I don’t spend a lot of time with the politics/legalese of Open Source. I understand it as far as I need to so I can make sure my clients are following the GPL (or equivalent) license.
But I respect The Denim Group, so I read this post with some interest.
MySQL (which my clients do often use) is not releasing their Enterprise source anymore to anyone that isn’t a paying customer. That is annoying, but doesn’t sound THAT bad on the face of things.
What is bad is what will happen, as The Denim group points out – all of the MySQL Enterprise customers have to release the source code to MySQL Enterprise if they modify it.
So every customer that pays MySQL for Enterprise must want the source so they can change it, wouldn’t you think? That means they are legally obligated to release that code as open source.
So now, instead of having ONE core open source tree to look at we will have a wide variety of mixes and mismatches and chaos will ensue (really – it will!). “Incompatibility” will impregnate “Mismatching Versions” – and they will name the baby “Data Corrupted“.
Perhaps these companies based on open source need to remember their roots. Putting silly roadblocks in the way of the world of open source fans won’t stop them from getting what they want – it only invites a lot of wasted time and effort that could be otherwise focused on actually improving the projects. This kind of reminds me of the Ruby On Rails security issues from about a year ago. The RoR folks wouldn’t disclose what the problem was, but immediately after the security fixes were checked into the repository, people watching the repository looked at the diffs involved with the fixes and posted details. Instead of disclosing the issue and freeing up time for developers to determine how to proceed with the rollout of the fixes, RoR essentially guaranteed that a bunch of time would be wasted reverse engineering obvious information. Same thing here: the MySQL source and the BitTorrent protocol information will remain available, but now folks will have to waste time re-posting and reverse engineering. Silly…