[Koha] Proposal To Switch Koha's License to GPLv3 and AGPLv3 or AGPLv3
kohalist at agogme.com
Fri Jul 2 23:05:31 NZST 2010
On Tue, June 8, 2010 02:19, Joe Atzberger wrote:
> Thomas, I have to agree with Aaron here. You are confusing Koha's use
> of mysql-specific *query language* with the customization of the mysql
> server/client source code.
I have always been well aware of the distinction between MySQL specific
query language and customising the server or client source code.
MySQL AB had been well known for asserting an interpretation of derived
works in relation to MySQL specific database calls in which Koha might be
a derivative work of MySQL. I am now confident that MySQL AB had
generally overstated their case.
> This would be akin to thinking that
> that browser.
support the standard equally well but the standard is a standard
independent of particular web browsers. MySQL AB specifically designed
some MySQL syntax as non-standard MySQL specific syntax with the intent of
trapping proprietary software developers in a licensing problem to compel
them to buy proprietary licenses. There would need to be a web browser
program; etc. More particulars of the case would need to be given to form
a well informed conclusion about whether a derivative work might be
FSF has a FAQ question relating to plugins,
http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl-faq.html#GPLAndPlugins . At least the
borderline case paragraph in the answer is unlikely to have been vetted by
> The OSS Exception you linked relates to client driver libraries. In
> our case, something like DBD::mysql may be a driver library. Koha as
> a whole is not.
My reason for citing the Sun FOSS License Exception is to explain that it
certainly would not apply to the case of Koha under GPL 3 or AGPL 3. Some
had incorrectly claimed that the exception would function otherwise.
Actually, as you stated, the exception has no bearing on Koha but that
difference would require more effort to explain.
> I see absolutely zero legitimate basis for considering
> Koha a derivative work of msyql, just the same as it is not a
> derivative work of Apache.
In the cases for both MySQL and Apache, there is a general purpose
communication protocol and the general purpose abstraction of DBI::Perl
for MySQL as the most significant factors identifying Koha as a separate
program and not a derived work of either MySQL or Apache. A different
database could be substituted and a different web server could be
substituted. There is a minor problem of some MySQL specific usage in
Koha for which Koha does not provide an alternative but the issue is minor
and not one which would lead us to be concerned about trouble from Oracle.
> Lars is correct that we only need to worry about the source that is in
> Koha when making a license decision.
Knowing what code is actually part of Koha under copyright law is
precisely the question.
If we would adopt AGPL 3, then I think that we may need to include
unmodified third party Perl modules as part of the Corresponding Source
for Koha to fulfil the AGPL 3 specific obligation for Corresponding
Source. The specific guidance is in the license for Corresponding Source
in object code form which explains that unmodified third party modules
used are part of the Corresponding Source. Such guidance had not been
included in AGPL 3 for source code only conveyance but I think that it
would apply under copyright law which is controlling irrespective of
whether specific guidance is present in the license.
The issue has not yet been fully answered by SFLC. See my correspondence
with Aaron Williamson from SFLC quoted in one message in this same thread
for a more complete treatment of the issue,
109 E 9th Street, 3D
New York, NY 10003
More information about the Koha