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On Selling Exceptions to the GNU GPL

Jan 11, 2010, 20:33 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Ricahrd Stallman)

"The practice of selling license exceptions became a hot topic when I co-signed Knowledge Ecology International's letter warning that Oracle's purchase of MySQL (plus the rest of Sun) might not be good for MySQL.

"As the following article explains, my feelings about selling license exceptions are mixed. Clearly it is possible to develop powerful and complex software packages under the GNU GPL without selling exceptions, and we do this. MySQL can be developed this way too. However, selling exceptions has been used by MySQL developers. Who should decide whether to continue this? I don't think it is wise to give major decisions about a free software project to a large proprietary competitor, which might naturally prefer that the project develop less rather than more.

"One thing that makes no sense at all is the idea of changing the license of MySQL to something non-copyleft. That would eliminate the possibility of selling exceptions, but allow all sorts of proprietary modified versions. Wherever MySQL should go, it isn't there."

The LWN discussion has some good comments-- ed.

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