Feeds

MySQL, NuSphere Settle GPL Contract Dispute

Friends again

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Intelligent flash storage arrays

ComputerWire: IT Industry Intelligence

Open source database vendors MySQL AB and Progress Software Corp's NuSphere Corp business have settled their differences over a contract dispute that very nearly became a legal test case for the open source GNU General Public License (GPL).

Uppsala, Sweden-based MySQL AB and Bedford, Massachusetts-based NuSphere have buried the hatchet after being urged to reach an out-of-court settlement in their contract dispute by Boston, Massachusetts US District Court Judge Patti Saris back in March. A joint statement from the two companies stated that they had settled their dispute regarding the use of MySQL AB's trademarks, copyrights and compliance with the GPL.

Details of the settlement have not been given, although it appears that NuSphere has agreed to sign over to MySQL AB the copyrights for its contributions to the MySQL database management system, while MySQL AB has issued a letter verifying that NuSphere is compliant with the GPL.

According to the two companies: "The settlement resolves all outstanding issues between the two companies including ownership and use of trademarks and domain names and assignment to MySQL AB of copyrights for all NuSphere contributions to the MySQL program, and MySQL AB has issued a letter to NuSphere Corporation verifying GPL compliance."

The legal spat between the two former partners originates from a June 2000 agreement through which NuSphere licensed the right to distribute and support the MySQL database and agreed to make payments of "up to $2.5m" to MySQL AB. The deal also marked the first release of MySQL under the GPL.

NuSphere angered MySQL AB when it set up the mysql.org community web site and MySQL AB sued NuSphere for trademark infringement and further claimed it had only received just over $312,000 from NuSphere. It also asserted that NuSphere had infringed the GPL by not releasing its Gemini transactional storage engine addition to MySQL under the GPL.

NuSphere denied the allegation, arguing that it had released the Gemini technology under the GPL, even though it was not required to do so as Gemini is not actually a derivative of the MySQL program. It also argued that payments in addition to the $312,000 were subject to further agreements being made between the two companies.

The contract wrangling almost became a legal test case for the GPL - which, while widely recognized as a binding agreement between developers, has yet to be tested in a court of law - when the Free Software Foundation (FSF) released a statement that NuSphere had lost the right to distribute MySQL due to an infringement of the GPL.

Judge Saris effectively scotched the possibility of a legal test case when she refused to allow arguments to expand beyond the trademark dispute. Saris indicated that she was inclined to grant MySQL AB's motion for a preliminary injunction with respect to the trademark issue, but was not inclined to grant the preliminary injunction against NuSphere from using the MySQL code.

Although no motion was formally granted, Judge Saris urged both parties to come to an out-of-court settlement. With that settlement now in place it appears that the FSF will have to wait until another legal dispute to finally put doubts over the legal validity of the GPL to rest.

© ComputerWire

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
Nexus 7 fandroids tell of salty taste after sucking on Google's Lollipop
Web giant looking into why version 5.0 of Android is crippling older slabs
Be real, Apple: In-app goodie grab games AREN'T FREE – EU
Cupertino stands down after Euro legal threats
Download alert: Nearly ALL top 100 Android, iOS paid apps hacked
Attack of the Clones? Yeah, but much, much scarier – report
SLURP! Flick your TONGUE around our LOLLIPOP – Google
Android 5 is coming – IF you're lucky enough to have the right gadget
Microsoft: Your Linux Docker containers are now OURS to command
New tool lets admins wrangle Linux apps from Windows
Bada-Bing! Mozilla flips Firefox to YAHOO! for search
Microsoft system will be the default for browser in US until 2020
prev story

Whitepapers

Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Protecting against web application threats using SSL
SSL encryption can protect server‐to‐server communications, client devices, cloud resources, and other endpoints in order to help prevent the risk of data loss and losing customer trust.
Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile
Data demand and the rise of virtualization is challenging IT teams to deliver storage performance, scalability and capacity that can keep up, while maximizing efficiency.