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PR: NuSphere Responds to False Claims by the Free Software Foundation

Feb 27, 2002, 19:54 (33 Talkback[s])

BOSTON----Feb. 27, 2002-- The Free Software Foundation (FSF) issued a press release yesterday inaccurately stating that NuSphere Corporation, an independent operating company of Progress Software Corporation, "lost the right to distribute MySQL software due to a violation of the GNU General Public License (GPL)." According to Lorne Cooper, president of NuSphere Corporation, these statements are inaccurate and inappropriate, as the case has yet to be presented in court.

"The Free Software Foundation had no basis on which to issue this statement," said Cooper. "The dispute between NuSphere and MySQL AB originated from a trademark dispute. The initial court hearing takes place today in Boston Federal Court. We believe actions such as this press release by the FSF violate basic ethics regarding due process of law and can only harm the open source community by alarming commercial users of open software."

The FSF contends that NuSphere violated the GPL by simply linking proprietary software to the MySQL system using a public API. MySQL AB is interpreting the GPL so broadly that any commercial software that comes into contact with free software must also become free, according to Cooper. By that standard, a commercial email program would violate the GPL if it downloaded mail from a GPL-compliant mail server, he says. NuSphere regards this as an extreme interpretation of the GPL and believes that MySQL AB's injunction against NuSphere is an inappropriate case by which to test the GPL in a court of law.

The legal dispute between NuSphere Corporation and MySQL AB, which is a VC-backed organization that also develops, supports and markets MySQL, is about trademark rights that NuSphere purchased. MySQL AB raised GPL issues in its counter-suit.

"Businesses may, in good faith, have disagreements over interpretation of contracts and in this case all that we seek is to have MySQL AB honor its contracts," said Cooper. "MySQL AB, however, decided to broaden our contractual dispute into a legal test case for the GPL. We disagree with that decision because there is no infringement of the GPL, and because this is counter to how the open source community operates."

Visit the NuSphere website (www.nusphere.com) to view a letter that Cooper wrote to customers and the open source community and a PDF file of the original contract signed with MySQL AB in June 2000.

For more information or comment from Lorne Cooper, please contact Sarah Johnson or Laura Ackerman at 781-684-0770 or nusphere@schwartz-pr.com. Please note, Cooper will not be available during the hearing, which runs from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. EST. More information on NuSphere also is available at www.nusphere.com.

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