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InfoWorld: Open Source Lock-In

Jan 20, 2004, 11:30 (17 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Jon Udell)

"With the release of MySQL 4.0, the licensing policy of the wildly popular open source database underwent a subtle change. The code libraries that client programs use to access the native MySQL API, formerly licensed under the LGPL (Lesser General Public License), were converted to the GPL. The LGPL was designed to exempt 'nonfree' programs that link against open source libraries from the GPL's strong requirement to release source code. The purpose of the LGPL, according to the Free Software Foundation, is 'to encourage the widest possible use of a certain library, so that it becomes a de-facto standard.' And indeed, MySQL has become the database pillar of the so-called LAMP platform, whose acronym expands to Linux, Apache, MySQL, and the trio of Perl, Python, and PHP.

"Ongoing controversy has dogged the switch from LGPL to GPL. Last week, OpenLink Software CEO Kingsley Idehen posted angry note on his Weblog in which he denounced the move, saying in part: 'Nice way to treat a community that has built itself around MySQL's LGPL client libraries.' And he offered a workaround: an open source gateway that maps the MySQL-specific API to the database-neutral ODBC API..."

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