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SAP DB Database To Be GPLed? 59

martin-k writes: "German newsticker reports that SAP will announce tomorrow the GPL release of SAP DB, a database based on Software AG's Adabas. Have a look at but be sure to have Babelfish handy - it's in German." Babelfish is at Altavista - but the translation is bad. As far as I can tell, it sounds like they are expecting the announcement tomorrow, at LinuxWorld Germany, with the license being either the GPL or the LGPL. If you are fluent in German, please post a little more in the comments. From what I can tell it's not their flagship, but one of the parts of one, or another database?
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SAP DB Database To Be GPLed?

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  • I worked with Adabas for quite some time, It is one heck of a powerful DB server, and quite usable too considering it's age.

    I'm curious to see if this will include access to natural, the language that originally was used to access Adabas (and was imho superior to SQL).

  • tomorrow at LinuxWorld in Frankfurt Germany, SAP is going to announce that they will release their database SAP DB under the LGPL respectively the GPL. Their database is being used mainly by SAP themselfes and their flagship product SAP R3. R3 though does support a few other db systems like Informix, Oracle or DB2. SAP DB is their first major project they are releasing to the public.

    -well seems like babelfish didn't do that bad of a job :)
  • And they could learn to spell. Or run a spell checker.

    And they could try to not put the same article twice on the front page.

    Lots of room for improvement.
  • the news bit translated into English:

    c't has learned that SAP will announce tomorrow at LinuxWorld in Frankfurt, Germany, that it plans to release its database SAP DB under the GPL/LGPL. The SQL database has so far been mostly used together with the flagship of the Walldorf company, namely the SAP R3 enterprise resource planning system. However, R3 offers also interfaces to other databases like Informix, Oracle or DB2. With SAP DB, SAP is releasing a larger software project in source code form for the first time.
  • This is a pretty accurate translation, I would say. It really doesn't say anything more in the article.

    According to information of c't, [that's one of the magazines that heise publishes; note of the translator] SAP plans to put their SAP DB under the GPL, respectively the LGPL, at tommorow's LinuxWorld in Frankfurt. This SQL-Database is currently used mainly by the flagship of the Walldorf company, SAP R3. R3 also has interfaces to other databases like Informix, Oracle or DB2. SAP DB is the first bigger SAP project whose sourcecode is freely available.
  • Well, spelling is not really as big a problem. Stories still get understood, even if the spelling is off. After all, slashdot never tried to be a professional news agency. More of a forum, with all of its inherent flaws.

    However public polling on posted stories is something i think that /. could use.

  • Sorry, step, but I'm even more cynical. Maybe they're seeing competition from Oracle increasing, and wanted to streamline? Then they can just dump the DB developers and concentrate efforts on SAP R/3.

    Then again, I may be speaking out of my arse.

  • Having worked with SAP in Walldorf and fought with SAP DB, I don't see how anyone will benefit from an open source SAP DB.

    For those who don't know, SAP R/3 is their flagship product and is the leading ERP system in use today. It competes with the likes of Baan and Peoplesoft. All (or most) of the data that the R/3 system (often a cluster of machines running any number of related applications) is stored on a central database. At one point, this was Oracle or SAP DB.

    I seem to recall SAP ditching their relationship with Oracle (because Oracle decided to compete with SAP), and going exclusively with SAP DB. However, SAP DB isn't notoriously standards compliant, and we had to write a bunch of specific code to deal with its idiosyncracies.

    But SAP as a company has been trying to embrace Linux and the Web, so maybe this is an attempt at getting a better feel for the Open Source community with a component that could only stand to benefit from additional resources.

    I don't know about anyone else, but I know I won't be looking at that source code.


