RealTime IT News

CA Backs Open Source CMS With Zope

Open source content management systems have faced an uphill battle against their proprietary counterparts over the last number of years.

That's something that Computer Associates hopes to change with its new partnership and involvement with tech consulting shop Zope Corporation. The two will team on an open source content management framework and its derivative open source CMS , Plone.

During its caworld conference in Las Vegas, CA said it would commit "significant development resources" and its enterprise management expertise to Zope's open source content management framework.

CA also announced its support as founding member of the Plone Foundation. Plone is the open source CMS based on the Zope framework and is now integrated into CA's newest BrightStor Document Manager product. To hold it all together, CA announced that it would release its Ingres Enterprise Relational Database to the open source community.

Zope is a Python based application server that includes its own Web server (Zserver) and database (ZODB). It works with open source database play MySQL and Web server Apache.

The Zope Content Management Framework (CMF) is a Web application server that allows a content management system, such as Plone, to be built on top of it using its toolset. The Plone CMS is a direct offshoot from Zope. With the help of CA, it now has the newly-formed Plone Foundation to help direct its activities and advocacy.

CA will work together with Zope to make it work with CA's soon-to-be open-sourced Ingres RDBMS, in an effort to help make Zope more compatible with CA's enterprise users.

CA said the move would entail "established data center procedures for data access and protection that apply to relational database structures." In order to be supportable by Ingres and other relational database management systems , CA said the two firms would work together to build an APE (Adaptable Persistence Engine) into a new Zope RDBMS persistence module. The Zope RDBMS persistence engine is expected to be available by the end of the year.

"The development of RDBMS-based storage for Zope is the first of many collaborations planned between our two companies," said Sam Greenblatt, senior vice president and chief architect of CA's Linux Technology Group. "Together, we will aggressively evolve Zope within the context of the open source development model, so that the community can also continue enhancing it to meet the escalating demands of business users."

The Zope Corporation, which is the corporate custodian of the open source Zope application, said the CA partnership would help it respond to customers' needs.

"Most of our enterprise customers have asked us on a number of occasions for a high performance relational database persistence mechanism," Zope Corporation CEO Rob Page told internetnews.com. "We were not in a position to fulfill their request on our own, but were successful in proving that our existing solution was good enough. However, as a result of this project with CA, we can give them exactly what they want."

One of the leading proprietary enterprise content management companies, Vignette, said it was not surprised by the news.

"The content management space is projected to be one of the fastest growing software markets over the coming years," said Bruce Milne, senior director, product marketing for Vignette. "It's interesting to note that we rarely run into open source content management products in competitive sales situations at the enterprise level."

Chris Withers, a Zope Community member, consultant and author of the Squishdot discussion forum for Zope, said he believes that Zope's existing database ZODB was incorrectly referred to in the CA/Zope press release as a flat file database. Withers argued that the ZODB is the most advanced OODB he's ever used.

"Zope has had RDB support since I started using it and before," he told internetnews.com. "CA implies in its release that they are replacing ZODB, which is funny since APE is a ZODB storage."

That aside, Withers called CA's involvement in the Zope community a good thing.

"It's great to see Zope registering with a big company like CA and I suspect CA will get a lot from it too," Withers said. "Not sure about the Ingres thing though, is Ingres 'big'? Oracle and MySQL are my mainstays when I need to regress to an RDB."

The Plone Foundation has a board of nine members, two of which are CA employees. According to Andy McKay, Plone release manager, CA's involvement actually helped jump-start the foundation. "Their expertise will prove invaluable in helping out the open source developers," McKay said.

CA's Greenblatt, who is also on the board of the Plone Foundation, said CA's move to help an open source not-for profit foundation would help the community. "And if the community progresses then CA benefits," he said.