What is MySQL's software licensing model?
MySQL uses a "dual licensing" business model. Under this model, users may choose to use MySQL products under the free software/open source GNU General Public License (commonly known as the "GPL") or under a commercial license.
With the GPL license, MySQL is available free of charge. Users may download the software for free and modify, integrate and distribute it. However, GPL users must abide by the rules of the GPL, which stipulate that if a MySQL-based application is redistributed, the complete source code for this application must also be open and available for redistribution.
MySQL AB offers a commercial license for organizations that do not want to release the source code for their application. Commercial license customers get a commercially supported product with a level of assurance from MySQL AB, without the requirement that their MySQL-based software must be "open sourced". MySQL is able to provide a commercial license because it has full ownership of the MySQL code.
MySQL's dual licensing increases freedom in two ways: first, it encourages the growth of free software by licensing MySQL under the GPL; second, it makes it possible to use our software in situations where the GPL is not applicable.