  • When I worked in the mainframe environment, I used Software AG's database (Adabase) for six years. It is a very fast database and would be a nice addition to the open source community. It's major weakpoint is that it isn't optimized for SQL (or at least it wasn't 4 years ago...)
  • Well whats wrong with German language news... Especially give SAP is a large multinational and if they do release a GPL'd database it will giev more weight to the Opensource efforts. We need more companies prepared to do things like this, and if the early news happens to be on a German site, well I know what I'd rather have... And as you posted as AC I can't be expected to know you where UK based...
  • Interesting - some more details are at - as well as Oracle compatibility, it has Access database migration as one interesting feature, along with JDBC, ODBC, Perl DBI, Tcl/Tk support, and so on.

    I wasn't aware that SAP had acquired Adabas-D, but it looks quite useful - certainly quite fully featured.

  • In this case it means "more specifically".
  • Interesting thoughts; I could believe that this simultaneously represents a shot over the bows both of Oracle, with which SAP long has had something of a love/hate relationship, and of Microsoft, where the "love-in" has mostly appeared "soured" by virtue of the Linux-related SAP initiatives.

    It was pretty likely that many of the companies spending lots on Adabas-D were running R/3 on top of it, in which case it makes sense for the DB to jump over to SAP as it is effectively being used as an "embedded" database, not as a fullscale product in its own right. For SAP to "own" it means that they can have more control over integration between R/3 and SAP-DB, which is useful. And if SAP owns it, then all the money for licensing flows to SAP.

    With the somewhat limited use of SAP DB (compared to Oracle, DB/2, Informix, ...), and the difficulty of pushing into a pretty saturated market, it makes as much sense as anything for SAP AG to not worry about getting any licensing revenue from SAP DB, and just give it away. If it gives the vicarious thrill of injuring Oracle a little bit, and injuring Microsoft a little bit, that may be a nice bonus. :-)

  • If I am not mistaken isn't Adabas-D the default database for StarOffice with a fairly tight coupling. Having this GPL'ed can only be a good thing as the monolithic StarOffice is broken up into smaller footprint Office "solutions" used by KDE or Gnome etc..
  • Not much else in the article, just a mention that the SAP DB is used in their SAP R3 product. Dunno much about sap, but according to some of the (also in german), R3 apparently runs about 90% on Oracle, anyway. []

  • Here are the most important informations out of the article:

    SAP will release SAP DB to GPL (or LGPL) tomorrow at LinuxWorld in Frankfurt/Main. The SQL-Database is mostly used in conjunction with their flagship-product SAP R3 (which does also offer connectivity to other DBs like Informix, Oracle or DB2). SAP DB is the first (bigger) piece of software ever released to open source by SAP.

    -Yet another SQL-database ;-)
    -They won't release SAP R3 as open source...

  • do we need open sourced? We have mySql, which has a large market share, we have mSql, postgresSQL, etc. etc. This is just another thing to pop on and bog down your server. Granted, it is a good thing, however we need to 'embrace and extend' a reliable open source database and take it to the full highest level we can....thus creating good competition for the likes of MSSQL and Oracle. Personally, I prefer MySQL , just for the great integration between it and PHP. You run into lots of wierd coding problems when your developing web->dbase gateways, and flooding the market with more dbases wont help the situation. anybody who has had to use a dbase gateway to support legacy systems knows what i mean.

    "sex on tv is bad, you might fall off..."
  • It's not like we can compare the existing database with the GPL one. We can look at the GPL code and say "LOOK, they did some cool shit, now if i just do this..." and so on. But we never no if the existing one has the same code base. If we perform any benchmarks they can just say, "Platform Differences, Complier Differences" and we all know that you really can't trust benchmarks to prove anything.
    Maybe I'm just paranoid

  • Are making fun because he doesn't speak German? or are you just an asshole.

  • That SAP wants to acknowledge that the information in c't is correct, that SAP's SQL database is going to be placed under the GPL (that is, the LGPL). Up until now, the SAP database came primarily in connection with the Walldorf company's flagship product, SAP R3. Above all, SAP R3 offers support for other databases such as Informix, Oracle, and DB2. With the SAP database, SAP, for the first time, is freely releasing source code.

