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This chapter is from the book

How Can IBM Sell a Product for Profit and Contribute the Same Product to the Open Source Community?

Some members of the community might be skeptical about how IBM could possibly open source the code base for a product that is a source of revenue. Remember, if you choose to use IBM Cloudscape instead of Apache Derby, you are not paying for the right to use the database; you are only paying for a support contract (if you want one).

IBM has long been a strong contributor of open source software and open standards, especially in the areas of XML, Linux, Web Services, HTML, IP, HTTP, J2EE, true grid computing, and more. For example, IBM invented and donated the Distributed Relational Database Architecture (DRDA) standard for client/server communications.

The XML4J processor is another example of software that was developed in an IBM proprietary manner and later successfully open sourced. If you go to the Apache Web site, you will find the Xerces XML projects in the project list—those came from IBM. IBM actually helped start the Apache Software Foundation, so Apache Derby and Apache Xerces are great examples of the synergy that can be leveraged between open source and the for-profit business sector. This can work as long as the for-profit side of the equation is committed to open standards.

One of the best known contributions from IBM to the open source community is the Eclipse project (http://www.eclipse.org), a very successful open source integrated development environment (IDE) that was donated by IBM after they invested over 40 million dollars into it, and it not only lives on today, but has developed into a thriving community into the millions.

Other examples include IBM’s extensive contributions to the Globus Alliance Grid specification (http://www.globus.org/ogsa/), the millions of dollars contributed toward the Linux movement, and the fact that IBM has led or co-led the creation of Web Service foundation technologies. IBM has also made significant contributions to Java; in fact, by contributing the IBM Cloudscape technology to the open source community as Apache Derby, IBM is enabling Java to expand into new market segments. This is not market posturing; this is real code that has changed (and is changing) the IT landscape forever.

The Apache Derby contribution represents over 500,000 lines of code, estimated to be worth over 85 million dollars!

So, in a nutshell, IBM is a significant force supporting open source innovation and collaboration. The company participated in more than 120 collaborative projects that have been contributed to the open source community. IBM contributed 500 patents into a "patent commons" for development and innovation. IBM has invested more than $1 billion in Linux development. IBM drives the adoption of and migrations to Linux among the development community, and expands enterprise-class tools for open source developers. So indeed, one can say that IBM is involved in open source!

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