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CA Sues Over DB2 Migration Tool 104

Posted by Soulskill
from the not-the-best-customer-retention-plan dept.
aesoteric writes "Software giant CA has filed suit against an Australian software developer over a program that allegedly enabled companies to migrate off CA database platforms onto IBM DB2. It claimed the software 'reproduced' portions of confidential source and object codes without permission and deprived CA of license fees. CA also disputed claims that its database platform was 'dying.'"
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CA Sues Over DB2 Migration Tool

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  • This reeks of desperation...
    • ...or are they just undead?
      There was always an unsavoury whiff from their stuff.
      • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 26, 2010 @11:13AM (#34350102)

        "There was always an unsavoury whiff from their stuff." - by AliasMarlowe (1042386) on Friday November 26, @09:47AM (#34349872)

        CA's disreputable - See their "ethics" in accounting practices which they got busted for:

        PERTINENT QUOTE/EXCERPT:

        "Customers know Computer Associates - and, these days, for all the wrong reasons. Just as the company was beginning to shed its reputation as a home for legacy software products that carried an inflated price tag, it was rocked by a series of accounting scandals. An on-going FBI fraud inquiry and investigations by the US Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission have left it reeling, with a power vacuum at the top as over a dozen senior executives have left or been sacked. The allegations centre on internal accounting and sales activities in the years around the turn of the century, and involve the movement of revenues between quarters and product areas, and consequently, the mis-statement of financial results."

        FROM -> http://www.information-age.com/articles/290656/the-information-age-interview.thtml [information-age.com]

        APK

        P.S.=> CA also listed a freeware of mine as a "malware" which was written to help out a fellow forums person I knew at NTCompatible years ago, because he had an OLD version of Apache server on Windows which would not run as a tooltray icon while minimized & it was not implemented as a service he told me (that was so it was not visible onscreen and ran "in the background transparently" which most webservers now, do).

        So, in good faith/being a "good neighbor", I wrote it up for he (it's NOT commandline argv/argc parameterizeable either, so it's NOT scriptable) in GUI form (only 2-3 lines of code & works via C/C++ type invisible "spawn" type parameterizations).

        Next thing I know? It's out online being classed as a "malware" (1 of around 40 freeware apps I've done over time that did VERY well & were featured in respected publications in good reviews in reputable & respected publications like "Windows IT Pro" Magazine (it was Windows NT Mag back then in the 1990's - early 21st century) & others of like ilk).

        Apps that can be used "both ways" get 'victimized' this way (which is like PING via "ping of death", or tools from NIRSOFT (good stuff) &/or SysInternals even (yes, even Dr. Mark Russinovich has had this happen to he (e.g. pstools) as it has myself & Nir Sofer of NIRSOFT) have tools that can be used "for the good" or "the bad", depending on WHO is using them & what they're up to (like a gun, guns don't murder people - other people do).

        So, then I took CA's 21 point removal test & passed EVERY SINGLE QUESTION without fail no less, & they would not remove it (but, they had to put it down to "Zero Threat Levels")... I did that on the advice of an attorney (John Lowe of Hiscock & Barclay).

        Afterwards when I told the attorney these results, he told me "Yes, you have a WINNING CASE for libel/defamation of character" etc. "and it's worth approx. $150,000 U.S. Dollars", so I said "Well, let's do it then on a 33.3% of the take for you as payment" (keeps attorneys 'motivated' doing it that way, plus, it's no init. money down for retainers etc./et al).

        Then, he replied "I can't do this case!" I was like "WHY?!?" & he said "Because larger companies have fleets of attorneys that will 'drag it out' for over a decade and by the time you collect, which you would? The overall COST of doing this would exceed your reward!"...

