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MySQL AB Settles With NuSphere 117

Posted by chrisd
from the exclamation-point dept.
PCM2 writes "It appears that MySQL AB has settled its dispute with NuSphere over use of the MySQL trademarks. CEO Marten Mickos has punctuated the occasion with a donation to the FSF -- but there's no mention of what the actual terms of the settlement were, and there's no statement on NuSphere's site either (yet)."
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MySQL AB Settles With NuSphere

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  • Cool (Score:4, Funny)

    by InnovATIONS (588225) on Thursday November 07, 2002 @07:13PM (#4621081)
    As long as I don't have to start calling it GNU/MySQL I will be satisfied.
  • However (Score:5, Funny)

    by nizcolas (597301) on Thursday November 07, 2002 @07:13PM (#4621083) Homepage Journal
    What has not been settled is the debate over the pronounciation of SQL.

    • ess queue el
    • Here I thought that in the open source community it was pronounced ess cue el, where in the commercial community it was pronounced redundant.

      -Rusty
    • What has not been settled is the debate over the pronounciation of SQL.

      It's pronounced, sqqqqqueeeealllllllll, like a pig.

      It's the sound Ned Beatty made in that memorable scene in Deliverance [imdb.com].
    • An idea (Score:5, Funny)

      by sheWhoWalksWithToesL (606460) on Thursday November 07, 2002 @07:20PM (#4621151)
      We could start pronouncing it "squirrel".... As in "uh-oh", the squirrel is hosed." or MY squirrel is more secure than YOUR squirrel."

    • ...and there was me thinking I'd cleared that up in my last Slashdot post [slashdot.org].

      In summary: either S - Q - L or "sequel", interchangeably. Or "squirrel" if you're a freak [grin]

      Cheers,
    • MySQL in Swedish (Score:1, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Actually in swedish MySQL can be pronounced "myskul" (not at all pronounced like "my skull" by the way...) wich means something like "cozy fun"

      Isn't that fun... and cozy.
    • Judge Saris, at the preliminary injunction hearing, kept mangling the pronounciation -- my ess kweeee el, mysquuuul, I think even mysquirrel at one point.

      BTW, thanks for the donation, MySQL.
    • What has not been settled is the debate over the pronounciation of SQL.

      We better solve this. Otherwise the ambiguity will just encourage some astronomer to name a new trans-Plutonian asteroid after it.
    • as long as the US President is pronouncing "nuclear" as "nucular", the correct pronounciation of SQL is not all that important.
    • I pronounce it 'them words', being as I am from the North of England
      (that's the old England in the Yoo Kay, for those of you who's forefathers (and mothers) came from over here).

      As in 'Make a statement using them words and bung it in the database'.

      --Jargon for Jerx
      (yet to be published - probably never) ;)
  • by Blimey85 (609949) on Thursday November 07, 2002 @07:14PM (#4621098)
    Hi!

    MySQL AB is pleased to announce that it has settled its lawsuit with Progress Software Corporation and NuSphere Corporation. For more information, see the joint press release at

    http://www.mysql.com/press/release_2002_14.html [mysql.com]

    Regards, Monty

  • by ekrout (139379) on Thursday November 07, 2002 @07:17PM (#4621125) Journal
    With OS X came a bundling of MySQL, and CTOs (Chief Technology Officers) across the country thought to themselves that "Hey, if a big profitable company puts this package of OpenSource software into their flagship OS, it must be OK to use. Let's stop dishing out tens of thousands of dollars a year to Oracle and let's just use this free RDBMS implementation." (Sure, PostreSQL is a bit more weathered, but both are pretty nice considering their price).

