We have no intention of stopping development of MySQL. Over time, MySQL will be 100% ANSI 92 compatible. As we still want MySQL to be fast, we will always give the user the option of specifying the removal of features which make a normal SQL server slow.
As an example, the GRANT system will not have any speed impact unless you use this to restrict table or column access.
The current “TODO” list can be found in the MySQL manual at www.mysql.com/doc.html. Everything in this list is in the order we plan to implement it.
We have worked many years with GNU/BSD and other programs from the Net and have always believed that programs should be available in source. Because of this, we chose to use the same license as Aladdin GhostScript for the MySQL server on UNIX, and we made the client's completely free.
By the time this article reaches publication, there should be an old version of MySQL (3.20) with a GPL copyright available. We will continue releasing old versions under the GPL.
This means that for normal (even commercial) internal use on UNIX systems, MySQL costs nothing. You do not have to pay us if you do not want to. A license is required only if:
You sell the MySQL server directly or as a part of another product or service.
You charge for installing and maintaining a MySQL server at some client's site.
You include MySQL in a distribution that is non-redistributable, and you charge for some part of that distribution.
You use MySQL on a Win32 (Windows 95, 98, NT or Windows 2000) system.
For circumstances under which a MySQL license is required, you need a license per machine that runs the mysqld server. However, a multiple-CPU machine needs only one license, and there is no restriction on the number of MySQL servers that can run on one machine, or on the number of clients concurrently connected to a server running on that machine.
The following points set forth the philosophy behind our licensing policy:
The SQL client library should be totally free so that it can be included in commercial products without limitation.
People who want free access to the software into which we have put much work can have it, as long as they do not try to make money directly by distributing it for profit.
People who want the right to keep their own software proprietary, but also want the value from our work, can pay for the privilege.
That means normal in-house use is free. But if you use MySQL for something important to you, you may want to help further its development by purchasing a support contract or by contributing documentation, code samples or something else.
Our policy is that no one should have to pay for normal upgrades. In the future, we may require a new license for major upgrades with major new features (like transaction support). This means that in the long run, MySQL will be a very good investment compared to other databases.
As Win32 is a highly commercial OS with very high development costs (and development pains), we see no other alternative than to provide MySQL-Win32 only to paying customers, users who have helped us with MySQL in some way or users who think they can contribute to any part of MySQL. If we did this in any other way, we could not afford to continue developing MySQL on Win32 or even keep this version up to date with the UNIX version. In effect, we let users who run Win32 pay for the development of tools of our other operating systems.
David Axmark (firstname.lastname@example.org) lives in Uppsala, Sweden with his plants and computers. He has been working as a software consultant for over 15 years.
Michael Widenius lives in Helsingfors, Finland with his wife and his two kids My and Max. He also has been working as a software consultant for over 15 years.
Among the things both authors have worked with are software for a one-card computer used by power companies, a video-rental system, a state-of-the-art market research system, advanced business graphics, a word processor that could handle Z80 Assembler+Basic, and a full operating system for an 8-bit computer (Z80) and many other other projects.