[FSFE PR][EN] [GNU/FSF Press] Gift from MySQL AB Supports Free Software Foundation's General Public License Compliance Lab

Ravi Khanna pr at fsf.org
Tue Nov 12 19:41:26 CET 2002


Media Contact: Free Software Foundation
               Ravi Khanna <media at fsf.org>
               Phone: +1-617-620-9640

                       Gift from MySQL AB Supports
     Free Software Foundation's General Public License Compliance Lab

Boston, Mass. - November 12, 2002 - The Free Software Foundation (FSF)
today announced that MySQL AB, the company that develops, supports and
markets the MySQL database, made a contribution of $25,000 to the FSF to
support the protection and promotion of the GNU General Public License
(GPL).  The FSF incurs over $100,000 in costs each year defending and
enforcing the GPL.  MySQL is the first company to contribute generously to
support this work.

Marten Mickos, CEO of MySQL, explained the motivation for this donation:
"MySQL appreciates FSF's tireless work preserving, protecting and
promoting Free Software, diligently policing the use of the GPL, defending
GPL developers against license breaches, and educating the world about the
principles of software freedom".  Continued Mickos, "Everyone who uses
Open Source and Free Software owes the FSF more than a debt of gratitude.
We hope that our contribution will encourage other individuals and vendors
who believe in and rely on the GPL to support the FSF any way they can."

MySQL's gift supports FSF's GPL Compliance Lab, an initiative that has
existed informally since 1992, but was formalized by FSF late last
year. The goal of the Compliance Lab is to help enforce the GPL license so
that GPL-violating competitors cannot take advantage of companies that do
comply with the license.

According to Bradley M. Kuhn, FSF's Executive Director: "FSF sees the
defense of the license as fundamental to the work of the Free Software
Movement.  Even though FSF is strapped for resources, when MySQL needed
help in their enforcement of the GPL, FSF lent its expertise.  We are
committed to doing this work regardless of our funding woes.  We have
always seen the need for an impartial party to enforce GPL.  We are elated
that MySQL shares our view and is willing to support our work

Ideally, to run at full capacity, FSF's GPL Compliance Lab would require a
budget of $200,000 per year.  When the Compliance Lab was formalized, FSF
had hoped that many companies that benefit greatly from Free Software
would recognize its importance and help pay for the costs of this service.
FSF hopes that this show of support will encourage other companies to come

In 1992, when FSF was working informally to enforce GPL, there were just
one or two violations each year.  Today, FSF handles and resolves --
through diplomatic negotiation -- at least fifty GPL violations each year.
All indications are that these numbers will continue to grow indefinitely.

About the GNU GPL:

FSF created the GNU General Public License (GNU GPL) in 1989 and
periodically publishes updated versions of that license.  Today, GPL is
the most common Free Software license, used for over 50 percent of all
known Free Software.  Unlike most copyright agreements that are designed
to take away users' freedoms, the GPL guarantees users' rights to share
and change Free Software.  Many companies, including MySQL AB, IBM and HP
have profitable business units centered around these freedoms.

The GPL is seen as a serious threat by many proprietary software companies
whose licenses aim to take these freedoms from users.  All the while, FSF
continues to defend the GNU GPL against both PR and legal attacks and
diligently works on version 3 (GPLv3) of the license (the first new
version in 12 years).  GPLv3 will address new issues of freedom for users
and programmers that were unknown at the time of the 1991 version 2
publication.  No date for public draft distribution of GPLv3 has been set,
but it is expected in the first half of 2003.  An early draft of a few
GPLv3 provisions was released earlier this year as part of the Affero
General Public License.

Copyright (C) 2002, Free Software Foundation, Inc.

Verbatim copying and distribution of this entire article is permitted in
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