RealTime IT News

CA Dangles Dough for Attention

UPDATED: In a move that officials promised "would alter the open source database landscape," Computer Associates is launching a $1 million developer challenge Thursday to spark interest in its Ingres Enterprise Relational Database (Ingres r3).

The management software vendor made the announcement Wednesday during the LinuxWorld Conference & Expo in San Francisco Wednesday in a bid to get programmers to work on its relatively little-known database and develop a community under its Trusted Open Source License umbrella.

It was only last week CA announced its release of Ingres to the open source community, and Wednesday that the source code was made available for download on its Web site.

The cash prize targets the commercial database vendors in the market CA is trying to wrest market share from, namely the Microsoft SQL Server, Oracle Database 10g, Sybase Enterprise Server, Informix, IBM DB2 Universal Database and MySQL, an open source database project.

The development contest ends Feb. 1, 2005, with five winners receiving up to $400,000 each at CA's annual user conference, caworld, April 17-21, 2005 in Orlando, Fla. The contest is open to developers over 18 years of age, members of the open source community and physical residents of the United States, Canada (excepting the Quebec province), Mexico, the U.K., India, China, Australia and New Zealand.

"By crafting appropriate migration tools, the open source community will be enabling organizations all over the world to take advantage of its unique and compelling attributes," said Mark Barrenechea, CA executive vice president for product development, in a statement. "CA's Ingres Million Dollar Challenge underscores our commitment to creating an optimal working relationship between ourselves and the open source community."

There are some questions regarding CA's decision to release an open source database since it seems to cannibalize its own product line of management applications that support the five database programs.

Wednesday, IBM released a database of its own to the open source community, although it won't compete directly with CA's Ingres project. A copy of Big Blue's Cloudscape embedded relational database, released to the Apache Software Foundation (ASF) under the project name "Derby" performs only limited functions and is designed for Web sites and small business use.

Stacey Quandt, an analyst with Robert Frances Group, said that while CA's $1 million contest will garner some developer attention, IBM's approach gives it a higher likelihood of succeeding in the open source community, as it is seen as an independent player free from any corporate oversight.

"IBM's contribution of Cloudscape to the Apache Software Foundation gives it an open source community to broaden the adoption of Cloudscape, whereas Ingres is trying to throw money at a problem to create a developer community," Quandt said.

She's not sure money is enough to drum up support for Ingres, which has never been considered one of the dominating commercial relational databases for the enterprise. Developers will go after the projects that interest them the most, but that doesn't guarantee end user adoption, she said.

"It remains to be seen whether or not developers find Ingres something they want to focus on."

Developers can download the Ingres source code, available on the Windows, Unix, OpenVMS and Linux platforms, here.