UK Government appears to recommend Ingres over Oracle …

UK government backs open source

On the face of it, this sounds good news ..

But like many things – I don’t think people understand the issues

The BBC article refers to two Open source comments

Simon Phipps, chief open source officer for Sun Microsystems, said the UK government’s stance was part of a “global wave” of take up for open source in governments.


Steve Shine, Ingres says Open source can help avoid many of the hidden costs of proprietary software

I have already said before the misconceptions of open source governance and open source licensing model Open is the new closed? – Bringing transparency to Open source by separating Open source licensing models and Open source governance models ..

Let us consider the mention of Ingres in the context of Open source above ..

A long time ago .. I used to work for PeopleSoft which is now Oracle corporation . Prior to mobile, I have worked extensively on databases(especially Oracle) and also data warehouses.

So, databases are familiar to me ..

Hence, I was surprised to see Ingres now calling itself an Open source company information management company ..

Was it the same Ingres which used to be around so many years ago? (at that time the race was between Oracle, Sybase, Informix and Ingres)

Over the years – Oracle won! By a wide margin!

In fact, I did not know that Ingres still existed :) until I read this article

Yet – by calling itself ‘Open source’ a once forgotten company tries to be ‘cool’!

Worse – in my view – the UK government seems to mandate that Ingres(because it is supposedly Open source) is better than Oracle(which is not)

Anyone who knows anything about database business knows that the critical factor is not open source – but the data itself(protection, reliability, etc etc)

These factors seem to be ignored and ‘Open source’ seems to be the key criteria for inclusion

I have said before .. that there are politics of Open source .. and while Open source has its place within any ecosystem – governments and regulatory bodies should not mandate Open source or open standards one way or the other. Microsoft vs. the EU: Can we legislate to force a company to use Web standards ..

That’s a key line to cross .. and it would appear to me that companies who have not been commercially successful(like Ingres) are now claiming product superiority over those that have(like Oracle) only by claiming to be ‘Open source’ – a factor that has only limited value in the broad scheme of things within a database context

Disclaimer: I have no commercial relationship with Oracle


  1. John Clarke says:

    Having been an Ingres database user for a number of years I can with some authority say that technically it is a very good product. However, one big omission is a free text search module.
    That aside I would rather use Ingres than Oracle any day and it will be cheaper to administer week to week.
    But there is a sting in the tale. Ingres whilst proclaiming to be open-source and technically it is, isn’t cheap. Moreover, there sales tactics are somewhat aggressive in my humble opinion.
    I would however, recommend that you perform your own calculations before getting into bed with Ingres.