL (inventory, customer, etc). I'm not
sure if I can freely bundle these database files with my program when I
distribute it to my customer so I have a question:
Does there exist something like MySQL that I can use to create files
with and distribute with programs that I write without having to pay
licensing fees?

You might consider asking this on misc.legal.computing.
 
D

David Segall

Korto said:
Hi! I am writing a program for a client and I'm using several database
files that I created with MySQL (inventory, customer, etc). I'm not
sure if I can freely bundle these database files with my program when I
distribute it to my customer so I have a question:

Does there exist something like MySQL that I can use to create files
with and distribute with programs that I write without having to pay
licensing fees?
I have what I believe to be a complete list of freely distributable
"heavy duty" databases at <http://database.profectus.com.au>. MySQL
Community Edition is included. I would be horrified if you are
restricted from distributing the output that you have created from
_any_ program even if you are restricted from distributing the program
itself. In your case you can distribute both the database files and
the Community Edition of MySQL. I think that MySQL is licensed under
the Gnu Programming License so it would be sensible to include the
license with your distribution and provide a link to the MySQL source
code.
 
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C

Chris Uppal

Korto said:
Hi! I am writing a program for a client and I'm using several database
files that I created with MySQL (inventory, customer, etc). I'm not
sure if I can freely bundle these database files with my program when I
distribute it to my customer so I have a question:

IIRC, the MySQL FAQ includes a section on what you can and can't do with MySQL
without paying a license fee. If it's not in the FAQ then it's somewhere on
their website.

Obviously, you should consult a lawyer for a worthwhile opinion ("worthwhile"
in that seeking it covers your arse against accusations of professional
negligence). But reading the FAQ may possibly allow you to save that expense.

Does there exist something like MySQL that I can use to create files
with and distribute with programs that I write without having to pay
licensing fees?

Yes. Any database which comes with a less restrictive licence than MySQL. I
think PostgesSQL and HSQLDB both qualify, and there are others.

-- chris
 
K

Korto

Thank you, everyone, for the advice and input. You are correct, I may
need to talk with a legal expert before I continue on with this
project. Also, I'll check out those freely distributable databases and
also look into the Community Edition of MySQL.

Again, thank you all very much for your help!

Korto
 
D

Daniel Pitts

Korto said:
Hi! I am writing a program for a client and I'm using several database
files that I created with MySQL (inventory, customer, etc). I'm not
sure if I can freely bundle these database files with my program when I
distribute it to my customer so I have a question:

Does there exist something like MySQL that I can use to create files
with and distribute with programs that I write without having to pay
licensing fees?

Thanks, all!

Korto

You can distribute SQL scripts that you have created, since they are
your creation, and although they won't do anything without the
database, they are not part of the dataqbase. That may be the best
approach.
 
S

Simon Brooke

Daniel said:
You can distribute SQL scripts that you have created, since they are
your creation, and although they won't do anything without the
database, they are not part of the dataqbase. That may be the best
approach.

Who owns the copyright on the files, you or the client? If you then you can
give it to the client because you own it. If the client, then you /must/
give it to the client, because he owns it.

You don't have to pay any licence fees for using MySQL anyway, it's open
source.
 
C

Chris Uppal

Simon said:
You don't have to pay any licence fees for using MySQL anyway, it's open
source.

It's open source, yes. It's even Open Source. But it is /not/ freely
redistributable -- and that is the whole point of this conversation, since the
OP will be distributing the DBMS with the application.

-- chris
 
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D

David Segall

Chris Uppal said:
It's open source, yes. It's even Open Source. But it is /not/ freely
redistributable -- and that is the whole point of this conversation, since the
OP will be distributing the DBMS with the application.
The MySQL Database Server Community Edition comes with a GNU Public
License. Apart from some simple conditions such as the obligation to
provide the source code on request is there anything that prevents the
OP from distributing the DBMS with the application?
 
C

Chris Uppal

David said:
The MySQL Database Server Community Edition comes with a GNU Public
License. Apart from some simple conditions such as the obligation to
provide the source code on request is there anything that prevents the
OP from distributing the DBMS with the application?

You mean other than the requirement to GPL (or similar) the whole application ?