    Wider acceptance of MySQL and its related products/technologies is a good thing, and solving this NuSphere trademark violation is only a good thing in my mind.
  • Kudos (Score:3, Interesting)

    by citking (551907) <jay@@@citking...net> on Thursday November 07, 2002 @07:20PM (#4621152) Homepage
    I'm glad they both had the sense to overcome this legal dispute. M$ was probably ready for this to fall through and use it as a marketing technique for their SQL server. Whoops!
  • by scherrey (13000) on Thursday November 07, 2002 @07:22PM (#4621171) Homepage
    Can someone post a BRIEF summary of what the lawsuit was about? I can't tell from the annoucement what the issues were that were resolved.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 07, 2002 @08:06PM (#4621481)
      As far as i can tell:
      • MySQL offers two versions of their product: a closed-source and a GPL version. The two are absolutely identical except for license. If you want to use MySQL, you just download the free GPL version. However, if you want to incorporate the code to MySQL into one of your own projects, you must either abide by the terms of the GPLed version, or you must pay MySQL AB-- the corporation who owns the copyright on MySQL's code-- for a license to incorporate the non-GPL-restricted version.
      • Nusphere entered into some kind of "interrim" contract with MySQL AB whereby they licensed the code, to incorporate into their own "improved" version of MySQL. However, MySQL AB claims that this contract was limited-time, and had expired utterly by the time this next bit happened:
      • Nusphere registered Mysql.org, on which they then set up and started selling their closed-source "improved" version of MySQL. This website presented itself as if Nusphere were the creator of MySQL, and did not at any point reveal to readers of the website that they were selling a product that was A) created by others and B) available for free elsewhere.
      • Then Nusphere sued MySQL, but i don't know why.
      • About a month after this MySQL sued Nusphere on two counts, first that they were in violation of the GPL by selling their product closed-source-- since the unrestricted licence Nusphere had obtained had expired by this point-- and second that they were in violation of trademark law, because they said that even though the GPL gave nusphere the right to the code, it did not give them to right to market under the "MySQL" name or at the mysql.org internet address.

      Please correct anything i have wrong. There are a couple FAQs linked elsewhere in this discussion.
  • by martenmickos (467191) on Thursday November 07, 2002 @07:22PM (#4621178)

    We are very glad it is over now. Thanks to all of you (and there were many of you) who supported us through this process. You are doing a great job defending free software and open source principles.

    Marten Mickos, MySQL AB
  • by ekrout (139379) on Thursday November 07, 2002 @07:24PM (#4621193) Journal
    I didn't know much every single detail regarding this whole argument until I read this page [mysql.com] of frequently asked question on the MySQL vs. NuSphere dispute.

    It talks about who actually created the software, as well as their take on others' claims that MySQL AB attempted to "change rules in mid-agreement" with NuSphere.
  • Good News (Score:2, Informative)

    by mwdib (56263)
    Pleased to see the settlement. I've made extensive use of Nusphere's mysql-related product line and PHPEd. Excellent products in a nicely bundled form. BTW, I think Nusphere has some of the best mySQL training around.
  • by Blimey85 (609949) on Thursday November 07, 2002 @07:26PM (#4621211)
    is the fact that Oracle won't allow benchmarks to be published without their written consent, and of course your not going to get their consent unless your benchmark shows them in a favorable light.

    MySQL on the other hand is much more open. Maybe that's because they are faster in most situations, or maybe it's because they really do have a better philosophy.

    If you look at what happened between MySQL and NuSphere, MySQL was never out to crucify anyone. They don't verbally bash anyone or toot their own horn. Look at what they say on their website about their own benchmarks and how they repeatedly point out that the competing products they have tested were not completely optimized due to their lack of knowledge regarding optimizations for those products.

    I think MySQL will eventually be the dominant database for two reasons:

    • It's easier/faster
    • It cots a lot less than Oracle
    And to top it all off, they are a company that we can feel good about supporting. I have a feeling that if they were to become as large as MS, they would never try anything dirty to gain greater market share or to hold on to what they already have. I think a few other companies could do well to learn by the example MySQL has given us. You don't have to play dirty to get ahead.
    • If you look at what happened between MySQL and NuSphere, MySQL was never out to crucify anyone. They don't verbally bash anyone or toot their own horn. Look at what they say on their website about their own benchmarks and how they repeatedly point out that the competing products they have tested were not completely optimized due to their lack of knowledge regarding optimizations for those products.

