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Displaying posts with tag: Licensing (reset)

The Affero GPL does not solve the open source/cloud revenue dilemma
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A number of people have recently raised the issue of the threat that cloud computing poses to the monetization of open source by specialist vendors, including Savio Rodrigues, Matt Asay, and Mike Hogan.

I believe that cloud computing provides an opportunity for open source specialists, but agree that cloud services based on open source code could potentially eat into the business opportunities for open source specialists since the cloud providers have no requirements

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Open source and the cloud - the quick and the dead
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Savio Rodrigues has published a post arguing that cloud platforms such as Amazon Web Services and Microsoft’s Azure pose a threat to the monetization of open source by specialist vendors.

Savio makes a good case based on the recent launch of AWS’s Relational Database Service, based on MySQL, and Microsoft’s support for MySQL and Tomcat on Azure:

    “When Amazon decided to offer MySQL via Amazon RDS, they did so without purchasing MySQL support from Sun. I’ve confirmed that Microsoft Azure is supporting MySQL on Azure without paying Sun for a MySQL Enterprise subscription.”

Clearly there is a threat to open source vendors from cloud-based services. Meanwhile I have previous

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Everything you always wanted to know about MySQL but were afraid to ask - part two
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Since the European Commission announced it was opening an in-depth investigation into the proposed takeover of Sun Microsystems by Oracle with a focus on MySQL there has been no shortage of opinion written about Oracle’s impending ownership of MySQL and its impact on MySQL users and commercial partners, as well as MySQL’s business model, dual licensing and the GPL.

In order to try and bring some order to the conversation, we have brought together some of the most referenced blog posts and news stories in chronological order.

Part one took us from the announcement of the EC’s in-depth investigation up to the eve of the communication of the EC’s Statement of Objections.

Part two, below, takes us from there to

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Open Source Licensing Considerations
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The two predominant forms of open source licenses are BSD and GPL. PostgreSQL is licensed under the BSD license , while MySQL is licensed under GPL . While the details are arcane, the business impact is significant, and that is what this post addresses.

The BSD (or BSD-style) License: This license basically says: ‘This code is provided as is, do what you want with it, and include this copyright in your resulting product.’

The GPL License: This license, also known as the copyleft license, essentially says: ‘This is free and distributed as source code, and any addition or extension must also be distributed under these exact terms.’

BSD essentially says I prefer open source code, so I’m making my source code open





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Everything you always wanted to know about MySQL but were afraid to ask - part one
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Since the European Commission announced it was opening an in-depth investigation into the proposed takeover of Sun Microsystems by Oracle with a focus on MySQL there has been no shortage of opinion written about Oracle’s impending ownership of MySQL and its impact on MySQL users and commercial partners, as well as MySQL’s business model, dual licensing and the GPL.

In order to try and bring some order to the conversation, we have brought together some of the most referenced blog posts and news stories in chronological order. Part one, below, takes us from the announcement of the EC’s in-depth investigation up to the eve of the communication of the EC’s Statement of Objections. We will continue to update part two

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FOSS: War is over (if you want it)
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At the Open World Forum event in Paris this morning I presented a quick overview of the state of free and open source software in 2009 and a look at the trends shaping FOSS into the next decade. The presentation was just 10 minutes rather than the 20 I had originally understood it to be, so I wanted to use the blog to expand a little on the discussion and my thinking.



War is over (if you want it)

Aside from the ongoing adoption of open source, one of the trends that has defined FOSS in 2009 has been the numerous


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451 CAOS Links 2009.09.29
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Winning and losing with open source. Paranoid Android. And more.

Follow 451 CAOS Links live @caostheory on Twitter and Identi.ca
“Tracking the open source news wires, so you don’t have to.”

Winning and losing
Matt Asay stirred things up with his declaration that free software has lost and open source has won. Responding to Matt Asay, Glyn Moody argued that without free software, open source would lose its meaning, while Mark Stone explained that free versus open source is not black and white - it’s more complex than that.

Matt Asay later declared open source the winner again, this time as



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Open Source Business Models
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There is once again a lot of fuzz going on about Open Source Business models,

First on my eyballs was the article that Customers don't seem to like openCore what a big surprise ..

