3 August 2004 Computer giant IBM has announced plans to contribute more than half a million lines of its software code, which it claims is worth $85 million, to the open source community.
IBM will hand over the code for Cloudscape, a Java programming language, to the Apache Software Foundation, the developers behind the popular Apache web server. Within the open source community, the new database will be called ‘Derby’.
According to Janet Perna, general manager for data management software at IBM, the move – one of the largest-ever transfers of proprietary code to open source code – supports IBM’s strategy to try and lure software developers to write more applications in the Java programming language. “Our whole motivation is to accelerate innovation,” she said
The theory is that the more Java applications that are written, the greater the incentive for organisations to deploy Java standard application servers and, in particular, WebSphere, IBM’s Java-based application development and deployment platform.
Industry analysts suggest that the move is a tactical ploy to help bolster Java against Microsoft’s competing application development environment, called .Net.
The announcement also underpins IBM’s support for open source software. The company claims that it employs hundreds of employees to write code for open source software, particularly Linux, and is involved in some 150 projects in this area.
Greg Stein, chairman of the open source Apache Software Foundation, said: “This is going to provide some additional very useful tools for Java developers. It is one of the largest contributions that Apache has ever received.”