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Stallman calls on EU to set MySQL free

Tear down this wall, chants free software guru

Reducing security risks from open source software

Richard Stallman demanded the EU cut MySQL loose from Oracle yesterday in an open letter to Brussels' competition supremo Neelie Kroes.

The self-described software freedom activist's intervention came just a day after MySQL founder Monty Widenius made a similar call, saying that Oracle could offset the EU's go-slow examination of its purchase of Sun by simply putting MySQL on the block.

In yesterday's letter, also signed by James Love and Malini Aisola of Knowledge Ecology International and Jim Killock of the Open Rights Group Stallman says that Oracle's objective in borging MySQL is to prevent further market share erosion and "to protect the high prices now charged for its proprietary database software licenses and services".

"If Oracle is allowed to acquire MySQL, it will predictably limit the development of the functionality and performance of the MySQL software platform, leading to profound harm to those who use MySQL software to power applications," he claims.

"Defenders of the Oracle acquisition of its competitor naively say Oracle cannot harm MySQL, because a free version of the software is available to anyone under GNU GPL version 2.0, and if Oracle is not a good host for the GPL version of the code, future development will be taken up by other businesses and individual programmers, who could freely and easily 'fork' the GPL'd code into a new platform."

By preventing forking, he claims, Oracle will prevent innovation.

He adds that Oracle has been ominously "conspicuously silent about its plans for MySQL".

Widenius and Stallman's demands come just a week after former MySQL CEO Marten Mickos called on the EU to get on with approving the buy, and said that "Oracle has as many compelling business reasons to continue the ramp-up of the MySQL business as Sun Microsystems and MySQL previously did, or even more." ®

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