Network software stalwart Novell Inc. is planning to ship a commercial version of the open-source MySQL database, which has been optimized for its NetWare 6 network operating system, by the end of the year.
MySQL, a relational database management system for Web site and business application development and deployment, will also be included in future releases of NetWare, starting with the next version scheduled for the middle of 2003, Kris Magnusson, who chairs Novells Open Source Review Board, told eWEEK.
"We are joining the community of people who run Linux, Apache, MySQL and PHP applications, also known as LAMP. By porting MySQL to the NetWare platform we all of a sudden get the entire range of these applications, and the doors are wide open for what we are able to accomplish with NetWare. Were now saying were NAMP--NetWare, Apache, MySQL and PHP," Magnusson said.
While this move will give enterprise customers more choice--a number of databases like Pervasive SQL and Sybase SQL Anywhere Studio already run on NetWare and are supported--it is aimed primarily at developers of Web applications.
Those users wanting to build Web applications will be able to turn to NetWare because MySQL will run on the platform. "MySQL is really crucial to building Web applications," Magnusson said.
Some Novell customers agree. Deutsche Lufthansa AG approached Novell some time ago and suggested it provide Apache, MySQL and PHP on NetWare.
"There is strong demand from companies, like Lufhansa, who want to run these applications on a platform that can provide strong support while offering time-tested reliability and performance," said Antonio Mastrolorito, who works for Lufthansa Systems Infratec, the airlines IT infrastructure solutions group.
Novell is also running a public beta program, and users who want to download the beta of MySQL for NetWare and to learn about the technical support options can do so at http://developer.novell.com/ndk/leadedge.htm.
The inclusion of the open-source database will not cost NetWare users anything and they will not be subject to any licensing restrictions. While the MySQL database is available either under a commercial proprietary license or under the open-source GNU General Public License, Novell has chosen to pay for a commercially licensed version.
This means no user limitations and no requirements for developers who write and distribute applications that use MySQL on NetWare to give back their modifications to the open-source community, he said.
But Magnusson pointed out that even though Novell has bought a commercial license, it has agreed to give its code modifications back to the community. These will be posted by Swedish-based MySQL A.B., the company that owns the source code for MySQL, on its Web site for anyone to download, he said.
Marten Mickos, CEO of MySQL, said in a statement that Novell customers will now be able to create powerful commercial applications with the MySQL database for no additional license cost.
"This partnership opens up huge opportunities for MySQL, Novell and our joint customers. We are also pleased to be able to include the highly acclaimed NetWare operating system as one of the many platforms supported by the MySQL database," he said.
Novell is hoping that the move will help prevent its current NetWare clients from moving to the Linux or Windows platforms. "We also expect to see others take a good, hard look at NetWare as a new platform for Web applications because of the strength of NetWare and because we have the ability to run these thousands of NAMP applications," Magnusson said.
Jim Abbott, a product manager for Web technologies in the NetWare group, told eWEEK that Novell believes a number of deployments that could possibly have gone to Linux will now take place on the NetWare platform. These new deployments will drive additional revenue that will make up the cost to Novell of including the MySQL database with NetWare.
"MySQL plays into what were doing with the J2EE application server and things were doing relative to Tomcat [a free, open-source implementation of Java Servlet and JavaServer Pages technologies] and Perl [essentially a language for processing text].
"Were also thinking seriously about Python [an interactive, object-oriented, extensible programming language], but we havent made a decision on that yet," he said.
The next major MySQL release will also take care of some of the current shortfalls, he said, adding that there is a large community associated with MySQL and, as Novell now understands the code completely, it will be able to fully support it for customers.
Novells latest move follows its decision, first reported by eWEEK, to add Linux across its product and service lines and to evaluate which of its products to potentially open source.