      It's still kind of odd that in their competitive comparison system, crash-me [mysql.com], some candidate features that are listed when you compare two other database products disappear when you add mySQL to the list you're comparing.

      For instance, transactions are excluded from comparison whenever you ask to compare a database with mySQL 3.23.39. (They are included if you compare mySQL 3.23.29, in which case crash-me correctly reports that mySQL does not support transactions.)

      Try it yourself. Go to crash-me with the above link. Check only the boxes for two non-mySQL databases (such as Oracle and Access, or PostgreSQL and Informix), and submit the form. Scroll down to the "Other features" section, near the bottom. You will see a row labeled "transactions". Now, go back and check the box for mySQL 3.2.39, and resubmit the page. Presto -- no line for transactions.

      I'm trying to see this in a positive or even neutral light, but let me be truthful -- I can't. I don't see any honest reason that this special case would be added to the crash-me code. The only reason I can see that mySQL.com would add this behavior to their test suite would be to conceal -- indeed, to "un-ask" -- the question of whether or not mySQL supports transactions.

      • At very best that would be a bug. There is no reason that MySQL as a company would need to conceal that the product had not supported transactions until some point. That's public knowledge, and a well known fact.

        If you had contributed your effort to sending an email to MySQL AB instead of posting to slashdot, the bug could've been fixed when you first found it. I have, however, sent the content of your post on to the web guys.
        • by Bruce Perens (3872) <bruce@perens.com> on Thursday November 07, 2002 @09:00PM (#4621801) Homepage Journal
          The underlying database, which was Sleepycat the last time I checked, has been transactional for quite some time. Go look at their site or even read their book. I don't know what the status is of transactions in the SQL engine.

          Bruce

          • You've posted several other times about this. The "underlying engine" in MySQL is *not* Sleepycat's BDB.

            On most installations of MySQL, the "underlying engine" (which we call a "table handler") is MyISAM, an ISAM-based storage engine created by Monty Widenius, the founder and original creator of MySQL. MySQL has been from the start created so that the table handler could be easily swapped out for a newer/better/more featureful one if needbe. In version 3.23 we added support for Sleepycat's BerkeleyDB (which supports transactions and page-level locking) and also added support for Innobase Oy's InnoDB (which supports transactions, row-level locking, and multiversioning, among other features).

            You can find more info at:
            MySQL Manual: Table types [mysql.com]

            Regards,
            Jeremy Cole, Sr. Trainer and Consultant, MySQL AB
        • If you had contributed your effort to sending an email to MySQL AB instead of posting to slashdot, the bug could've been fixed when you first found it.

          Actually, I alerted webmaster@mysql.com the first time I noticed it -- months ago -- and never heard back. I notice that they seem to have corrected the matter now, regardless of how it originated. Apparently, raising visibility of this problem in this public forum was successful in getting it fixed -- a pattern that I am familiar with from security-related forums.

          I'm not willing to withdraw speculation that it was intentional, though, considering mySQL's untruths [uk7.net] regarding the value of vital RDBMS functionality they hadn't at the time bothered to implement. This is a crew with a history of being dishonest about comparison between their product and others, by belittling an essential relational feature their product was missing.

          Few pieces of software include in their documentation fallacious "explanations" of why a feature that all their competitors have, but they lack, is bad and unnecessary. It is only to be expected that those who do, and then go on to implement and promote those very "bad and unnecessary" features, would then remove the offending libels from the documentation. The link above includes a quote from mySQL documentation from before it supported relational integrity (aka "foreign key constraints"). You will note that the extravagant claims of integrity being unnecessary and confusing have been removed from the current mySQL documentation. Convenient.

