[kwlug-disc] MySQL vs. PostGres license differences?

Khalid Baheyeldin kb at 2bits.com
Sat Feb 27 10:43:19 EST 2010

On Sat, Feb 27, 2010 at 4:55 AM, unsolicited <unsolicited at swiz.ca> wrote:

> Was talking with a friend tonight who had looked at the MySQL and Postgres
> licenses (I have not), and he noted that Postgres was absolutely free, while
> MySQL was only free for internally developed apps, in a commercial
> installation.

This is a mis-characterization, bordering on FUD.

> What is the issue, and is it an issue in practice?

PostgreSQL is BSD licensed. Therefore, companies can take it, modify it, and
close it off as much as they like under proprietary licenses. Much like what
Apple did to NetBSD for example, and more practically, what a company like
EnterpriseDB is (a PostgreSQL proprietary derivative).

MySQL is dual licensed. The community version is GPL, and hence it is not
any different from the Linux kernel, Drupal or other GPL software.

The proprietary license is how MySQL made their money: they told people who
want to embed MySQL in commercial applications and then sell them to get a
license that would not make their application GPL because of linking to it.

There are some subtle details and a bit of controversy that I will cover in
the May meeting about MySQL.

But, the bottom line is: if you want to just use MySQL then there are no
issues, it is as free as they come. If you want to incorporate it in a
closed source product that will sell/distribute, then you should investigate
Khalid M. Baheyeldin
2bits.com, Inc.
Drupal optimization, development, customization and consulting.
Simplicity is prerequisite for reliability. --  Edsger W.Dijkstra
Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication. --   Leonardo da Vinci
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