CA CEO Urges Open-Source Platform Development

Swainson's keynote speech at LinuxWorld discussed Linux's appeal for IT customers and the importance of a single GPL.

BOSTON—Less than one week after officially taking over the reins as new president and CEO of Computer Associates International, John Swainson urged LinuxWorld attendees on Tuesday to aggressively push open-standards platform development to help usher in broader Linux acceptance and build more diverse commercial enterprise offerings around open source.

During his keynote at LinuxWorld, Swainson said he envisions Computer Associates International Inc. playing a vital role in the future of open source due its Linux management capability, its internal use of Linux on its own products, and its decision to deliver its Ingres database—which pulled in $40 million in revenue in 2004—to the open-source community last year.

"I do believe that one of the things that was missing from the open-source world was a real scalable enterprise database that could handle hundreds of users," said Swainson of Islandia, N.Y.-based CA.

"We are not going to have the illusion that we can compete with major database vendors going head-to-head, so for us this makes perfect sense," he said.

Following 26 years of service at IBM, Swainson was hired by CA in November 2004 to guide the beleaguered companys fortunes away from troubled waters.

Swainson officially took over the position last week from interim CEO Kenneth Cron, who led CA since last April following the exit of federally indicated former president and CEO Sanjay Kumar in the aftermath of a massive accounting scandal.

/zimages/2/28571.gifTo read John Pallattos opinion column on Kumars departure and its relationship to CA, click here.

Swainson said Linux is becoming a more viable option for IT customers who have lost interest in "pie-in-the-sky" promises from vendors as complexity, lack of integration, and infrastructure management grow increasingly frustrating.

To combat the problem, he said, CAs management software easily allows customers to control and integrate Linux into their IT architectures via configuration and monitoring of applications, databases, servers and networks, as well as security and backup operations.

"I think 2005 will be a watershed year, when for the first time you will be able to build and deploy real enterprise-class applications using only open-source technology," remarked Swainson. He added, "We simply dont want to waste a lot of time and energy trying to recreate standard platforms when the community can do better."

In terms of open-source licensing, Swainson said there are "too many" open-source licenses and there exists the real need for one GPL rather than the variety of competing GPL notions currently in practice by vendors.

He said CA has had discussions internally about working with the open-source community to create a stand-alone commercial GPL to potentially solve the problem.

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