          If you have an explanation of how a bug could give rise to the dropping of this particular test from the crash-me results only when a version of mySQL was being evaluated, please do post it here. I will be glad to retract my speculation if it is disproven. Be crash-me's omission bug, or be it lie, no matter -- bugs and lies have in common a dislike for exposure.

          • I can't speak for the webmaster@ alias as I am not part of it, but I sent the text of Bruce's post to our web guys and got the following reply:

            From jimw@mysql.com Thu Nov 7 21:52:51 2002
            Date: Thu, 7 Nov 2002 16:36:53 -0800
            From: Jim Winstead
            To: Jeremy Cole
            Subject: Re: BUG: crash-me can't decide about transactions

            it's a typo in the mysql and mysql-3.23 result files. the fix will get
            pushed to the site shortly.

            the 'transactions' row was mislabeled as 'constant string size in where'
            if you included either of those result files.

            jim

            I hope that answers your questions and suspicions!
    • I think MySQL will eventually be the dominant database for two reasons:
      • It's easier/faster
      • It cots a lot less than Oracle


      I use MySQL and Oracle 8i and 9i in my professional and personal lives, and while MySQL is very useful for quick 'n' easy databases, it is not something I would want to build a real-life large application around, for the simple reason that it is SO nice to be able to embed a nice set of business rules right in the database. That, for me, gives Oracle the edge currently. And yes, MySQL will, I have no doubt, grow these features essential for large and complex applications. And guess what? It will get slower/harder as it does so, and I also believe it will get more expensive.
      • In these cases, PostgreSQL is probably a viable candidate. It has much better SQL support, triggers, support for stored procedures in multiple language types, and a MVCC locking system that even Oracle doesn't match.

        The 7.x series is pretty stable, and you can now vacuum without shutting down.

        That being said, MySQL is just a lot easier to work with, especially wrt modifying table structure, support tools, and access control. And having built in braindead replication is nice too.
    • I agree on how MySQL presents itself unbaised and openly...BUT

      It still can't replace Oracle...
      Once it can achieve Transactions, Subselects and a basic implementation of Triggers and Stored Procedures then it will really be considered a viable option to most problems that use Oracle right now.

      Or, if we put it the other way around: if, for the current applications that use MySQL, you replace it with Oracle it would be overkill.

      Maybe by the next iteration in it's design MySQL will offer more functionality... meanwhile PostgresSQL is the alternative.

      • It is transactional with Sleepycat, and ACID with InnoDB. Subselects are currently in development for 4.1 . Stored procedures are planned for 5.0 . They are looking at triggers.

        Bruce

        • and use a database written by people who didn't spend years denying that these features were useful, much less desirable...
          • What is it about Postgres that it keeps being ignored compared to MySQL? Perhaps MySQL is used by more people because it targets slightly smaller applications? Thus you hear it mentioned more?

            Or, perhaps the hard-to-remember name. Sounds like a fertilizer brand, to be frank.
        • So by 5.0, MySQL's technology will have joined the 1980's, mostly. They'll "look" at other basic features. How about views for example? In Oracle, I can write stored procedures in java. In PostgreSQL, I can write 'em in perl. Both give me MVCC as well as traditional locking, not to mention packages, user defined types, views, and oh yeah, triggers. Referential integrity is not a damn boondoggle.

          MySQL's a great sorta-SQL frontend to sleepycat, but I am sick unto death of hearing how everything should be moved to it. This sort of nonsense has real repurcussions, when I'm forced to work with a blunt tool because of the "buzz" it gets that it simply doesn't deserve at all.
    • " is the fact that Oracle won't allow benchmarks to be published without their written consent, and of course your not going to get their consent unless your benchmark shows them in a favorable light.

      Of course it's not just only Oracle with restrictions on publishing benchmarks. MS, Sun, McAfee and many others have similar clauses in their EULA's.

