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Inprise/Borland Challenges Other Vendors to Open-Source Their Database Code

Written By: M. Reed
Published On: January 17 2000

Event Summary

"SCOTTS VALLEY, Calif. - January 3, 2000 - Inprise Corporation (Nasdaq: INPR) today announced that it plans to jump to the forefront of the Linux database market by open-sourcing InterBase 6, the new version of its cross-platform SQL database. Inprise plans to release InterBase in open-source form for multiple platforms, including Linux, Windows NT, and Solaris, make the database available at no charge, and spin the InterBase division off into a separate company.

"Inprise will be taking a leadership role in the Open-Source movement by releasing InterBase 6 under an open-source license. We are taking this bold step because we believe every Linux distribution needs InterBase," said Dale Fuller, interim CEO and president of Inprise Corporation. "By open-sourcing InterBase, we will be unleashing a world-class database for companies worldwide to develop and deploy business-critical, mobile computing, and Internet-based applications for multiple platforms, including Linux, Solaris, and Windows NT. This is an amazing opportunity for Inprise, its customers and the Open-Source community."

"Inprise open-sourcing InterBase is a step forward for software users," said Eric S. Raymond, president of the Open Source Initiative. "As open-source releases of operating systems and critical middleware become the norm, Inprise's release will undoubtedly raise the quality bar and customers will reap huge benefits in reliability, security, and total cost of ownership."

The source code for InterBase 6 is scheduled to be published during the first part of the year 2000. The company also announced it plans to continue to sell and support InterBase 5.6 through normal distribution channels. Inprise plans to announce further details of its rollout plans for the InterBase open-source project on its Web site."

Market Impact

As customers increasingly recognize the importance of the open-source movement, especially in light of the success of the Linux operating system and the spectacular IPO's of VA Linux and Red Hat, this move by Inprise/Borland is likely to have a strong market impact. Investors have already shown their approval for the move, with shares of Inprise closing up 26% to 13 15/16. Other small database vendors such as Progress Software (whose version 8.3b database has been ported to Red Hat Linux 6.0) will likely have to consider the move to open-source.

User Recommendations

Customers considering database purchases should investigate the importance of the open-source movement to their environment. There may be compelling reasons why database customization is desirable. Even if there is no need in the short term, circumstances may change later in the development cycle. Customers using InterBase include Boeing, MCI, NASA, and the U.S. Army, so support for the product is sure to continue.

 
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