So that's not the one that makes the customers happy ,

Then there is the other side of the coin, the people that create open source
Authors realize the dual licensing model comes hunting back at you after a merger or a hostile acquisition, yes they still have the source code to build on but they can't sell commercial licenses to their customers anymore they way

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Oracle *could* kill off MySQL as a commercial product, but probably won’t
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Before I even start this post I am going to repeat our view that Oracle is well aware that it has little to gain from killing off MySQL and that we expect MySQL to become the scale-out database for non-transactional web applications and to compete with SQL Server in departmental deployments.

That said there has been some interesting discussion on Twitter this week in response to the European Commission’s investigation of Oracle-Sun about whether Oracle could - in theory - kill off MySQL. Here’s a Q+A explaining my view as to how Oracle could kill MySQL but probably won’t, and why MySQL AB’s choice of dual licensing and the GPL has come back to haunt Monty Widenius.

Q. Oracle can’t kill MySQL even if it

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Software patent game plays out
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Following the release of our report, ‘The Myth of Open Source License Proliferation’ and during research for it, we heard and sensed a feeling that open source software licenses had evolved to become a generally well-accepted piece of the the enterprise IT and IP market. However, we also heard from numerous vendors, developers and other individuals that the next battlefront is obviously software patents, which are in need of reform, according to many supporters of free and open source software.

This week, we saw some of the software patent skirmishes that are driving and validating this thinking. There was first news that the Open Invention Network, the consortium dedicated to legal and IP defense of Linux, had bought some

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The EC is mostly, but not entirely, wrong about Oracle/MySQL
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By now you are probably aware that the European Commission has decided to launch an extended investigation into Oracle’s acquisition of Sun based on concerns over MySQL.

The new has prompted a lot of criticism of the EC, much of it suggesting that the delay will do considerable harm to Sun (and therefore Oracle). This argument is valid - Sun’s already declining revenue has been in freefall since the deal was announced and one wonders how far it will fall in another 90 days of stasis.

Other criticism, (such as this from Matt Asay) focuses on the suggestion that the delay will do little to help MySQL or its users, and that the EC fails to understand open

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On the GPL, Apache and Open-Core
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Jay has already provided a good overview of the debate related to the apparent decline in the usage of the GPLv2. I don’t intend to cover the same ground, but I did want to quickly respond to a statement made by Matt Asay in his assessment of the reasons for and implications of reduced GPLv2 usage.

He wrote:

“as Open Core becomes the default business model for ‘pure-play’ open-source companies, we will see more software licensed under the Apache license”

I don’t doubt that we will see more software licensed under the Apache license, and also more vendors making use of

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Microsoft contributes to Linux kernel: a CAOS Theory Q&A
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Microsoft has announced that it is to contribute code to the Linux kernel development effort under the GNU General Public License (GPL) v2. What on earth does it all mean? Here’s our take on the situation. With thanks to Jay Lyman for his contribution to the following:

Q. This is a joke, right?

A. Not at all, although if any announcement is better suited to the image above, we can’t think of one. Microsoft has announced that it is going to contribute code to Linux under the GPLv2.

Q. What code is Microsoft

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Why Profitability is Critical for Open Source Software
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Where are you going to invest your time and money. You may invest in your kids, your work, your hobbies, and more. As you make these decisions, your passion is one consideration, but another is the return on your investment. Of course, you want your investments to be successful. The best way to ensure success is to bet on winners. In other words, you want to invest your time and money on things you are confident will be successful. This holds true in your personal and your professional life.

When Alexandre Dumas (on a side note, my wife refers to me regularly as a Dumas) said that "Nothing succeeds like success" he was encapsulating this same decision process and the conclusion that people want to bet on winners, and that by so doing, they are perpetuating that winning.

So what does this have to do with open source software (OSS)? I received a note from

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Why Profitability is Critical for Open Source Software
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Where are you going to invest your time and money. You may invest in your kids, your work, your hobbies, and more. As you make these decisions, your passion is one consideration, but another is the return on your investment. Of course, you want your investments to be successful. The best way to ensure success is to bet on winners. In other words, you want to invest your time and money on things you are confident will be successful. This holds true in your personal and your professional life.