  • by Dilbert_ ( 17488 ) on Wednesday October 04, 2000 @06:14AM (#732293) Homepage
    With iTranslator [] I get this translation...

    SAP goes OpenSource The SAP wants to care after c't-Informationen for the LinuxWorld in Frankfurt known tomorrow that she/it her/its/their data bank SAP DB under the GPL respectively LGPL will put. The SQL-Datenbank come in the connection with the flagship of the Walldorfer company, him/it, until now mainly Merchandise-economic system SAP R3, to the usage. R3 offers however also matching units for others Data banks like Informix, Oracle or DB2. With SAP DB, the SAP gives a bigger for the first time Software-project in the source code free.
  • According to comments from Sun developers at, the version of Staroffice that will be released on October 13 will be alpha at best. What Sun has done is merely rip out all the code out of Staroffice that they do not own and made sure that the code still compiles. It is not a fully functional product. Staroffice 6.0, which will have functionality comparable to the current version 5.2, is not expected to be available for several months. It will probably not be available before Gnome 2.0 is released.


  • If you want to actually at least try the SAP DB you can get it with the evaluation version of the flagship software package for Linux. Be sure to check the installation requirements, for most people here they shouldn't be a problem. You can find it at Surprised I don't see this announcement there. Most of these posts are correct that most SAP customers don't use SAP DB. It's worth noting that Oracle is only the world's largest database software company because of sales of SAP's products. Tschoo
  • It's not _the_ backend, it is SAP's db backend for SAP R/3. You can use Informix, DB2, Oracle MSSQL etc. in place of SAP DB.

    Most SAP implementations I have heard of are using one of the more popular DB products, and up until recently SAP's own internal systems were running on Oracle.

  • I wasn't trying to do either, admittedly Slashdot is based in the US, but the internet is international.

    Slashdot reports tech-industry stories, so if a newsworthy story happens in Germany, do you not want to hear about it?

    I don't speak German but I'm happy to see this story posted, I can get a vague translation through Babelfish and I know that very shortly a German speaking slashdotter will post a translation.

    I was having a go at the attitude that seemed to be shown of, if it doesn't come from USA then I don't want to hear about it.
  • ok, ive never used this dbms, but the real question is, does it have tools, and are they too going to be opened up?
    Sure, MySQL is fine for wimpy things like webwork where your just pushing SQL replys, but real uses require real tools. Informix's real value comes from isql and dbaccess and i4GL: the forms designers and query tools and RAD tools. Integration with tools like Crystal reports and Incognito are important.
    Its the tools that add the value of the database, so are there any?
  • I think it should become a standard practice on Slashdot that whenever someone posts a story containing the sentence
    The article is in
    [insert language here], so use BabelFish
    the post should include a link to the BableFished article. Just to save the readers some clicks.

    Only a thought.

  • could be. what i think that's happening though is that they've realized that most companies toss their DB and use one of the big players (oracle, informix, db2, ...) instead. i suppose the development and support doesn't really pay off, but they also can't just go ahead and dump their DB and tell people that they'll have to shell out even more big $$$ for a DB backend.
    solution: make it open source, let the general public fix the bugs and create new versions instead. their in-house developers can then go back to working on R3.
  • Also, I very much doubt that this DB is even in the same league as mySQL - and by that I don't mean better or worse overall - simply that they will do different things. You won't want to use this SAP DB as a web backend I suspect (designed for different purposes).

    Not really. Most of what SAP does is online transaction processing, which, if you have a reasonably dynamic website (think Slashdot), is what your backend needs to be able to handle.

    However, I suspect that this database is pretty mediocre: Why else would most SAP installations use a different database?