        This is how the REAL world works, if you're not a "Financial Goliath" in other words - there is NO "justice", only money (and if you've got enough to take on the likes of these companies, then, & ONLY THEN, do you get real justice)... makes me ill, because the likes of CA know this, & abuse it! apk

      • Re: (Score:2, Offtopic)

        Public: Bring out yer dead.
        [Company releases migration software]
        ISI Software: Here's one.
        Public: That'll be ninepence.
        CA: I'm not dead.
        Public: What?
        ISI Software: Nothing. There's your ninepence.
        CA: I'm not dead.
        Public: 'Ere, he says he's not dead.
        ISI Software: Yes he is.
        CA: I'm not.
        Public: He isn't.
        ISI Software: Well, he will be soon, he's very ill.
        CA: I'm getting better.
        ISI Software: No you're not, you'll be stone dead in a moment.
        Public: Well, I can't take him like that. It's against regulations.
        CA: I don

  • Uh... (Score:4, Informative)

    by wandazulu (265281) on Friday November 26, 2010 @10:48AM (#34349876)

    So the article itself is /.'ed, but using Google, I can't seem to figure out what database CA has that everyone is theoretically migrating off of. I knew CA had a lot of products, mostly related to the mainframe, but an actual honest-to-goodness "select * from table" database? News to me.

    • Re:Uh... (Score:5, Informative)

      by Spad (470073) <slashdot @ s p a d . c o.uk> on Friday November 26, 2010 @10:50AM (#34349896) Homepage

      Datacom [wikipedia.org], apparently.

      Never heard of it myself though judging from the size of the Wikipedia article, neither has anyone else.

      • Re:Uh... (Score:4, Insightful)

        by wandazulu (265281) on Friday November 26, 2010 @10:57AM (#34349956)

        Wow...from the Wikipedia article I went to the product's homepage, and most of it is filled up with a big blue box that has a two sentence blurb that invites you to click more to get ... a few more sentences, emphasizing its ODBC and JDBC connections. The rest of the page seems to be general support and contact stuff. Pretty sad product homepage.

        • "...emphasizing its ODBC and JDBC connections."

          Wow, way to be last century CA. They're obviously trying to squeeze a few more bucks out of a drying product through the courts.

          • If the damned thing uses SQL, ODBC and JDBC, then why would anyone need to use anything proprietary to export data? Sounds like something anyone with half a brain and an hour's worth of Java experience could do in their sleep, maybe a bit more of the SQL implementation is a little strange (I had to do that with some Pervasive tables once, and just kept throwing join variants via an ODBC connection until it finally delivered the goods).

            • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

              by increment1 (1722312)

              It is possible that they did use CA's JDBC driver and that doing so is precisely the problem. CA may perhaps be claiming that the JDBC driver (or ODBC driver) for their database was used contrary to the licensing agreement.

              I hope that this is not the case, for if it is, and if they prevail, then the ramifications are considerable.

              • That would indeed be pretty ugly and frightening, considering I've used both ODBC and JDBC to move data between different RDBMS systems for the purposes of migration to new platforms.

                I guess one could do a two-step process, dumping to a generic SQL text file, for "backup" purposes, to get around it, but man oh man, that's pretty scary.

                • by jc42 (318812)

                  I guess one could do a two-step process, dumping to a generic SQL text file, for "backup" purposes, to get around it, but man oh man, that's pretty scary.

                  Oh, I dunno; one of my recent big projects was essentially doing that sort of thing. The client wanted to migrate from a small flock of incompatible mainframe DBs (mostly because they'd recently bought a lot of small competitors and wanted to merge them), onto a big flock of networked systems. I liked to tell people that my job was as an official "databa

        • WTF really? I am into Database knitting business for long long time (17 years). Never heard of Computer Associates Database product. Okay, I've not RTFA.

          • by drspliff (652992)

            You've never heard of Ingres? They owned it for a while until selling it on.

            You'd be surprised at the software which is acquired by large multi-national corps, Oracle being a prime example of "oh what the fuck, they own that?" syndrome.

            • Friends of mine were working for Ingres when CA bought them in the mid 90s. If you didn't get laid off or quit, you could only keep your job by signing some ridiculously pro-CA hiring agreement. Lots of bitterness and classic software-industry war stories ensued, like the 15 people on the "really try to keep these critical engineers" list all walking in to HR together to quit, and the general opinion was "Friends don't let CA buy their friends."

