Sun Backs Apache Derby With Java DB

Apache Derby, a project created by a code donation from IBM, is now a part of Sun Microsystems’ solutions.

Sun said it will combine Apache Derby with its patches and call it “Java DB.” The move adds yet another database to Sun’s increasing support of open source applications.

The Apache Derby project began in August 2004 with IBM’s donation of the Java-based Cloudscape relational database application to the Apache Software Foundation (ASF).

A year later, the project emerged out of Apache incubation, thanks in part to the support of Sun contributions.

Java DB is now integrated for data storage into the Sun Java System Portal Server 7.0. It is also the development database found in the current Sun Java System Application Server, as well as the in-development open source GlassFish project and as a plugin to support the database in Sun’s NetBeans IDE 5.0.

At the
end of November, Sun made its entire Java Enterprise System available for free.

Jim McHugh, senior director of software portfolio strategy and marketing
at Sun, explained that Sun’s productizing Java DB is a continuation of the
company’s effort into the Apache Derby project.

He noted
that the integration of Derby as Java DB into Sun’s application at this
point is also part of the maturation process of how Sun has been able to use
Derby and roll it out as a product.

Though Sun is rolling Apache Derby within its application under a
different name, McHugh doesn’t see Java DB as a “fork,” adding that, with the Apache convention it can take some time before a release
or patch, even if it is committed by Sun, will become a release.

McHugh noted that Sun wants to be able to give its users the benefit of the Sun patches in its release.

“For the integrity of Apache Derby, if we wanted to call our product
‘Apache Derby’ we’d have to be exactly up-to-the-minute connected,” McHugh
explained. “There is a big delta between a fork and just putting a patch
out there.

“We’ve been working on patches for quite some time; we plan on committing
everything back to the common, working with the community.”

McHugh argued that by backing Derby as the Java DB from Sun it actually
propel the project further while still allowing Sun to maintain the
integrity of the Apache naming convention and the process that they’ve setup
which Sun respects.

Apache Derby isn’t the only open source database that Sun supports. Sun
announced support
for PostgreSQL.

McHugh explained that the support of
Derby is a more developer centric support though from a customer use case
point of vie the support for both databases is at the same level with Sun
committed to supporting customers on both.

“We just believe that in the database space, and especially the open
source database space, there is a multi-prong approach needed to meet
customers’ needs at this stage,” McHugh said.

Though Apache Derby is by definition an open source project, McHugh
doesn’t necessarily see a need for competitive differentiation between what
Sun is doing with Derby and what IBM is doing with Derby.

“It’s more about what you do with it as opposed to differentiating on the
bits,” McHugh said. “We’ll be making sure it meets customers needs and that
the Apache Derby community continues to grow, and I’d expect that IBM would
do the same.”

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