  • SAP goes Open Source

    According to c't information [c't is a high-quality german computer mag, similar to Byte], SAP will announce tomorrow at the LinuxWorld conference in Frankfurt that they are going to release their database SAP DB under the GPL or LGPL license. This SQL database is currently mostly used in connection with the Walldorf company's flagship product SAP R3, a system to automate business processes. R3 also includes interfaces to other databases such as Informix, Oracle or DB2.

    SAP DB is the first major open source release of SAP.


  • "beziehungsweise LGPL" means "possibly" "or" or -most closely- "that is" LGPL
  • SAP has to be the worst product of it's kind. It may be great but the interface eats it. Extremely bulky and think M$ makes bloatware...hah! This is one of those products that should never have even been considered for GPL...
  • I'm not sure, but I believe that Oracle is the most popular database for SAP R/3 installations.

    I would bet that this move is all about SAP chafing under their relationship with Oracle. On the one hand, they are heavily dependent on Oracle RDBMS as a component, on the other hand, Oracle is, successfully as of late, competing with SAP with their Oracle Apps.

    It's a complicated world out there. Lately, SAP have been aligning themselves more and more with Microsoft. Ellison has declared war on .net with their own, yet to be named, internet-based distributed application framework. SAP is taking a shot at Oracle with this move, I think, but doing it in a way that doesn't put them too close to Microsoft. You can hardly be considered a friend of Microsoft by GPLing applications, with Microsoft's forays into the Linux world rumored and real, this may be changing, however.

    Sure, you could have always used this database with your SAP R/3 installation, but now SAP might benefit from Open Source development of it and Oracle will have to fend off yet another Open Source RDBMS.

    All pure speculation...
    -Jordan Henderson

  • by Christopher B. Brown ( 1267 ) <> on Wednesday October 04, 2000 @06:36AM (#732306) Homepage
    SAP DB was previously known as Adabas-D, which, in the venerable past, was one of the original databases on which R/3 ran.

    In the even more ancient past (which is really quite some time ago; possibly before some readers were born!), the mainframe-based R/2 system was able to use Adabas on mainframes.

    If SAP DB is GPLed (or LGPLed), this is a very interesting thing, probably moreso than the "freeing" of Interbase, [] as Adabas-D was more like a "scaled down mainframe system" than like a "scaled up PC system."

    Another interesting property of Adabas-D that is hopefully inherited by "Free-SAP-DB" is that it provides an Oracle SQL compatibility mode that tries hard to provide equivalent functionality to Oracle... Probably useful for porting Oracle apps over to it...

  • Some comments on this subject have been rather inaccurate, and I would like to set some things straight. First, Software AG has two database products which contain the name ADABAS- one is known simply as ADABAS or ADABAS/C, and is a non-relational database largely used in high volume transaction processing applications on mainframes. The other product is known as ADABAS/D, and has been running on Linux/x86 since 1996. It is a fully relational product, with many features that distinguish it from Linux-johnny-come-latelies like Oracle, Informix, and Sybase. For example, it supports 3 sql dialects- ANSI, Oracle, and ADABAS(its native dialect). In the native dialect, through a unique set of statements like SELECT DIRECT, READ PREVIOUS, READ NEXT, and so on- it enables a database to be treated like an ISAM file. In addition to all this, it has lower administrative requirements of any Linux database given all the features it supports. SAP DB as best as I understand it came from the ADABAS/D source code being purchased by SAP AG from Software AG. I am not sure how much it has actually diverged from ADABAS/D itself. If the story is true that SAP AG will make its SAP DB source code available, this is nothing short of incredible. No matter what anyone wants to say about MySQL and PostgreSQL, the fact is that ADABAS/D has been an enterprise grade client/server relational database running on Linux since 1996. No other commercial database product matches this level of code development/maturity on Linux/x86. The release of this source code if this is true would enable programmers and users to learn a great deal about the implementation of a real commercially useful database- something no database textbook even comes close to. Time to see if this was yet another unfounded rumor.
  • comments in [ ]

    Translation from heise news ticker [].

