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.

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