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8/3/2004
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CA Offers Cash For Database Converters

Software vendor launches a $1 million contest to help its Ingres database, which it's turning over to the open-source community.

Computer Associates on Wednesday plans to reveal further efforts to push its Ingres database into the open-source community with a $1 million contest intended to reward the creation of database converter programs.

The company will officially make the Ingres database available Wednesday at the LinuxWorld trade show and anticipates "thousands of downloads," says Mark Barrenechea, senior VP of product development for CA.

"We very much want to fund open innovation and we think it is time to make databases and the applications that run on top of them ubiquitous, and Ingres is a fantastic technology," he says. "We think the barrier to the next wave of innovation is converting from expensive, proprietary databases to open-standard, open-source databases."

CA will award five prizes totaling $1 million at CAWorld 2005 in Orlando, Fla., to individuals developing the best converters for moving customers from Oracle, Informix, DB2, SQL server, and Sybase databases to the Ingres database. The top prize could be worth as much as $500,000. Submissions will be accepted through Feb. 1.

"Linux has proved you can have a successful commercial business around open source," Barrenechea says. "The innovation model in high tech is no longer constrained to corporations, no longer constrained to universities, no longer constrained to venture capitalists, but now is open to a million developers strong who want to contribute."

Barrenechea also says he has doubts that IBM's announcement Tuesday that it's releasing its Java-based Cloudscape database to the Apache Software Foundation will prove successful. "It's a small database and doesn't have a much of a following," he says. "IBM has already gone through a couple of open-source initiatives that failed. Their distributed lock manager and Axis for XML have either been abandoned or died on arrival."

CA revealed its intention to release Ingres to the open-source community at CAWorld 2004 in Las Vegas in May. CA acquired the Ingres database from Ask Computer Systems a decade ago.

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