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VA Linux supports open-source database software

VA Linux Systems puts its name behind the MySQL database software, an open-source alternative to proprietary software from competitors.

VA Linux Systems has put its name behind the MySQL database software, an open-source alternative to proprietary software from the likes of Oracle, Microsoft and IBM and a competitor to another open-source initiative.

VA, the fifth-largest seller of Linux computers, has invested an undisclosed sum in MySQL and will help MySQL with service and support programs designed to make the software more appealing to corporate customers, MySQL said. In addition, Internet software maker Progress Software invested $2.5 million in MySQL, the database company said.

The backing sharpens the difference between MySQL and open-source competitor PostgreSQL, which is being funded by start-up Great Bridge and its parent company, Landmark Communications.

With open-source software, programmers freely share programming instructions instead of keeping it a closely guarded secret. The most successful open-source product is Linux, an operating system that has made inroads not only against Unix, of which it is a clone, but also against Windows.

And in a significant shift for the database company, MySQL now is released under the General Public License, the best-understood open-source license and the one that covers Linux. The MySQL development effort now is hosted at VA's SourceForge site.

GPL allows anyone to use or modify the underlying source code for a software package, provided that any changes are published publicly if a person distributes a modified version. The previous license for MySQL was more prohibitive, MySQL said.

MySQL is used to run SourceForge, download site Tucows, open-source software download site Freshmeat, "news for nerds" site Slashdot and

VA also announced it has released a new low-end server, the one-processor, 1.75-inch thick 1150. The machine, with prices starting at $2,400, is designed to be bolted to racks and is best suited to delivering Web pages to Internet browsers.

The 1150 design is based on the product line VA acquired when it bought TruSolutions in March, VA said.