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MySQL Plays in the Sun

MySQL, much beloved among the Open Source community, has recently been acquired by Sun Microsystems for the small pittance of (insert picture of Dr. Evil here) one billion dollars in cash and stock options. How this will affect end users, and open source in general, is still up in the air, but understanding a little bit about the history of open source and the two businesses should help to give us a clearer picture of what is really at stake.

  1. MySQL Plays in the Sun
  2. Sun Microsystems
  3. MySQL AB
  4. Affects of the Merger
By: James Payne
Rating: starstarstarstarstar / 2
January 22, 2008

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History of Open Source

Created by Bruce Perens and Eric Raymond in 1997, the Open Source Definition lists ten conditions that must be met for a license to be considered as open source:

  1. Freely Distributed: The software can either be sold or given away for free.

  2. Source Code: The source code must be included with the program or obtained for free.

  3. Derived Works: Modifications must be allowed to be redistributed.

  4. Integrity of the Author's Source Code: Licenses can require that modifications be redistributed as patches.

  5. No discrimination against persons or groups.

  6. No discrimination against fields of endeavor.

  7. Distribution of license: Rights that are attached to the program have to apply to everyone the program is redistributed to without the parties needing an additional license.

  8. License must not be specific to a product.

  9. License must not restrict other software.

  10. License must be technology neutral.

In short, open source means that the programmer not only gets the source code, but has the right to use it as they see fit. If this is not true, then the license is deemed shared source.

Today the term “open source” can be applied to many fields, including journalism, politics, and ecology.

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