Who's who in open-sourcedatabases

Berkeley DB (www.sleepycat.com): An open- source database widely used for embedded applications, Berkeley DB eschews full SQL searching capabilities in favor of a compact, fleet design. Sleepycat Software Inc. of Lincoln, Mass., maintains the database software.

Derby (incubator.apache.org/derby/): Derby is a Java open-source database, based on the commercially available Cloudscape software from IBM Corp. This small-footprint database, which runs on the cross-platform Java Virtual Machine, can be embedded within applications or support application and Web servers.

db4o (www.db40.com): An open-source, object-oriented database from db4objects Inc. of San Mateo, Calif. The company claims that db4o is inherently better at storing multicomponent objects than relational databases, which must disassemble the objects across different table rows.

Ingres (opensource.ca.com): Ingres is an industrial-strength database, which Computer Associates International Inc. released under its own open-source license in May 2004. Prior to be being open-sourced, this once-popular database had rapidly lost ground to offerings from IBM and Oracle Corp.

MySQL (www.mysql.com): Probably the most widely used of open-source databases, MySQL is maintained by MySQL AB of Sweden. Although source code is available to users, MySQL does not accept volunteer contributions. MySQL is free; the company charges for support.

PostGreSQL (www.postgres.org): PostGreSQL is a volunteer-developed, object-relational database management system based on an implementation created by the University of California. The latest version includes enterprise features such as point-in-time recovery and save points.

Open Office (www.openoffice.org): Just as Microsoft Office comes with Access, a light SQL Server implementation, the volunteer-developed Open Office comes with Database User Tools. This Open Office database can interact with such other Open Office applications as the word processor and spreadsheet. Version 2 of Open Office, now in beta, will allow users to create cross-platform database applications.

About the Author

Joab Jackson is the senior technology editor for Government Computer News.

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