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CA Open Sources DB at LinuxWorld

In a big step to reaffirm its commitment to open source technologies, Computer Associates will officially open source its long forgotten database software at LinuxWorld in San Francisco next week.

CA officials confirmed the company will open source version 3 of its Ingres Enterprise Relational Database (Ingres r3) under its own CA Trusted Open Source License (CA-TOSL), a variation of the common public license from opensource.org.

Under CA-TOSL, software vendors can incorporate Ingres into their software as long as the Ingres source code is provided with it. CA will charge for support and indemnification as added-cost options to the CA-TOSL Ingres.

Sam Greenblatt, senior vice president and chief architect of CA's Linux Technology Group, said he expects Ingres r3 to do well because of CA's indemnification or "grant-back" aspect of its licensing model.

"Our license retains the IP with the owner of the open source project to which CA happens to have an interest in," Greenblatt told internetnews.com. "We have a single license that you can do anything with for free, but if you want to contribute to our project you must do a grant-back. Otherwise we can't indemnify it."

Ingres r3 will support the Oracle Cluster File System (OCFS) for Linux Cluster Support and IBM's Distributed Lock Manager (OpenDLM) to deliver new clustering functionality for customers to pare infrastructure costs. It will initially run on Linux with support for other platforms to follow.

Before pledging to open source Ingres at CA World last May, CA has been quiet about the software for quite some time.

Tony Gaughan, CA senior vice president of development, said adoption of the technology, which CA acquired in 1994 from a company called ASK, became somewhat stable. As a result, he said Ingres "lost some traction" as a unique product in a large company whose focus was on management software.

CA released the last version, an incremental upgrade called 2.6, last year. While the company had kicked around the idea of open sourcing Ingres for a while, Gaughan said the timing wasn't right -- until now.

"If you look at the relative success of MySQL, I think that proved to the world that the market was ready to consider other components above the platform level for open source," Gaughan told internetnews.com.

The executive said open-sourcing Ingres looked to be the best way to help the software recover some lost traction. To be sure, the popularity of open source software has grown consistently over the last few years, and technology created under the open mantle has moved from development projects to enterprise installations.

While much of this buzz can be attributed to the Linux operating system, companies such as JBoss and MySQL specialize in products that run on the OS. With its dual license, MySQL is the most successful open source database to date and figures to be Ingres' greatest direct competitor.

In addition to MySQL, r3 faces competition from database server software leaders Oracle, IBM and Microsoft , all of whom continue to stake their claim in the multi-billion-dollar market.