MySQL founder tries a new software licensing model

When it involves ASCII text file licenses, developers have their justifiable share of selections (GPL, BSD, MIT, Apache, etc.), all of them with their own professionals and cons. an equivalent goes for industrial licenses. MySQL founder archangel “Monty” Widenius and his co-founder David Axmark, however, came up with a special model a number of years ago: the Business supply License (BSL).

This new license offers another to the closed-source and open-core licenses that several startups opt for for his or her code, and, for the primary time, Widenius’s new company, MariaDB, is currently mistreatment it for one in every of its merchandise.

In some ways that, the BSL is reminiscent of a freemium model for code licensing (with Associate in Nursing ASCII text file twist). As Widenius explained to Maine, the BSL permits developers to line a limit for a way several servers/CPUs/etc. their code will run on in production (there aren’t any usage limits for check environments, solely production usage). Usage on top of that incurs a fee.

That appears like a fairly normal industrial license, however the twist here is that each one of the ASCII text file is offered {at all|in the least|the least bit|in the slightest degree|in Associate in Nursingy respect} times and also the BSL license has an expiration date. when a collection quantity of your time (say 3 years), the license expires Associate in Nursingd reverts to an ASCII text file license just like the GPL or the other license the developer chooses.

“This will produce a very new scheme,” Widenius told Maine. “And notwithstanding you don’t get open supply promptly, we are going to produce more open supply applications within the future.” Those ar sturdy words; given his expertise within the ASCII text file world, it’s price taking a more in-depth verify however and why he and Axmark came up with the BSL.

Widenius has quite an little bit of expertise with licenses and, to an oversized degree, he created his fortune owing to the licensing alternative he created for MySQL. “For some product like MySQL, GPL is really the proper license as a result of MySQL are some things corporations need to integrate into their own product,” he explained. To integrate a GPL-licensed product into your own product, you’d got to open supply your software system, too. For those users, MySQL AB, the corporate Widenius and Axmark supported, offered an advert license.
At the time they sold-out MySQL AB to Sun in 2008, seventy % of the company’s financial gain came from licenses. “That was the explanation that MySQL had a large valuation,” Widenius aforementioned. “We were a product company and other people had to get it in sure things.”

Widenius really needed to use a variation of the BSL earlier, “but in the past, the management team wasn’t as far-seeing as our current one, in order that they determined to travel with closed supply.” Then, many years agone, he noticed that plenty of startups were returning to his Open Ocean working capital firm and that they needed to try and do open supply for end-user product. For those corporations, the dual-license model that worked thus well for MySQL wasn’t planning to work, as a result of those users weren’t planning to implant the software system into their own product and thence had no reason to get a license.

What most firms that need try and to|to try and do} open supply knock off that case is try to build their business on giving services around these ASCII text file tools. Widenius doesn’t believe this model (though he acknowledges that it’s worked for a few companies). “This works for firms that support a project — folks area unit giving support for Ubuntu and create cash off that,” he said. “But the businesses that don’t have licenses, they will nearly ne’er create a product.” Why? as a result of if you get a ten p.c margin off a decent support person, you would like ten support folks to get a developer. In his read, this model doesn’t scale.

So at MariaDB, the team set to currently license the most recent version of its MaxScale information proxy beneath the BSL (MariaDB itself may be a fork of MySQL, thus it’s forever guaranteed to the ASCII text file GPL license that MySQL is authorized under).

As so much as Widenius is aware, 2 or 3 alternative firms have already used the license, too, however he believes several others area unit sitting on the sidelines looking ahead to an outsized company to create the move. The team is additionally performing on documents which will provide developers a framework for moving their package to the BSL.

Developers United Nations agency need to adopt the BSL for a replacement project solely have to be compelled to fill in four lines: the name of the merchandise, the restrictions that set the bounds for once users can ought to pay, the amendment information for once the license reverts to associate degree ASCII text file license and that license it reverts to.
Because you finish up moving the license dates up with each update, developers can have associate degree incentive to stay their software package up-to-date and to initiate. however if they don’t — or if the user is happy to use associate degree previous product — then the new license can apply once the amendment information arrives. This conjointly means once a developer goes out of business, the software package can become open supply once the amendment date and therefore the community will acquire the work.

“Lots of individuals can criticize this for the incorrect reasons,” Widenius told American state. “But i believe this is often an opportunity to alter the longer term of open supply for the higher by manufacturing additional open supply — though there’s a touch little bit of time delay.”