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Free software's second era: The rise and fall of MySQL

Mar 23, 2010, 11:03 (1 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Glyn Mody)

"If the first era of free software was about the creation of the fully-rounded GNU/Linux operating system, the second saw a generation of key enterprise applications being written to run on that foundation. Things got moving with the emergence and rapid adoption of the LAMP stack – a term coined in 1998 - a key part of which was (obviously) MySQL (the "M").

"But unlike the "A" and "P" in LAMP, which remained close to their hacker roots, MySQL grew under the guidance of Marten Mickos into one of the first successful open source companies not based around GNU/Linux distros. A few years ago, Mickos explained to me where one of his company's key ideas – that of owning the copyright to all the contributed code - came from:

"There are some natural reasons for it. One is that the vast majority of the original source code was written by one man — Monty [Widenius]. Now his portion is much, much smaller, but at that time, most of the code was written by him. So it was natural that the copyright was held by the company. But second, Monty and David [Axmark] learned from the Ghostscript project. They were the first implementers of the dual-licensing model where you retain copyright but at the same time you release it under open source."

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