Opensource doesn't mean "Do what you want"

At first i thought Oracle was a little bit too harsh with the comment, that the European Commission isn’t knowledgeable about the dynamics of open source. But it looks like this is at least somewhat true. Infoworld cites an EC spokesman in “EU rebuffs Oracle’s criticism of Sun merger investigation”:

"Despite MySQL being open source, Oracle would be the exclusive holder of copyright on the MySQL code, making it hard for competitors to do what they want with it," said Commission spokesman on competition matters, Jonathan Todd said on Tuesday.

Even without Sorry, but you can’t do what you want with the code today, too. Mysql is licensed under the GPLv2 and this sets really tight borders what you are able to do with the code. That’s the basic idea of GPLv2 … ensuring that nobody can walk away for the code without adhering to certain rules. Even the more company-friendly CDDL says: “You can just do what you want with the code that you provide totally on your own, but changes to a CDDL licensed files have to be given back to the community”. As Kay Arnö (VP Community at Mysql AB) wrote in “What hasn’t changed with MySQL”:

MySQL is still licensed under the GPL. The GPL license used to form a safety net for the users not certain about whether MySQL AB would follow the spirit of Open Source. It continued to be so with Sun Microsystems. And the Open Source license continues to provide a safety net for its user base, regardless of the owner of MySQL.

PS: When you want another proof that the EU has to learn a thing or two about new technologies, just look at a recent development: In future you have to ask a user for her or his consent, when you want to store a cookie on the server. You don’t believe me? Just look at this article

Member States shall ensure that the storing of information, or the gaining of access to information already stored, in the terminal equipment of a subscriber or user is only allowed on condition that the subscriber or user concerned has given his or her consent, having been provided with clear and comprehensive information, in accordance with Directive 95/46/EC, inter alia about the purposes of the processing.

So expect tons of legalese when you access your favourite website in the future …