-- chris
 
D

David Segall

Chris Uppal said:
You mean other than the requirement to GPL (or similar) the whole application ?
There is no requirement to GPL an application because it makes use of
a separate GPL application. If there was Oracle would be GPL because
it runs on Linux. Even Microsoft would be in trouble for using
applications that are licensed under the GPL
<http://www.microsoft.com/technet/interopmigration/unix/sfu/default.mspx>.
Microsoft is obliged to, and does, provide a copy of the license and
offer to provide the source code. As far as I am aware that is all the
OP needs to do if he wants to use a Gnu Public Licensed database.
 
S

Simon Brooke

Chris Uppal said:
You mean other than the requirement to GPL (or similar) the whole
application ?

And the problem with that is? It's the licence I use for all the products I
ship to clients.
 
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D

Daniel Dyer

And the problem with that is? It's the licence I use for all the
products I
ship to clients.

The problem is if you are intending to sell the same code to different
people. Once you have given one client the source code they are free to
do whatever they like with it, including give it away free to people who
would otherwise have paid you for it. The FSF would argue that this is a
good thing, but if you want to make repeat revenues you are not protected
from the actions of your clients. This means a model like Microsoft uses
for Office or Adobe uses for Photoshop would not work using the GPL as the
licence. You can't cover your costs by charging several customers a small
amount because somebody will scupper you by giving your work away for free.

Dan.
 
?

=?ISO-8859-1?Q?Arne_Vajh=F8j?=

Thomas said:
That does not appear to be in agreement with the claims of MySQL AB.

http://www.mysql.com/company/legal/licensing/commercial-license.html

I think MySQL has been intentionally FUD'ing a bit in this
area.

I belive that the common interpretation is:
- if you you ship MySQL code with your code you need to
either be GPL/FOSS or pay for a commercial license
- if you don't ship any MySQL code then they can not
claim any GPL issues at all

This is not what MySQL say in the above link.

"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."

But as I understand the GPL license then it is strictly about
distribution. If you don't distribute any GPL software, then
GPL does not apply to you.

If the MySQL interpretation above was correct, then any software
for Linux would be be GPL'ed. It is rather obvious that a
Linux binary requires the user to install Linux.

That is what I call common sense. Ask a lawyer for a true legal
evaluation. I can not guarantee that the license law will follow what
I consider common sense.

Arne
 
D

Daniel Dyer

I think MySQL has been intentionally FUD'ing a bit in this
area.

I belive that the common interpretation is:
- if you you ship MySQL code with your code you need to
either be GPL/FOSS or pay for a commercial license
- if you don't ship any MySQL code then they can not
claim any GPL issues at all

This is not what MySQL say in the above link.

"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."

But as I understand the GPL license then it is strictly about
distribution. If you don't distribute any GPL software, then
GPL does not apply to you.

If the MySQL interpretation above was correct, then any software
for Linux would be be GPL'ed. It is rather obvious that a
Linux binary requires the user to install Linux.

The licence terms are mostly dependent on the definition of "linking". If
your application links with MySQL code then it is required to be made
available under the same terms. The important libraries for linking with
on Linux, such as glibc, are licensed under the LGPL rather than the GPL.

You are right though, it is in MySQL's interest to promote a very broad
definition of "linking". The MySQL JDBC connector used to be available
under the LGPL but was changed to GPL a few years ago, presumably so that
they could sell more commercial licences.

Beyond not distributing MySQL (and, more importantly, the JDBC driver)
with your application, to be extra safe you should probably also ensure
that your code makes no reference to anything MySQL-related (including
JDBC URLs and driver strings). If your application uses the standard JDBC
API, and will work with other RDBMS options, then if one of your users
downloads MySQL and its JDBC driver and configures your app to use it, I
can't see how you can be held responsible for "linking". Anything less
clearly separated is a grey area.

Easiest solution: use PostgreSQL and avoid the hassle. Oracle Express
Edition (or the equivalent free version of SQL Server or DB2) might also
be sufficient but it is a bit heavyweight.

Dan.
 
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R

Robert M. Gary

Chris said:
It's open source, yes. It's even Open Source. But it is /not/ freely
redistributable -- and that is the whole point of this conversation, since the
OP will be distributing the DBMS with the application.

Even when something has a clear GPL license we always send it all the
way through legal.

-Robert
 

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