      • Re:Uh... (Score:4, Informative)

        by JonySuede (1908576) on Friday November 26, 2010 @11:03AM (#34350008) Journal

        it is shit
        we are currently migrating away from it

        • Re:Uh... (Score:5, Funny)

          by HogGeek (456673) on Friday November 26, 2010 @11:13AM (#34350096)

          I've heard of this great tool, 2BDB2, which may be able to assist.

          You should check into it...

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            The catch from what I see is that it does convert your database to DB2, but it acts like a DC server to redirect all functions of your current software to the DB2 database. It becomes the interface from your old applications to the DB2 servers. So, you need to run the 2BDB2 software indefinitely. That software mimics the DC product, so that is where the infringement suit comes in. CA may have a case and those clients using it may indeed need to pay CA for licenses. It is not just a pure onetime conversion.

            I

            • by Shin-LaC (1333529)
              How is that a catch? Once the data is converted, you can write a new application that accesses DB2 directly; but on top of that, you can also keep your old application running while you write the new one. That's not a catch, that's a feature.
            • That software mimics the DC product, so that is where the infringement suit comes in. CA may have a case

              Unless the software in question used CA source code (which I seriously doubt given that it's not published), no, they almost certainly don't have a case. It's not a crime to reverse engineer or otherwise mimic another software.

              • by jc42 (318812)

                It's not a crime to reverse engineer or otherwise mimic another software.

                Maybe not, but that doesn't stop them from suing you. One of the legal principles in American law is that if you have enough financial clout, you can file suit against anyone for any reason, and the worst that will happen to you is that some judge will throw the case out. But that can be delayed for years, and by then the legal costs may bankrupt your victim.

                • by ultranova (717540)

                  One of the legal principles in American law is that if you have enough financial clout, you can file suit against anyone for any reason, and the worst that will happen to you is that some judge will throw the case out. But that can be delayed for years, and by then the legal costs may bankrupt your victim.

                  Maybe, but that also means that even mimicking CAs products is irrelevant to this case. These people could be selling gasoline and never had had anything to do with computers in their lives, and CA could

            • by WWWWolf (2428)

              That software mimics the DC product, so that is where the infringement suit comes in. [...] If you really wish to migrate off, you need to design new software to interface with the DB2, so once your data is safe on DB2, you will not need 2BDB2 afterward.

              And this is different from Wine/libwine... how?

              You need to keep running Wine "indefinitely" to run Windows apps under Linux, or "indefinitely" include libwine in your app to recompile an unmodified Windows app to run natively on Linux. If you want a true port, you need to actually extensively modify the original application to use native Linux APIs. And when you use Wine, you don't need to pay for a Windows license.

              Why hasn't Microsoft sued the Wine project's asses off, based on the same rhetoric? They've h

    • by wwbbs (60205)
      The bought Ingres a few years back, a very powerful RDBMS. I've used it for the last 10 years quite good and it's also Opensource now too. http://www.ingres.com/products/ingres-database.php [ingres.com]
  • Lock in (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gweihir (88907) on Friday November 26, 2010 @10:48AM (#34349886)

    So now we have lock-in as a respected business practice? What is next? Making it illegal for your users to even look at products of your competitors?

    • by Trip6 (1184883)

      This has been a cornerstone of CA strategy for decades, nothing new here. Makes for a predictable renewal revenue stream.

      • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Still being used today, Apple are the masters at it now, look how phenomenally well it's worked for them over the last 6 years or so.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by v1 (525388)

      What is next? Making it illegal for your users to even look at products of your competitors?

      No, they're going to target advertising next. You're not allowed to advertise to any of their customers with a competing product. Use of terminology relating to the product, such as "database" will be considered infringement on their IP.

    • by 3seas (184403)

      Is that what they are calling hostage and ransom now a days?

      Clearly CA is a terrorist criminal if they themselves don't provide such a tool to their users.

  • by mikeroySoft (1659329) on Friday November 26, 2010 @10:53AM (#34349932)
    ... is that almost all of these big software companies step on each others toes in the pursuit of profits and market share, and probably all infringe on each patents at some level or other.
    If the weight of these patents were different (as in, if the patent system wasn't out of touch with modern applications of software and technology), they wouldn't have so much leverage over each other, and maybe we could get back to innovating instead of litigating.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      There are no software patents in Australia, which is where the trial is being held. This is about a copyright and contract agreements with a dash of defamation.
  • Boo hoo CA, I have no sympathy what so ever. Perhaps develop a modern replacement and stop punishing your customers because your db products are comparable with a 1970s bus.

