IBM Tosses Embedded Database to Apache

For the second time in a week, a little-known database is making its way
into the open source community. IBM
released a copy of its Java-based Cloudscape relational database application
to the Apache Software Foundation (ASF), officials announced Tuesday.

Last week, management software developer Computer Associates
released
its own database, Ingres Enterprise Relational Database (Ingres r3), under
the CA Trusted Open Source License model.

Like Cloudscape, Ingres r3 is a niche database application that isn’t widely used in
the enterprise software sector. However,
Cloudscape doesn’t interfere or
compete with the more established relational database applications, such as
MySQL, Microsoft’s SQL Server or IBM’s own
DB2.

Only 2 megabytes in size, Cloudscape targets simple Web-based or embedded
device database needs within small businesses and doesn’t scale nearly
enough to compete in the enterprise space.

IBM officials said they put a lot of thought into its open source
initiatives, unlike efforts by companies like CA’s open source incubator,
which the company said doesn’t have broad-based community support like Apache.

“What’s different with what CA and some of the other folks are doing is that
they’re throwing their code over the wall and hoping it sticks,”
said Paul Rivot, IBM software group data management director. “We’re
putting it into Apache; what will really make these open source
[initiatives] work is if you get a community around something like Apache,
an independent group that’s really maintaining — looking at it on behalf of
the community.”

IBM officials value the donation to
the Apache Foundation at $85 million, the cost of acquiring the technology
in the first place and the subsequent development of the approximately 500,000
lines of code. Much of Cloudscape’s use within IBM has been internal,
within its WebSphere, Lotus and Tivoli brands, Rivot said.

IBM will still develop Cloudscape for customers using the application,
charging for support and maintenance of the embedded database or customized
deployments. Rivot said the company will not fork development efforts
between IBM and Apache’s Derby, but will incorporate future versions into
its own product.

IBM officials said Derby has already been approved by developers in the
Apache Incubator Project and will be available for download on its Web site. In addition, it
has been endorsed by the Red Hat , Novell , Turbolinux and Red Flag
Linux distributions.

“The Apache Software Foundation is pleased to help bring the Derby project
to the open source community,” said Greg Stein, ASF chairman, in a statement
Monday. “By accepting Derby into the incubator, we are taking a big step
forward in providing a turnkey database solution to Java application
developers.”

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