When Alexandre Dumas (on a side note, my wife refers to me regularly as a Dumas) said that "Nothing succeeds like success" he was encapsulating this same decision process and the conclusion that people want to bet on winners, and that by so doing, they are perpetuating that winning.

So what does this have to do with open source software (OSS)? I

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Free Software vs. Gratis Software
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A lot of folks are unclear on the subtleties of free software and open source. Mike Hogan writes a blog article"Is Hybrid Licensing of OSS Hypocrisy?" to try to shed some light on this. With respect, I think he has missed part of it.We're talking about two orthogonal things here. One is open-source versus closed-source, and the other is whether we charge money for software licenses or not. As
Is Hybrid Licensing of OSS Hypocricy?
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In a comment to my prior post , Roland Bouman raised the issue mixed messages inherent in the dual-licensing model of open source. There is more context to his comment, but he says: "I am all for commercial open source. I am just curious how you feel you can logically defend both ‘take us we’re open and free’ and ‘take us we offer quality paid for extras’."

There are many articles written on the topic of free open source and hybrid models, so in the words of Inigo Montoya from Princess Bride: "… let me

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Is Hybrid Licensing of OSS Hypocricy?
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In a comment to my prior post , Roland Bouman raised the issue mixed messages inherent in the dual-licensing model of open source. There is more context to his comment, but he says: "I am all for commercial open source. I am just curious how you feel you can logically defend both ‘take us we’re open and free’ and ‘take us we offer quality paid for extras’."

There are many articles written on the topic of free open source and hybrid models, so in the words of Inigo Montoya from Princess Bride:

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Show Me the Money!…Monetizing Open Source
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OK, you’ve released your open source product and built a huge userbase. Now your shareholders/investors are pressing you to monetize that userbase. How do you do it? There are many ways to monetize open source. For simplicity, let’s segment the revenue sources according to who is paying:

Users :
Your users probably downloaded your product for free. Some are willing to pay for certified/approved distributions, maintenance, updates, support and more. Because open source turns your product and services into commodities, you will need to leverage your brand, and the expertise that it embodies, to maintain premium pricing.

Another good revenue source is certified education. If you’ve built a large userbase, businesses clearly see value in your product. As a result, employees and job-seekers will enhance their personal value and marketability if they


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Show Me the Money!…Monetizing Open Source
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OK, you’ve released your open source product and built a huge userbase. Now your shareholders/investors are pressing you to monetize that userbase. How do you do it? There are many ways to monetize open source. For simplicity, let’s segment the revenue sources according to who is paying:

Users :
Your users probably downloaded your product for free. Some are willing to pay for certified/approved distributions, maintenance, updates, support and more. Because open source turns your product and services into commodities, you will need to leverage your brand, and the expertise that it embodies, to maintain premium pricing.

Another good revenue source is certified education. If you’ve built a large userbase, businesses clearly see value in your product. As a result, employees and job-seekers will enhance their personal value and marketability if they are


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Revenue: Open Source vs. Closed Source
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"The support model doesn’t scale well." - Matthew Aslett, The 451 Group

How do you make money with open source? I’ve written about open source business models previously, but I thought it might be valuable to quantify the impact of open source on your business model. The following analyzes the differences between a closed source model and an open source + paid support business model, using an apples-to-apples comparison based on a $100 license fee for the closed source product.

Option 1: Closed source
License Fee: $100
Annual Maintenance & Support: $18 (18%)
5-Year Present Value of License + Support: $175 (1)
Conversion Rate: 100%
Userbase: 1X
Relative Revenue: $175

Option 2: Open source
License Fee:







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GPL Licensing and MySQL Storage Engines
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The spirit and intent of the Free Software Foundation (FSF) and the GPL license are right on target. However, we must be careful to ensure that the GPL license is interpreted in a manner fulfills the spirit and intent behind its framing. Richard Stallman and associates set out to draft a license agreement that ensures that free software remains free. They didn’t want to see open source become corrupted with the insertion of proprietary code that would eat away at the freedoms they envisioned.

To protect the eternal purity of the open source software, they created constraints on how proprietary code can interact with the GPL code. Their one weapon in this battle is the automatic and forced expansion of their GPL license to any code that integrates with the base GPLed code. I often refer to this process as acting like a virus. I don’t use this term to infer

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Are closed-source MySQL storage engines compatible with MariaDB?
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Following the launch of the Open Database Alliance some people have assumed that it is only a matter of time before MariaDB becomes the de facto replacement for MySQL.

