1.) What is really in the MariaDB JDBC driver and how exactly does it differ from the drizzle JDBC driver? What, if any, relation is there to Connector/J code? There is a JIRA project but it contains only four bugs, hence is not very informative. The launchpad bzr history shows detailed check-ins but not overall intent.
2.) Why relicense from BSD to LGPL? I have checked the class headers and so far as attributions are concerned everything seems to be done quite properly. However, the license change appears to prevent those of us currently using the drizzle JDBC driver from transferring code changes back to the drizzle driver. If so, that seems a little unneighborly.
Here is some background on the relationship between the drivers. The MariaDB JDBC client is a fork of the BSD-licensed drizzle JDBC driver originally developed by Marcus Eriksson, who continues to maintain the code. According to the bzr change history the code forked after rev 253, which was 24 April 2011. There are still many similarities in the Java classes. For instance, a number of classes in the org.mariadb.jdbc.internal.common package differ by little other than licensing headers and package names. The MariaDB code is now up to rev 375 and includes substantial changes that appear to be designed to bring the MariaDB JDBC driver closer to the capabilities of the MySQL Connector/J driver.
At Continuent we have a lively interest in the drizzle JDBC driver, as we adopted it for Tungsten Replicator some time ago. The code had fewer bugs than Connector/J, which was attractive. More importantly, Marcus kindly accepted a patch from my colleague Stephane Giron (working as a Continuent employee) that made it easy for us to send queries using binary data rather than the usual Unicode data required by the JDBC standard. This fix allows Tungsten to replicate codesets and binary data correctly. We have since contributed a few other patches. Our modest contribution in part reflects the quality of the base code.
While waiting for answers I would like to commend Marcus as well as other drizzle contributors for their work. We are particularly indebted to Marcus for starting and continuing the drizzle JDBC project. Tungsten Replicator users have applied many trillions of transactions using the drizzle driver. If the MariaDB JDBC driver gains wide acceptance, the rest of the MySQL community owes Marcus Eriksson substantial thanks as well.