[erlang-questions] Berkeley DB apparently FREE for any use via Erlang

Chris Newcombe <>
Wed Feb 27 07:57:43 CET 2008


After I released EDTK 1.5.1 with the greatly improved Berkeley DB
driver, there was some discussion about how Berkeley DB is expensive
to license for closed-source use or re-sale.

   http://www.erlang.org/pipermail/erlang-questions/2007-October/029823.html

Today I happened to notice the following text on Oracle's "Berkeley DB
Licensing Information" page:
http://www.oracle.com/technology/software/products/berkeley-db/htdocs/licensing.html

   "Do I have to pay for a Berkeley DB license to use it in my Perl or
Python scripts?

   No, you may use the Berkeley DB open source license at no cost. The
Berkeley DB open source license requires that software that uses
Berkeley DB be freely redistributable. In the case of Perl or Python,
that software is Perl or Python, and not your scripts. Any scripts you
write are your property, including scripts that make use of Berkeley
DB. None of the Perl, Python or Berkeley DB licenses place any
restrictions on what you may do with them."

Now I am fortunate enough to not be a lawyer, but the above appears to
apply clearly and directly to Erlang too.   The Erlang language &
runtime is "freely redistributable" in the same way as the Perl and
Python languages/runtimes, and the EDTK/berkeley_db driver is also
"freely redistributable" in the same way.   In fact,
Erlang/EDTK/berkeley_db touches BDB in essentially the same way as
Perl does.  Perl interfaces to BDB via a contributed "BerkeleyDB"
module on CPAN, which has perl and C components, just like EDTK.

Therefore, by the above text on Oracle's website, Erlang 'scripts'
don't need to be open-sourced (and have no other restrictions imposed
upon them) if they use Berkeley DB indirectly via the Erlang runtime.

If this is correct it is wonderful news.   Several people have already
found that Erlang and Berkeley DB make an fabulous combination for
rapid development of robust, scalable applications and services.

Caveat: as always, check with your legal team.

regards,

Chris



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