Forum: Other

Post: Could someone provide a little clarification for the GPL license terms

Could someone provide a little clarification for the GPL license terms
Sep 30, 2012

I have seen only one topic discussing this issue, but it was a bit old, and I'd also like to ask for a detail I might have missed.

I am currently seriously considering VoltDB as a key component of a electronik healthcare repository which I have been developing for my PhD. All the code I write is released under Apache 2.0 license.

As far as I know, simply using GPL'ed code through linking or even connecting to a DB through GPL'ed drivers (as in the case of MySql) invokes the viral aspects of GPL, and you end up an obligation to GPL your own code. MySql offers an exception for the drivers, made explicit as seen here:

Even though there is a forum post that suggests that it is OK to use VoltDB with proprietary/commercial/(open source?) applications when VoltDB source code has not been changed, I could not see this statement made anywhere on the web site. Unless this statement is declared, I can't see how GPL's normal terms and conditions fail to kick in, that is, open source or proprietary solutions using community edition of VoltDB needs to go GPL.

My code is being adopted by a University College London spinoff, and many others from the industry (and even my employers) use it with Apache 2.0 license. So I'd like to make sure that I can keep my code under Apache if I use community edition of VoltDB.

Would it be possible to clarify the terms and conditions in the deployment files and maybe declare an exemption for the drivers like the MySql approach? This would really help ease my mind before injecting VoltDB into quite a few projects at once :)

Best regards

You're correct, but changes are coming.
Oct 1, 2012
The VoltDB server code is GPL by choice. Most of our drivers/client libraries are BSD/MIT with the exception of C# and Java. The C# library licensing is a mistake, and will be BSD/MIT shortly. The Java client is more complicated; it's GPL because it shares a lot of code with the server, and not because we want it to be GPL. We're in the middle of a project to extract some of that code to make the license for ALL drivers permissive.

So the story is that in the next few months, all drivers should be BSD/MIT, but the server software will remain copyleft.
Oct 9, 2012
This is really good news. I'll be aligning my work with this roadmap then, which means it is time to read some documentation.