    Message from 04.10.2000 15:43 [MEST]

    SAP goes Open Source

    The SAP wants to announce tomorrow on the LinuxWorld in Frankfurt [/Main], that it's data base SAP DB [] will be licensed under GPL or LGPL. Until now the SQL data base has been mainly used together with the flag ship of the Walldorf company, the merchandise planning and control system SAP R/3. However R3 provides interfaces to data bases like Informix, Oracle or DB2. For the first time SAP releases a bigger software project in source code. (ju/c't)
  • Almost as bad as the Bablefish :-) I had to read the original twice to find out where the fish got the railways from. Its his translation of DB ( also short for 'Deutsche Bahn' the german national railway company...)
  • Is there any Free Software / Open Source ERP project going on? Just curious.
  • and going exclusively with SAP DB.

    This isn't true, SAP announced first that they were going with IBM's DB2 but that lasted all of about five minutes before announcing that instead they will be using MS SQL. In fact, logging into one of their development systems right now tells me that they are using MS SQL version 7.00.699.

    What they are releasing is in fact something that has been partly Open sourced beforehand and if you check on their website [] you will find that they have provided quite a lot of help to Linux as well as other Open Source projects.

    And, no, I don't work for SAP.

  • Is that was 'bezeihungsweise' means?
  • Linux Kontor is the only one I am aware of- and interestingly enough uses ADABAS/D as its underlying database.
  • SAP bought adabas database and renamed it to SAP DB. R/3, the SAP product run on top of many databases such as SAP DB, informix, Oracle, sybase etc... SAP try to push Microsoft SQL server as *the database* to use since Oracle is selling competing products to SAP R/3 in the finance domain. SQL Server is free now with SAP R/3 and SAP R/3 on Oracle would cost you a fortune. I hope that this news is true and that SAP DB (adabas) will be GPLed as it is a powerful DB. (it runs R/3 for God sake!). The 100meg license limit of Adabas on Staroffice is very annoying as well. A GPLed version would be the end of this limit !
  • However, SAP DB isn't notoriously standards compliant, and we had to write a bunch of specific code to deal with its idiosyncracies.

    So you consider Oracle to be standards compliant? *cough* Exactly what standards are you thinking of?

  • beziehungsweise conj 1. (oder aber) or. 2. (im anderen Fall) and ... respectively. 3. (genauer gesagt) or rather, or that is to say.
  • Find all public information here:
  • See their press release here [].
  • On Sun's StarOffice 5.2 CDs.

    Given that SO 6.0 is due to be out under the GPL in a couple of weeks then this is a nice match.
  • When they say "GPL Release" of thier database does that mean a different version is being released OR are they GPL'ing thier current DB? There is a vast difference.

    "Here is my dumb-downed, run-of-the-mill GPL database"
    "Here is my wonderful database, that we have poured our heart and soul into and now we are going to release IT under the GPL"

    Hopefully I am making some sense...

  • by step ( 5607 ) on Wednesday October 04, 2000 @06:05AM (#732321) Homepage
    SAP goes OpenSource

    According to informations from the german computer magazine c't, the SAP company will make an announcement tomorrow at the LinuxWorld conference in Frankfurt. They will publish their database ('SAP DB') under the GPL (or LGPL) license. Up to now, this database has been mainly used together with the company's flagship product, SAP R3. However, R3 also provides interfacing to other database systems like Informix, Oracle or DB2. SAP DB is the first large scale software product whose source code has been made public by SAP.

  • Hey, at least the link about SAP is in English, eh?
    pb Reply or e-mail; don't vaguely moderate [].
  • SAP geht nach OffenQuelle
    According to c't sources, SAP will announce tomorrow at LinuxWorld in Frankfurt that they will put their database SAP DB under GPL resp. LGPL. Until now, the SQL database is primary used in connection with the flag ship of the Waldorf company, the inventory control system SAP R3. R3 offers also interfaces for other databases like Informix, Oracle oder DB2. SAP DB is the first substantial software project released by SAP as source code.
  • SAP goes OpenSource
    SAP geht OffeneQuelle

    Die SAP will nach c't-Informationen morgen auf der LinuxWorld in Frankfurt bekannt geben, dass sie ihre Datenbank SAP DB unter die GPL beziehungsweise LGPL stellen wird.

