Embracing Open Source


It’s hard to believe that it was three years ago this month that we made the announcement that we were contributing Actian to the open source community. Prior to the public announcement we briefed some of our key customers and I remember being shocked by the negative reaction from some of our most loyal supporters. There was a lot of fear, uncertainty and doubt as to what a shift to open source meant. The biggest concern and misunderstanding was that by making the source code available and adopting an open source development model we were compromising the integrity and security of Actian deployments. We spent a lot of time educating our community about open source and security, but a lot of money had been ploughed into the “security through obscurity” lobby, so we had a tough up-hill battle on our hands. I met recently with one of the most vocal customer objectors of our shift to open source. They are responsible for handling very sensitive financial data, and data security is their primary concern. During our recent meeting we talked about the fact that they’re deploying open source network and system monitoring software, as well as content management, business intelligence and reporting solutions. We also talked about the possibility of producing an open source CMDB appliance based on Actian Icebreaker. I was really thrilled to see that they’ve embraced open source in the way that they have and for all the right reasons – while they’re cost sensitive and looking at the value proposition, they also like the flexibility and extensibility of the open source model.

I was reminded during this meeting of my idol Dave Dargo’s assertion that open source will disappear and become a natural part of the IT landscape. For this particular organization Dave’s prophecy is true today. Check out Dave’s blog if you haven’t already.

About Emma McGrattan

As SVP of Engineering at Actian, Emma leads development for the Actian Vector team, including the Ingres and X100 components, and the Actian Matrix Planner team. A leading authority in DBMS technologies, Emma is celebrating 20 years in Ingres and Actian Engineering.

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