PHP/MySQL license question

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Our company was looking for contract programmer to develop an
internet/intranet application.  We were approached by a freelancer who
have quite a lot experience and his resume was impressive.  But he did
mention that if we download php & mysql and use the application
developed within our company, we should be fine and there will not be
any legal issues.  While some of the folks see this as a low cost
solution, others are concerned about legal & licensing issues.  Since
ours is a small shop, the alternative looks attractive.

Can somebody please help us regarding this?  Is it true that since PHP
& MySQL are open source, the freelancer can develop it and only charge
us for his services while we will be safe as the development does not
go outside the office.

Thanks in advance!

Re: PHP/MySQL license question wrote:
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Most likely the answer is yes.

GPL (mysql) only adds restrictions when code is getting distributed (PHP
is no GPL so read it first).

But what is being developed? Will the programmer _make_ php scripts or
is he _modifying_ existing code?

When modifying code one (in this case the employer) always needs to
check the license(s). New scripts are new works and thus you (the
employer) can decide what to do with it (so make sure you get sole
copyright on code produced by the programmer (propably the default under
law for contract work)).

Re: PHP/MySQL license question

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Firstly, I'm not a lawyer, not by a long shot -- but here is my best
educated guess:
(using quotes from">

Scenario 1: The freelancer is not an employee of your company and is
producing a application that he will sell and distribute to your company:
Does the freelancer need a license?: Yes
Does your company need a license?: Maybe

    I think your freelancer must definitely purchase a MySQL license for
himself as he fits these two criteria:
        "Selling software that requires customers to install MySQL
themselves on their own machines."
        "If you develop and distribute a commercial application and as part
of utilizing your application, the end-user must download a copy of MySQL;
for each derivative work, you (or, in some cases, your end-user) need a
commercial license for the MySQL server and/or MySQL client libraries."

    I couldn't find any more information as to why you might have to
purchase a license.

Scenario 2: The freelancer is in a consultant role and is acting as an
employee of your company. Here, your company is developing the application
internally and will not be distributing it. However, at this point the
license is being used in a commercial environment for sure. I think that
alone is enough to require your company to get a license. It would be
different if your were providing this application as a GPLed open source

    "When your application is not licensed under either the GPL-compatible
Free Software License as defined by the Free Software Foundation or approved
by OSI, and you intend to or you may distribute MySQL software, you must
first obtain a commercial license to the MySQL product."

    This would work for you as an individual since you are not distributing
it, but your company isn't an individual so I don't think it applies.

In either scenario, you MIGHT need a license. A basic commercial license is
a one time fee of $295. Think of it as a donation to the fine people at
MySQL AB. Besides, if you were to use MSSQL, you would first need a Windows
2000 or newer box, that's at least $120 right there. Then add on MSSQL
server, plus client licenses. If you have more than 5-10 workstations, then
you would need to Get Windows 2000 Server plus client seats for that. It
adds up.

If I were you?

    "If you have any questions on MySQL licensing, feel free to contact us:
USA and Canada: + 1-425-743-5635 or online

I would be interested in the outcome if you do talk to them.


Re: PHP/MySQL license question

One quick glance of an experienced eye allowed to understand the blurred
and almost unreadable's handwriting:

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If MySQL's licence is an issue, why not PostgreSQL? It's quite similar to
MySQL, and AFAIK has a fully OpenSource licence (e.g. one does not to
buy it to utilise it for commercial use).


Re: PHP/MySQL license question wrote:

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For PHP there should be no issues.

MySQL would like you to give them money and but say:

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The key phrase here is "in an application you redistribute". If you're
supplying the application to anyone else, (as opposed to just letting them
use it) then you need to release the source code under a free open-source
license. I've not seen any discussion of what applies when there is a
transfer of ownership (e.g. your company goes bankrupt or is sold).

....but have you checked the cost of purchasing MySQL? It compares very
favourably to MS-SQL server, Oracle etc.
If you have contracted the freelancer for the supply of software, then you
shouldn't let him install MySQL/PHP under the same the contract. But you
really don't want to give a freelancer root acces to your servers anyway.



Re: PHP/MySQL license question

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Amen and amen. I know you say you are a small company, but you want to
install and be able to maintain the base operating systems, software and


Re: PHP/MySQL license question

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For example the "expert" that turned on php global variables on one of my
clients servers without mentioning it to anyone. (Because that's the way he
always did it to make his scripts work)


Re: PHP/MySQL license question

Hi All,

Thanks for your immediate respones and I appreciate your suggestions.

Daniel, its an application being developed from start, internally.  He
will be writing new code which will remain in the company and not
distributed to any other company nor to anybody else.  Yes, we will
solely be the owner of the code.

Joe, will the freelancer require a license if he develops the code at
his place and install it in our office?  What if he works at our
office?  And is this applicable to both(PHP & MySQL) or only MySQL?
Sure we will write to the individual vendors and get their feedback.

So also we have not yet decided whether we want to use MySQL or even
PostgreSQL as Michal suggested.  Its not that we do not want to spend
or buy any licenses.  But since this open source is very new to us and
we are not a IT company, wanted to know and make sure about the legal

Colin, the source code will not leave the company -- it will always
remain with the company and will not be distributed.  But I am not sure
about releasing the code to the free open source.  But surely does make
sense in buying the license for the company.

Once again, thanks for everyboy's feedback & opinion.

PS : Michal, I did not get this "One quick glance of an experienced eye
allowed to understand the blurred and almost unreadable's handwriting:".  What does it mean?

Re: PHP/MySQL license question wrote:
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Investigate using PEAR's (search for PEAR or for  The PHP
Extension and Application Repository) Database function library.
  When using PEAR all database operations are performed by the
PEAR functions.  To switch to a different database, e.g. from
Mysql to PostgresSQL is as simple as loading a php program which
is the same for any supported database except for 5 variables;

      'phptype' => "pgsql",        or 'phptype' => "mysql",
           'hostspec' => "<host-name>",
           'database' => "<database-name>",
           'password' => "<password>",
           'username' => "<user-name>");

The use of PEAR allows you to defer making a database decision
until very late in the project and allows you to easily and
inexpensively switch to a different database later on.



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