Another Day, Another Database

by David Penn

The increasing clamor around Linux and embedded systems has revealed an equally rancorous cacophony in the field of data management. Whereas companies peddling Linux straight up have been working to retool their distributions or to partner up with others who are making tracks with embedded systems, many companies that are relatively recent newcomers to the world of open-source software are scrambling to make both moves--often at the same time.

Centura Software Corporation is in many ways just such a company. After a day-of-release blunder in proclaiming its new database as the "first open-source data management solution" (a trophy which is more likely sitting on the shelves of the PostgreSQL developer team), the company is now focused on increasing the developer community for db.linux.

db.linux, like many other open-source embedded databases on the market, is a scalable, extensible product applicable to telecommunications, network/systems management and real-time contexts. Combining both relational and pointer-based navigational network database models, db.linux uses a C API library and, with C or C++ application development tools, allows developers to create high-performance embedded database applications.

Centura Software Corporation has partnered with OpenAvenue, a self-titled "open-source service provider" for the actual hosting and management of the db.linux source code. The hosting will take place at OpenAvenue's OpenAvenue Source Infrastructure System (OAsis), a web-based infrastructure of technology and services (still in beta). Like many such on-line open-source directories, OAsis will work to "facilitate collaboration among db.linux users and developers". The site will also feature project hosting, life-cycle management and collaboration on a global scale.

Said Scott Broomfield, chairman and CEO of Centura, "Our partnership with OpenAvenue extends the possibilities for open sourcing world-class data management. We believe db.linux will give developers worldwide the opportunity to work with an enterprise class, high-performance embedded database leading to enormous technological advances in the Information Appliance and mobile computing space."

So what does Centura see as its central role in db.linux? "Added value". Through a tripartite strategy of consulting services, packaged products and connectivity products, Centura is looking to shift the majority of the open-source dirty work to specialists (such as OpenAvenue) while focusing on the other half of its open-source strategy--namely, what Mr. Klein referred to as open-source deployment, in addition to open-source development.

db.linux runs on Red Hat Linux 6.0 and "descends", says Centura's Andrew Klein, from Centura's Raima Database Manager (RDM), a product that has been a mainstay of Centura's line for the past 15 years. Companies such as AOL, Hewlett-Packard, Nortel and Cigma have used Centura's RDM in their set-top boxes, games and other products. It is this success that db.linux hopes to leverage with its foray into the open-source marketplace.

db.linux, scheduled to be available at the end of the month, will be put under the Mozilla license, which Klein considers "the most popular" of the open-source licensing alternatives. The Mozilla license is also preferred by many companies insofar as the terms of the license provide wide opportunities for both open and free software development communities, as well as for commercial programmers.

Interested in more information on Linux databases? Check out our interview with Inprise/Borland (now part of Corel Corporation) CEO Dale Fuller here.


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