IBM yesterday contributed a copy of its Java-based database software to the open source community in a move it hopes will speed up development of new Java business applications.
Big Blue will give the Apache Software Foundation a copy of its Cloudscape relational database, codenamed 'Derby'.
Derby contains about half a million lines of code. But as it needs only 2MB of memory and no administration, it can easily be embedded in an application.
By opening up the source code, IBM hopes to foster the development of Java applications.
"It's really about the Java environment. [The database] makes it easier for developers to develop Java-based applications and deploy those," said Janet Perna, general manager of IBM data manager software.
The Derby project will first be managed by Apache Incubator, so that the code can be inspected to ensure it meets the organisation's licensing and integrity standards and so that a community can gather behind it.
Apache will then make the source code available for download within a few weeks, said Greg Stein, chairman of the Apache Software Foundation.
"We want to build a large community around these technologies. Once we've seen a valid community, Derby can move out of the incubator," he said.
Derby will primarily target what IBM estimates to be the 30 per cent of applications not requiring a full enterprise database, such as small websites and departmental systems.
Cloudscape is itself embedded in some 70 applications within IBM's software portfolio, especially in the Workplace, WebSphere Portal and WebSphere Application Server products. The product has not been commercially available since 1999, when IBM acquired it through the acquisition of Informix.
The open source code is expected to be available for download from Apache in a few weeks' time. A binary runtime copy is accessible at IBM's developers' site.
IBM also plans to deliver a commercial product based on the Derby code. While the IBM software will be available for free, the company plans to charge users for support. It has yet to decide if users should be charged a subscription or flat fee, said Perna.
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