Changing MySQL’s Community Contribution Agreement

Posted in: Technical Track

A while ago, MySQL developed a Community Contribution Agreement for community contributions to the MySQL source code.

This page shows that the Community Contribution Agreement has changed — it is no longer the document MySQL AB created. It is now Sun Microsystem’s standard Sun Contributor Agreement, which CEO Marten Mickos recently explained to me was “more accepted than the agreement MySQL had come up with.”

I am happy to see some of the great Sun practices trickle down to replace some issues that MySQL did not handle smoothly. All in all, I agree with Marten Mickos and think the Sun Contributor Agreement is much better….

….but what do you think?

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6 Comments. Leave new

I worked on the Zend Framework, where we used a CLA based on the Apache CLA. It was fairly dense legalese, and it caused some anxiety and misunderstanding from some of the community.

The Sun Contributor Agreement is much easier to read and it’s more clear as a result. I hope community members are more comfortable with it.

It also makes it clear that a contributor does not give up any rights by making the contribution, which IIRC is different from the old MySQL CLA.

Giuseppe Maxia
October 1, 2008 3:32 am

Damn! You stole Jay’s thunder! :)
Stay tuned. The official news will come very soon.



I think it’s fairly irrelevant, because MySQL has been so atrociously bad about accepting patches, building that version, and having that version towards production use (or just allowing community builds to get patches even in production state).

Also, some big organisations like Yahoo and Google don’t like any kind of contributor agreement simply because it’s a big legal complication. So this means that capable patch coders will just not bother and get on with their work.
It’s a trade-off of that and having extra work when doing updates. They choose the latter, because their production systems don’t get updated that often. Plus they’re techies, not legal eagles.

Finally, the key objective is for Sun/MySQL to have full ownership of the code. But the only one that cares about that is Sun/MySQL. The dual licensing is a pest that needs to disappear. Leaves issues like originating IP guarantee and indemnity. I’m not sure that’s much of an issue, since many organisations use Linux and lots of other OSS tools also, where the IP origin is possibly questionable, and the IP ownership is definitely diverse.

So, Sun/MySQL needs to either re-think the “do we really need a contributor agreement”, and if they decide for it, re-think the setup so that potential contributors are actually enticed to sign up. For instance, speedy incorporation of patches would do wonders, I reckon. But right now? Nah. Don’t care.


Arjen: baby steps, my friend, baby steps :)



Baby steps? Why should switching to Sun’s CLA even be baby steps for this case. The CLA hasn’t been a problem for most of the patches coming in, I’ve, for example, signed it years ago…



Log Buffer #117: a Carnival of the Vanities for DBAs
October 3, 2008 11:19 am

[…] Here at the Pythian Group Blog, Sheeri Cabral reports that the Community Contribution Agreement has changed to the standard Sun Agreement. […]


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