IBM's Cloudscape Database Goes Open Source

IBM Software is offering up its Java-based Cloudscape database to the open source world.

August 4, 2004

2 Min Read
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IBM Software is offering up its Java-based Cloudscape database to the Apache Software Foundation and thus to the open source world.

IBM is turning "Derby," a copy of its current Cloudscape relational database, over to the ASF "to spur more communal innovation for Java application development," IBM said Tuesday morning.

"We're shipping it off to the ASF for testing and will license it back, package it up and sell it primarily for support and service," said Paul Rivot, director of database servers for IBM Software.

ISVs and other partners can bundle IBM's version of the software, which IBM would help service and support, or get the software free from Apache and offer it with their own support and maintenance services.

IBM contributed the code to Apache under the ASF corporate contributor license grant. The Apache Incubator will manage the effort, inspecting code to make sure it meets standards for licensing and integrity. The group will also set up and manage community development."It's not earthshaking but a logical step for IBM to take with this particular technology," said Mike Gilpin, vice president of Forrester Research, Cambridge, Mass. "They've shown with other techs that in Java it can be helpful to bring in intellectual capacity of the open source community to help technologies grow. Any time it's a more commoditized technology, where it's not where IBM wants to differentiate, it makes sense to do thisand I think you'll see more of this approach not only by IBM but other companies as well."

The news will come today at LinuxWorld Expo in San Francisco. The contribution amounts to more than a half million lines of code which IBM estimates to be worth $85 million. IBM Software acquired Cloudscape in its billion-dollar buyout of the Informix database business three years ago.

At that time, Cloudscape, an embeddable Java-based database, was something of an afterthought in IBM's effort to buy enterprise database market share. But more recently it's come into its own. IBM Lotus selected it as the client database for its strategic Workplace offerings.

IBM said this is the first time IBM has turned over a commercial product to the open source world. It is unclear whether IBM will continue to offer a commercial version of the database as well. Besides Workplace, Cloudscape is embedded in WebSphere Application Server and portal software.

With this move, IBM hopes to make Cloudscape the de facto standard embeddable databases. It may also hope to ratchet up pressure on Sun Microsystems to open source more or all of Java itself, some observers said.0

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