CA Open-Sources the Heart of Its Ingres Database

By Lisa Vaas  |  Print this article Print


Desktop-as-a-Service Designed for Any Cloud ? Nutanix Frame

What does open-sourcing the main engine of its Ingres Relational Database mean for its partners? CA says it plans to replace the lost license revenue by offering support, indemnity and more.

After Computer Associates International announced Monday at its annual CAWorld user conference in Las Vegas that it is open-sourcing its Ingres Enterprise Relational Database, early user feedback boiled down to one puzzled question: "Open-sourcing what?"

"Ingres [covers] a pretty wide spectrum," said Jason Schmidt, a senior consultant at Comprehensive Consulting Solutions Inc., in Clinton, Ohio.

"If they come out and say they'll release the entire suite of Ingres products, and [anybody] can look at the source code and change it and reintegrate it back into the main code base, I'd feel one way," Schmidt said. "If it's a small subset of front-end tools that you can go out and modify, it would seem more like just a publicity [stunt]."

According to Maurice Donegan, director of product marketing for databases at Computer Associates International Inc., in Islandia, N.Y., the preliminary list of what will be open-sourced includes the primary database engine, the Replication option, Transaction monitors, the Distributive Database Query option and potentially the ABF (Application By Form) character-development environment.

That leaves Advantage Open Road, CA's application-development tool, in its proprietary model, along with Ingres' embedded tool kit.

It also leaves untouched a slew of products that either embed Ingres or that are built upon Ingres, including Advantage EDBC, a tool that provides real-time, high-performance read/write connectivity to mainframe enterprise data sources from Windows/Unix client/server and Web-deployed applications; BrightStor, its data storage family of products; and AllFusion Harvest Change Manager, a development change-management tool.

But the list of what's being open-sourced may well change. Because CA is in the midst of a 90-day closed beta test of Ingres Release 3 with select customers and internally, the company is taking 90 days to "get our house in order," Donegan said.

During that time, the company will pore over Ingres code to make sure that none of it is borrowed, thus submitting downloading customers to copyright or patent infringement lawsuits a la The SCO Group Inc.'s spate of lawsuits.

Ingres will be open-sourced under what CA is calling its CA Trusted Open-Source License. Ingres also will run beneath the Zope RDBMS Persistence Engine, an open-source RDBMS "persistence module" also announced by Zope Corp. and CA at CAWorld.

The main attraction of the Trusted Open-Source License library is that it will be nonviral, Donegan said. In other words, users or enterprises can take code from the open-source library and embed it into products, the source code of which they need not divulge.

CA will require only that altered code for the Ingres database be shared, Donegan said, as opposed to code for applications developed using Ingres code.

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Lisa Vaas is News Editor/Operations for eWEEK.com 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 eWEEK.com, 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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