Computer Associates International made a major commitment to open-source software development on Monday, announcing a plan to "open" its Ingres database and outlining partnerships with other open-source projects.
The expected announcement calls for the management software company to make the source code for its Ingres database on Linux available for download within 90 days. Computer Associates will also offer an open-source license called the CA Trusted Open Source License (CA-TOSL). The new license, which Computer Associates expects will gain certification from the Open Source Initiative, will provide the legal protections demanded by corporate customers, CA executives said.
"There are a couple of challenges for CIOs from commercial companies from using open source. First is having a trusted lineage of the source code, and second is (legal) indemnification," said Mark Barrenechea, CA's senior vice president of product development. The CA-TOSL license is derived from the existing Common Public License.
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Computer Associates also outlined plans to collaborate with existing open-source projects and the software they create, including Java server software from JBoss, the Zope Web content management system, and the Plone document management software.
In another effort to boost its participation in open-source projects, Computer Associates has contributed software called Kernel Generalized Event Model to the Linux development process. The software, which the company hopes will be incorporated into the Linux operating system kernel in the next few months, is designed to improve the security of Linux and to feed performance information from Linux systems to management systems.
Overall, Computer Associates' goal is to tap into the broad open-source development community and create a "stack" of open-source software tuned specifically for management, Barrenenchea said.
"I've been pretty impressed with CA's aggressiveness in going after open source," said Bob Bickel, vice president of corporate development and strategy at JBoss. "I think they've done their homework pretty well."
Computer Associates and JBoss have penned an agreement to optimize the Ingres database to work with Hibernate, a JBoss-run project that creates software for feeding data from relational databases to Java applications. CA will distribute the Hibernate software along with JBoss' software and offer commercial support licenses for the software package.
Computer Associates intends to create closer ties with the newly created Plone Foundation and Zope open-source project. The company intends to optimize its management software for both products, said Sam Greenblatt, senior vice president and chief architect of CA's Linux technology group.
Computer Associates' BrightStor storage management product, BrightStor Document Manager, will use the Plone document management software, and CA will contribute code and people to the Plone project. Similarly, Computer Associates will create closer integration between the Zope content management software and its Ingres database.
The decision to make its Ingres database open-source will benefit the company overall, said Andrew Schroepfer, president and founder of Tier 1 Research. The Ingres database has relatively small market share and, compared to other products, Ingres has not benefited from a large amount of development resources at Computer Associates.
"While CA may be giving up revenue from their Ingres customers, they can make it up (by) cross-selling to customers who want to go more into open source," Schroepfer said. "It's a net positive."
The open-source version of Ingres on Linux will join a number of other open-source databases now available, such as MySQL and PostgreSQL. Most likely, the Ingres open-source database will appeal primarily to Computer Associates' existing customers, Bickel said.
By making the Ingres database open-source, Computer Associates hopes to add more features through volunteer programmers while reducing the cost of its own management software products, which run on the Ingres database, company executives said.
As part of its plans to make an open-source project around Ingres, CA said it has beefed up the database clustering features. The company has created closer technical integration with Oracle Cluster File System and IBM's Distributed Lock Manager for clustered Linux servers.