      Just think of the possibilities if this trend was extended to other industries. If Kia doesn't like the results of crash safety tests they could prohibit those results from being published.

    • is the fact that Oracle won't allow benchmarks to be published without their written consent, and of course your not going to get their consent unless your benchmark shows them in a favorable light

      No-one does, at least not anyone with a product that you can do a non-trivial amount of tuning to. It would be trivial, if you wanted to, to benchmark a deliberately misconfigured Oracle against a well-tuned MSSQL (or vice versa) on identical hardware to "prove" that one was better than the other. Only a qualified DBA would be able to spot it, if you also published the exact configurations of each system.

      MySQL on the other hand is much more open. Maybe that's because they are faster in most situations, or maybe it's because they really do have a better philosophy

      It's because there's almost no tuning you can do to MySQL. It's far too simple to be vulnerable to tricks. That might sound like a good thing, but all it means is that the developer made the tuning decisions for you, sure you can change them, but only if you recompile the server! Whereas with a real database, it's easy to have it tuned for OLTP during the day, batch at night, so you don't have to make any compromises.

      I think MySQL will eventually be the dominant database for two reasons:

      MySQL is in a funny position. It's too simple for real applications (no triggers, no stored procs, only get crude transactions and foreign keys, and even then only with a plugins, etc). But it's too complicated for grandmothers to use for their recipes. I think eventually MySQL will be driven out by SAP-DB, Interbase, PostgresQL etc - free databases that are actually feature-comparable with professional products.
  • Recap, FAQ (Score:5, Informative)

    by nsushkin (222407) on Thursday November 07, 2002 @07:33PM (#4621267)
    The original post doesn't explain the nature of the dispute. From the Dispute FAQ [mysql.com], I gather that the dispute is about MySQL trademark/brand.

    • Monty created MySQL as GPL software and later formed MySQL AB to commercialize it.
    • NuSphere sells non-GPL software statically linked to MySQL. NuSphere ships product in GPL violation. NuSphere acquires mysql.com domain.
    • MySQL AB complains, MySQL AB tries to get mysql.com domain back.
    • NuSphere sues MySQL for interference in business
    • MySQL AB countersues for trademark and license infringement
    • They bicker
    • They finally settle
    • Re:Recap, FAQ (Score:2, Informative)

      by nsushkin (222407)
      Note, that the Dispute FAQ reflects the point of view of MySQL AB [mysql.com].

      As of now, NuSphere's website [nusphere.com] doesn't seem to have any information about the dispute and search for "MySQL" [nusphere.com] returns

      NuSphere MySQL is a fast, reliable relational database management system for developing database-driven Web sites. The integrated distribution of MySQL, Apache, Perl, ..

    • Re:Recap, FAQ (Score:3, Informative)

      by Svenne (117693)
      Except that NuSphere aquired mysql.org, not com. mysql.org has never belonged to MySQL AB, it's just that it used to point directly at mysql.com before NuSphere aquired it.
    • nope....

      not mysql.com

      mysql.org

  • Now I can rest easy, knowing that they're are no more worries about those companies destroying each other. None of my mySQL installations are in danger. I'm off to celebrate!
  • GPL (Score:5, Insightful)

    by vlad_petric (94134) on Thursday November 07, 2002 @07:56PM (#4621428) Homepage
    It's good that they setled the dispute, however I think it would have been much better for the comunity if GPL were tested and proven valid in court. The reality is, there's tons of very valuable software under GPL, and noboy knows whether GPL is truly enforceable.

    The Raven

    • Re:GPL (Score:4, Interesting)

      by RealAlaskan (576404) on Thursday November 07, 2002 @08:39PM (#4621680) Homepage Journal
      ... and noboy knows whether GPL is truly enforceable.

