Ingres Corp. plans to release a software appliance combining its database software with the Linux operating system later this year. The combined software will function as "an integrated maintenance unit," lessening the amount of integration work users have to engage in, according to Ingres Chief Technology Officer Dave Dargo.Ingres plans to release a software appliance combining its database software with the Linux operating system later this year. The combined software will function as "an integrated maintenance unit," lessening the amount of integration work users have to engage in, according to Ingres Chief Technology Officer Dave Dargo."We have a prototype in the lab now and expect to have prototypes to customers in the summer," Dargo said in an interview at the LinuxWorld conference. The company plans to release the Ingres Software Appliance this year. By year-end, Ingres hopes to have third parties building on top of its technology framework to provide their own appliances supporting applications such as e-mail, he added.Dargo said that companies that "own" software stacks such as Oracle Corp. and Microsoft Corp. don't treat them as stacks when it comes to maintenance of the different software pieces. For instance, Microsoft provides support separately for its Windows operating system and its SQL Server database, he said.In working on the appliance, Ingres is partnering with a Linux distribution company that Dargo declined to name. "We're taking the Linux distribution and stripping it down to the key components our database needs," he said. "There's no integration required, the database comes with a self-contained operating system so there's less code to worry about."Dargo believes the software appliance will make it easier for users to virtualize database instances on Linux. He also hopes that the appliance will help position Ingres as a leader in the open-source market, not a follower like other players whose products "commoditize an existing market," he said.Ingres is busy staffing its company to support business operations, according to Dargo. When spun out of CA Inc. in November, Ingres had a product support and development team of 100 people and now employs about 165 staff. By year-end, head count at Ingres should reach 250, he said.Between 50 percent to 60 percent of Ingres' 11,000 users are based in Europe, mostly in France, Germany and the U.K., according to Dargo. "We're expecting a wave of customers upgrading to Ingres 2006," he said. Dargo expects the company to grow inside its installed base in Europe, while adding new customers in North America.Ingres 2006 is available under the GPL (general public license) version 2. "GPL 2 is what Linux is," Dargo said. "It's a great license, there's nothing wrong with it." He added that Ingres doesn't see any burning issues compelling the company to move to GPL 3 when that license is finalized. Linux is the development platform for Ingres.The company is still determining whether to take its middleware open source, Dargo said. The new version of its OpenRoad middleware due out later this year will include some third-party software, which would make it difficult to open source that software, he added.