CA to Unleash Ingres at LinuxWorld

Computer Associates announces which parts of its Ingres R3 enterprise database will be open-sourced, a move an official says is about "fostering the ability to attract people who'll take the product in a different direction."

Computer Associates Inc. will spring its Ingres R3 enterprise database on the open-source world next week at LinuxWorld, company officials have confirmed.

The Islandia, N.Y., company first unveiled plans to open-source Ingres in May. At the time, company officials had yet to determine what, exactly, would be open-sourced.

That uncertainty is gone, and the list of open-sourced technologies is longer than the list of what wont be open-sourced, according to Tony Gaughan, senior vice president of development at CA.

The components that will be open-sourced include the primary database engine, the Replication option, Transaction monitors and the Distributive Database Query option.

The list of products that wont be open-sourced includes those that embed or are built upon Ingres, including Advantage Open Road, CAs application-development tool; BrightStor, a data storage family of products; EDBC, an enterprise gateway product; Enterprise Access; and its B1 security technology.

CA is releasing the database under a custom-made, open-source license, called the CA Trusted Open Source License.

Carl Olofson, an analyst at IDC, in Framingham, Mass., said the license looks "pretty legitimate," but that this move doesnt rule out the option of returning Ingres to a commercial license in future versions, as Borland Software Corp. did with its InterBase database, Olofson pointed out.

"Borland had a change of direction and decided there was more of a commercial revenue stream than they thought," he said. "Next version, 7.1, they went back to the closed-source version.

"What theyve found is that by having that open-source version out there, they feel it has a sort of grass-roots effect," Olofson said. "It attracts developers to it, because they can see how it works and they can fiddle with it. They have found it had some kind of knock-on effect of making people more likely, if theyre doing something with long-term commercial implications, to get the regularly licensed commercial application."

But Gaughan vigorously rejected the notion of CA having the potential to be wishy-washy with the open-sourcing of Ingres. "This is a fundamental move on our part to support the open-source community," he said. "Look at the history of Linux. Gradually, the stack is developing from an open-source perspective. We feel now is the time to provide an open-source component" of the caliber of Ingres, he said.

Of course, when it comes to the open-source LAMP (Linux-Apache-MySQL-PHP) model, theres already a well-ensconced database—that being MySQL. Ingres wont compete with MySQL, however, since its more suitable to a high-level enterprise, Gaughan said.

"We dont see ourselves competing with MySQL," he said. "MySQL in development terms is significantly behind Ingres in maturity. They do a very good job in a certain marketplace. We provide additional capabilities to play in a number of marketplaces.

"We also see ourselves able to provide capabilities in the SMB [small and midsized business] market and the high-enterprise arena. We have the ability to scale our product in all those environments. MySQL is largely confined to doing fairly simple database tasks [such as] serving Web pages. Theres not a richness of transaction required."

/zimages/3/28571.gifClick here to read about the impact of CAs move on MySQL.

IDCs Olofson suggested that the move to open-source Ingres might also have been motivated by cost savings in the areas of development, testing and bug fixing—another idea that Gaughan firmly rejected.

"The whole idea of open-sourcing Ingres is not about saving money," he said. "The staffing levels, the investments were making in the product, will continue and probably will exceed the levels were making today." For example, he said, during the past 12 to 18 months, Ingres development staffing has almost doubled.

"We think well get better quality in the product because well have more people looking at it, but thats not the driver," Gaughan said. "Its all about creating an environment for open innovation, for fostering the ability to attract people wholl take the product in a different direction."

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