Much of what we see and do in the internet today depends primarily on databases that allow retrieval and storage of data. Database management tools that are either powered by proprietary software or open-source software. Open-source software is computer software whose source code is available under a copyright license that permits users to study, change, and improve the software, and to redistribute it in modified or unmodified form (Wikipedia, 2006). The term open source became popular when Linux operating system such as Red Hat began to penetrate the personal computer market.The question then arises of whether the open-source software will soon dominate the field of database management.
It has often been said that the battle for dominance between open-source and proprietary database software is like the battle between good and evil. ANALYSIS Existing Open-Source Database Software The two most popular open-source database management software are MySQL, a lightning-quick database with roots in Sweden, and PostgreSQL, the latest version of a venerable database project (Postgres) that began at the University of California, Berkeley (Weyner, 2001).These software are commonly included free together with other packages. The packages includes open-source license and can easily be obtained free from websites or from supporting firms with minimum replication fee. Open-source software comes with availability of the software code to the user which makes them attractive to developers.
Open-source database management software are low cost alternative for expensive software such as Microsoft SQL or Oracle. Presently, these two software have already gain a significant portion of the whole database management tool usage.According to Weyner (2001), many Web sites, including Yahoo and Slashdot, depend upon open-source databases like MySQL to store articles and comments. Open-source software includes free distribution of source code making them available to any interested software developer for testing or modification. Advantages/Disadvantages of Open-Source Software Open-source software gain more reliability because of the fact that virtually they are developed and tested by an infinite number of developers.
Any developer interested can easily get the code for free and study it for whatever purpose. It is necessary that database management software should be free from failure. Otherwise a great number of important data will be lost and the value of these data would equal to a significant monetary loss for the company. Of course the other major advantage is cost, since they are normally distributed for free, there is no need to pay for the software, the cost is limited to the minimum manpower required to install and maintain it.Although, due to the absence of a focused company open-source software normally suffers from the lack of support and limited documentation. According to Robert Beer, a London-based programmer who identifies himself as a “long-term Oracle DBA and recent Postgres convert, that he can only find one good book from London’s excellent bookshops or on the Net while on the other hand, the world is awash with great books and courses on Oracle and SQLServer (Weyner, 2001).
Needs for Dominating the Field of Database ManagementFirst, there is a need for open-source software to live-up to its name of being reliable. A report of serious failure could deter other company who are already considering but are still skeptic of the software’s capability. Second, open-source database management software must also show some positive sign of continual development. One of the fear of large company to use open source software is the possibility that it would die. Fidelity’s Brenner said that one of the things we look for if we’re adopting open-source technology is, ‘What happens if it dies? ‘ (Vaas, 2005).Third, support groups must emerge to provide service to the present users of open-source software. Manual and documentation should be developed by open-source advocates to hasten the assimilation of its use.
Fourth, open-source must also provide the ability to co-exist with the existing proprietary software. This would allow a smooth transition from the use of proprietary software to open-source. Finally, open-source software must grow comparable to existing commercial database software and prove that it can provide the functionalities of expensive commercial software.