By Lisa Vaas  |  Posted 2004-11-26 Print this article Print

-source mania"> Open-source mania Beyond Oracle-PeopleSoft, in 2004, you just werent anybody unless you were announcing the open-sourcing of a database that the market had pretty much forgotten about.
True, from an open-source database perspective, the year started pretty much as did most recent years, with MySQL making the big splashes. This year, it did that by putting grid capabilities into its database—a true enterprise feature. The typical round of hubbub followed, with analysts saying that the big database vendors should be scared, and Oracle saying, in effect, please, give me a break.
The big database vendors may have scoffed, but the numbers showed that everybody was hopping on the open-source database bandwagon. Forrester in the spring released a survey that showed that 60 percent of those surveyed were using or planned to use open-source technologies. Of those surveyed, 52 percent had their eyes on MySQL. Things got far more interesting when Computer Associates unleashed the code for Ingres R/3, however. Although database experts were a little baffled by the announcement, not being quite sure exactly what was being released, the arrival of a robust, time-tested relational database must eventually be a good thing for the open-source community. It sure cant hurt CAs market share, either. To make sure that the release didnt fall flat, CA launched a $1 million challenge, soliciting developers to come up with programs that will facilitate the migration from other databases and onto Ingres. In effect, CA is buying itself a community. IBM didnt have to. Its open-sourcing of Cloudscape, a Java database it acquired in the Informix purchase, was greeted enthusiastically by the Apache Software Foundation and the open-source community. Many said that a small, tiny-footprinted, no-DBA-required, embeddable Java database would be a boon to the community. IBM scored points by its solid understanding of the open-source community and its no-strings-attached donation to the ASF. Kudos goes to IBM for gifting the community with the largest chunk of code ever and for doing it right. With its smart approach, IBM didnt need to actually buy a community. That can be evidenced by the small prizes in its version of the $1 million challenge, which, in its case, would be called the nice-little-gadget contest. Next Page: Database security.

Lisa Vaas is News Editor/Operations for and also serves as editor of the Database topic center. Since 1995, she has also been a Webcast news show anchorperson and a reporter covering the IT industry. She has focused on customer relationship management technology, IT salaries and careers, effects of the H1-B visa on the technology workforce, wireless technology, security, and, most recently, databases and the technologies that touch upon them. Her articles have appeared in eWEEK's print edition, on, and in the startup IT magazine PC Connection. Prior to becoming a journalist, Vaas experienced an array of eye-opening careers, including driving a cab in Boston, photographing cranky babies in shopping malls, selling cameras, typography and computer training. She stopped a hair short of finishing an M.A. in English at the University of Massachusetts in Boston. She earned a B.S. in Communications from Emerson College. She runs two open-mic reading series in Boston and currently keeps bees in her home in Mashpee, Mass.

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