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Re: What can we learn from MySQL?

From: Josh Berkus <josh(at)agliodbs(dot)com>
To: Bruce Momjian <pgman(at)candle(dot)pha(dot)pa(dot)us>
Cc: PostgreSQL advocacy <pgsql-advocacy(at)postgresql(dot)org>
Subject: Re: What can we learn from MySQL?
Date: 2004-04-23 17:26:04
Message-ID: 200404231026.04743.josh@agliodbs.com (view raw or flat)
Thread:
Lists: pgsql-advocacypgsql-hackerspgsql-www
Bruce,

> Agreed.  I see dual-license as an interim step for companies moving from
> close to true open source.

Actually, I don't.    

As I said, dual-license companies aren't really OSS companies.  They are 
shareware companies, and as such closer to proprietary software than OSS. 
Futher, these shareware companies *never* move in the direction of being more 
open as they grow -- they always become more proprietary.   See MySQL, VA 
Systems, Sendmail for examples.   Only BerkelyDB seems to have been able to 
avoid getting more proprietary with time.

In fact, I'd say that it's more likely for a 100% proprietary company to 
open-source a product than for a shareware company to go fully OSS.   See, 
for the shareware companies, OSS is a marketing and distribution model to 
help them with growing their market share -- and not how their development or 
organization works.  Once they are established in the market, they will toss 
their OSS facade like a successful junior manager dumps his old hand-me-down 
suit he wore to the interview when he gets if first paycheck.

For the customers of such shareware, it's really just a cheaper alternative to 
existing offerings -- they don't care about or understand OSS, they just want 
to be able to license database servers at MySQL's $500 each instead of 
Microsoft's $5000 each.  The only real benefit is that because shareware 
software wraps itself in the rhetoric of Open Source, its introduciton does 
open the door for the IT department to sneak in some real Open Source.  But 
in most cases, Linux opened the door to OSS a while ago.

-- 
Josh Berkus
Aglio Database Solutions
San Francisco

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