    SAP is goint to announce tomorrow on "linuxworld"
    in frankfurt (thats in germany u dumb ass)
    , that they will put their database "SAP DB"
    on GPL or LGPL.

    The rest is just borderinformations abt SAP
    and Partners.. nothing that u dont already know:

    Die SQL-Datenbank kommt bisher hauptsächlich im Zusammenhang mit dem Flaggschiff der Walldorfer"

    The SAP-DB came generally in relation with the main Product of the Walldorferanian Company,
    SAP R3 - to action.

    "Firma, dem Warenwirtschaftssystem SAP R3, zum Einsatz. R3 bietet allerdings auch Schnittstellen für andere Datenbanken wie Informix, Oracle oder DB2. Mit SAP DB gibt die SAP erstmals ein größeres Software-Projekt im Quellcode frei. "

    R3 is also offering iterfaces for ther
    Databases such as Informix, Oracle or

    With SAB DB it is the first Time that SAP is releasing sourcecodes of bigger softw.-projects.

  • from a link here: m
    this is the SAP DB: tm

    It's the backend for there mainproduct R3 (?)
  • by wharfrat ( 90464 ) on Wednesday October 04, 2000 @06:18AM (#732326)
    SAP themselves do not develop on SAP DB. SAP themselves use DB2 for all development.

    It seems to me that they are doing this for not because it is a good product but they do not want to develop it anymore.

    Most SAP instalations do run on Oracle, DB2 or MS-SQL.

    This is big news as it is the first ERP database to be GPLed.
  • if this announcement is correct, this is the real deal. the complete, full-featured and unencumbered product.
  • by pingflood ( 105369 ) on Wednesday October 04, 2000 @06:09AM (#732328)
    The DB ships with the SAP R/3 system, which is their main product. However, most any company will quickly and swiftly replace this DB with a good commercial one such as Oracle for use with R/3. IOW, it ain't that great.


  • Yeah, you have a point. But, with a larger codebase to draw information from, the easier the task of "embracing, and extending" the existing products. Its very easy to add features when you can go "OH, THATS HOW THEY DID IT!" then do a clean room implimentation. A larger, freely available codebase is a benifit, always.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    well then, it says:

    'According to c't news, SAP will be announcing tomorrow on LinuxWorld in Frankfurt that it will put its SAP DB database under GPL, or eventually LGPL. Until now the SQL DB has been used mainly together with the SAP R3 business system, the flagship of the Walldorf-based company. However, R3 has interfaces to other databases as well, including Informix, Oracle and DB2. This is the first time SAP makes its software open source.'

    Actually, as one of the comments says, R/3 runs mainly (90%) on Oracle. And well, Oracle itself sells a concurrent product.

  • When someone brings out "yet another database" on the commercial market, no-one seems to bitch about their being too many.
    When someone releases one to the open-source world suddenly there are a whole load of people thinking that it will water-down the efforts of the open-source hackers.

    No-one is going to leave the mySQL effort for this database. Ditto postgreSQL, mSQL and Interbase.

    Also, I very much doubt that this DB is even in the same league as mySQL - and by that I don't mean better or worse overall - simply that they will do different things. You won't want to use this SAP DB as a web backend I suspect (designed for different purposes). Equally there's not a hope in hell that you could possibly use mySQL as a backend for R/3 (designed for different purposes).

    So before complaining think that there might be others who could use this database or even just some of the code/algorithms - not everyone is writing Web applications.

    Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity.

Did you hear that two rabbits escaped from the zoo and so far they have only recaptured 116 of them?