My company recently purchased a product which needs a database to store its data. It is a collaboration system, so needs a central database. There are scripts for MySQL and a few others.

I automatically chose MySQL as it is the one I have the most experience of, but a colleague of mine said that as we are a business, the small print says we have to pay a licence. I did not know this was true, and cannot find any information that says I can't just use the Community Edition. I thought the GPL licence said that I could not distribute MySQL without making my own product GPL, but I could use it for free.

Does anyone know if my colleague was correct?

  • 1
    Contact MySQL and ask them. – ThatGraemeGuy Jun 22 '12 at 12:02

Just using MySQL database doesn't require a commercial license. Buying a product that uses it doesn't change a thing and neither does business use.

You'd need one if:

  1. You wish to distribute modified MySQL without providing source code with GPL license
  2. You wish to redistribute app that incorporates MySQL libs (or other code that is GPLed) without providing source code with GPL license.

Either way it's the company that provides the app who should pay for MySQL license if anyone in fact has to.


I am not a lawyer, but worked with some people who had experience with MySQL licencing. It has a dual licencing scheme: GPL + their own licence.

If you use MySQL as a database on your servers, you're fine. If you use their libraries, link them to your programs, which you redistribute, etc., you can choose either to GPL your own code, or pay them to keep the code non-GPL.

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