That assumes that Oracle will allow the development of MySQL to stagnate, either deliberately or through neglect - something that we have expressed our doubts about, but even if that were the case it appears that the GPL (or more to the point MySQL’s dual licensing strategy) may restrict the potential for MariaDB.

Curt Monash recently raised the question of whether closed-source storage engines can be used with MySQL (and, by

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Open Source Licensing Considerations
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The two predominant forms of open source licenses are BSD and GPL. PostgreSQL is licensed under the BSD license , while MySQL is licensed under GPL . While the details are arcane, the business impact is significant, and that is what this post addresses.

The BSD (or BSD-style) License: This license basically says: ‘This code is provided as is, do what you want with it, and include this copyright in your resulting product.’

The GPL License: This license, also known as the copyleft license, essentially says: ‘This is free and distributed as source code, and any addition or extension must also be distributed under these exact terms.’

BSD essentially says I prefer open source code, so I’m

  [Read more...]
What hasn’t changed with MySQL
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Jetlagged from transatlantic travel, I woke up in the middle of the Californian night thinking about what has changed since I arrived at the MySQL Conference in Santa Clara on Sunday evening. I was pondering all the questions MySQL users and Sun colleagues were asking at the event, and what the user base was thinking out loud on Twitter yesterday.

What has changed is obviously that Sun Microsystems and Oracle announced they have entered into a definitive agreement under which Oracle will acquire Sun.

What further changes we will see as a

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When are you required to have a commercial MySQL license?
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As you may know, MySQL has a dual-licensing model. You can get the source under the GPL version 2, or you can buy a commercial license.

I’ve recently been hearing a lot of confusion about when you have to buy a commercial license. People I’ve spoken to wrongly believe that they’re required to purchase a license if they’re going to use MySQL in anything but a not-for-profit business, for example. I don’t know how these notions get started, but they do.

So when are you required to buy a commercial license? It’s very simple: when you want to do something with MySQL that the GPL doesn’t permit.

I am not a lawyer, and you should do your own legal research, but misinterpretation of the GPL is rampant and I

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Free Culture vs. Fear Culture vs. Fee Culture
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Last week, my good colleague Gerv gently took me to task about requiring that videos submitted to the Mozilla Net Effects video program be licensed under the Creative Common NonCommercial-ShareAlike license (instead of an actual Free Culture licensed like Creative Common ShareAlike license or Creative Common Attribution license) . I thought about this for a while and got to wondering why I’d ever let fear of misuse overcome my experience and common sense.

Licensing and contract choices are often driven by fear and greed. We work, play, love and give in an environment

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Balancing community and enterprise needs
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When Monty Widenius published his criticisms of MySQL 5.1 recently a lot of the coverage that followed focused on his belief that the product had been made generally available too early and has too many serious bugs.

A solution to this problem would have been told hold 5.1 back even longer for more testing or, better still, not to have announced it as a release candidate so early. However, reading Monty’s post in full indicates that this would be a matter of treating the symptoms rather than finding a cure.

He also wrote: “the MySQL current development model doesn’t in practice allow the MySQL community to participate in the development of the MySQL server” and “I think it’s time to seriously review how the MySQL server is being developed and

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Christensen’s law in the context of open source business models
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I wrote yesterday that Christensen’s law of Conservation of Attractive Profits could be used to explain why open source vendors are increasingly turning to hybrid development and licensing strategies to generate revenue from open source.

Before I could think about doing so Arjen Lentz wrote a comment that did a lot of the explaining for me.

To recap, “The Law of Conservation of Attractive Profits”, articulated by Clayton Christensen in his book The Innovator’s Solution, states:

    “When attractive profits disappear at one stage in the value chain because a product becomes modular and

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In Argentina, Uruguay and Chile
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After a few days at home in Munich, I was fortunate enough to fly to the Southern Hemisphere again. This time, I’m in Argentina, planning to visit also Uruguay and Chile.

I plan to meet with many Sun customers and MySQL users, and talk about Open Source. All Libre, some of it even Gratuita. The sign on the right is from Jardin Botánico in Buenos Aires, where I had some

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