      If the GPL is not valid, you have no right to distribute any GPLed software, unless you own the copyright. You can still use it, and fiddle with it, and on and on. But the GPL is the only thing which gives you the additional privilege of redistributing it.

      I hear a lot of nonsense about ``... the GPL has never been tested ...''. It's nonsense because testing the GPl will be a loose-loose proposition for the challenger. If he busts the GPL, he's left with no rights, other than the right to keep and use the copy (or copies) that he has paid for. If he wants to keep his right to redistribute, with or without changes, he'd better not bust the GPL, because then his only rights are the rights you get when you buy a book.

      • Re:GPL (Score:5, Informative)

        by Bruce Perens (3872) <bruce@perens.com> on Thursday November 07, 2002 @08:58PM (#4621787) Homepage Journal
        He's right. We can't find a sucker to be the defendant, because it very truly is a lose-lose proposition.

        Bruce

      • The court may find that the terms of the GPL licence has been upheld, even though it's done in such a way as to make it completely unusable for anyone else to work on.

        I can't really say how a lawyer could twist the GPL, but there's a few sections there where I'm sure they would:

        "reasonably considered independent and separate works" and "part of a whole" and "mere aggregation". Does for instance two separate installers, one for the GPL part, one for the rest go as "parts of a whole" or "separate works"? Or various wrappers / OS communications interfaces (COM etc.)? Or something like "preferred form of the work for making modifications to it". Oh sure, we prefer to make our modifications in assembler, right? Or "major components of the operating system" Why, IE, WMP and whatever are components of Windows, right?

        I'm not saying any of these parts *are* broken. But they don't hold much confidence until clearly defined by a court of law.

        I agree, a defendant would never try to bust the GPL, but he *could* break the results that the GPL tries to achieve. And that, would actually be a far worse result as it would put all GPL-licenced programs in the same situation.

        Kjella
    • by JoeBuck (7947)

      As Eben Moglen has said [gnu.org], the GPL has been enforced dozens of times. Potential violators have always backed down and settled before going to court, but that in itself is enforcement.

      The fact that no corporate lawyer has yet dared to challenge the FSF in court should tell you something. In many cases, the FSF obtains settlements that require senior managers to report to the FSF regularly on their use of GPL software and their efforts to comply with licenses.

    • Among other good things, this LinuxGram article [sys-con.com] says

      "It was the first time that the GPL, the cornerstone of the open source and free software movements, had been dragged before the bar. [...]

      In the process, a federal judge deemed the GPL enforceable and binding."

  • Many lawyers -- some of whom are proponents of open source software -- say that they see serious and fundamental problems in the GPL. It'd be nice to resolve these, and have a court rule one way or the other. Otherwise, there's too much FUD in the air. People just don't know where they really stand.

    One advantage of the Berkeley license is that it has been tested in court and ruled valid. And it doesn't have the most dicey quality of the GPL: its viral nature.

    • And it doesn't have the most dicey quality of the GPL: its viral nature.

      Brett, you'll be pleased to note that our scientists have come up with an inoculation that will protect you. Within six months, you should be able to go to any reputable doctor or medical clinic within the US, Canada, or the EU and receive the JDDMGSC* shot.

      * Just Don't Distribute Modified GPLd Source Code

  • by Corydon76 (46817)
    Well, if you look in the WHOIS database, part of the settlement is listed there. Looks like MySQL AB now owns the domain mysql.org and not NuSphere anymore.
  • ... Any resemblance between the above views and those of my employer,
    my terminal, or the view out my window are purely coincidental. Any
    resemblance between the above and my own views is non-deterministic. The
    question of the existence of views in the absence of anyone to hold them
    is left as an exercise for the reader. The question of the existence of
    the reader is left as an exercise for the second god coefficient. (A
    discussion of non-orthogonal, non-integral polytheism is beyond the scope
    of this article.)

    - this post brought to you by the Automated Last Post Generator...

Never test for an error condition you don't know how to handle. -- Steinbach

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