    • by pooh666 (624584)
      I expected a lot of ignorant comments, but this one is amazing. Modern? These guys made modern.. From a 15 year veteran with a lot of much older mentors. As new as I am, I am already getting sick and tired of the endless re-invention, old ideas -> new terms and acronyms = boy howdy! It gets really boring after a while.
  • Databases aren't exactly my thing, but if I was looking in to a database solution, I don't think CA is someone who would come to mind.

    • by leuk_he (194174)

      CHeck the article agina and check the timeframe.

      transition off CA's Datacom database between 1996 and 1998.

      What do you know about databases in 1997? The market at that time was completely different. And even then CA already was buying companies they could maximize profits of by maximizing licencing costs and minimizing support.

  • They're still around? The first company I worked for in the 80's was a HUGE Clipper shop. There were C Libraries to read DBase III libraries back then, it was a pretty simple format, really. Not that it was really ever all that difficult to write a DBase III program to dump the entire database comma separated. I often wish Linux and GTK had been about 10 years more advanced back then. I wouldn't have had to get involved with SCO at all, and we could have written some MUCH cooler applications. Not to mention
    • Not that it was really ever all that difficult to write a DBase III program to dump the entire database comma separated.

      It wasn't [sourceforge.net].

  • I assume CA's database is some mainframe beast. Since DB2 also runs on the mainframe and is almost certainly a more modern database, I can see why customers would switch - especially given CA's "think of a number, add the salesman's telephone number and double it" approach to license costs.

    Mainframe "databases" can be funny beasts. I worked on an app that used one about 15 years ago, and the database was effectively flat files, index files and an engine on top to hang it all together and make it look like a

    • by barzok (26681)

      Step 1: Migrate to DB2
      Step 2: Migrate DB2 to non-mainframe hardware
      Step 3: Scale back or eliminate mainframe expense due to lower usage requirements
      Step 4: Maybe not profit, but at least you're spending less.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Nimey (114278)

        That depends. The biggest legitimate need for mainframes is when you've got gobs of I/O happening, which could easily be the case for the Main Corporate Database.

    • Mainframe "databases" can be funny beasts. I worked on an app that used one about 15 years ago, and the database was effectively flat files, index files and an engine on top to hang it all together and make it look like a RDBMS.

      Sounds like SAP, not just on mainframe but how it uses Oracle on x86 hardware too.

  • Not widely used, but it's been around for a while.
    • Oh, I should have RTFA! Indeed the article is referring to CA's ancient rDBMS Datacom/DB.
      Heard of it but I didn't think it was even still around.
  • Quick, somebody get confirmation from Netcraft.

  • From the ca site (http://www.ca.com/us/products/overview.aspx?id={40FB2A1D-9B09-429E-9D52-123477B87E97}):

    It is a high-performance, multi-user relational database management system based on z/OS and VSE host platforms.

    Unfortunately, although clients can access it from any platform, it's not available for anything else.

  • by echucker (570962) on Friday November 26, 2010 @11:24AM (#34350190) Homepage
    First one on Google is just the name, but 2nd is "computer associates removal tool". Makes you wonder why.....
  • Whoa! I find out in the same paragraph that not only does CA have a database platform but suddenly it is worthy of intellectual property protection mechanisms. Why have I not heard of this yet? It must be awesome for them to have kept it secret all this time.
  • by papafox_too (883077) * on Friday November 26, 2010 @01:37PM (#34351138)

    The two products are CA-Datacom/DB [wikipedia.org] from Computer Associates and 2BDB2 [2bdb2.com] from ISI.

    CA-Datacom was originally developed ADR (Applied Data Research) in the 1980's. It's an inverted-index style database, a design approach which was popular before the SQL model came to dominate DBMS design. CA may claim that Datacom is not dying, but they will be unable to point to a new customer signed in the last 15 years. Pretty much every site which has Datacom installed also has DB2. Having critical data spread across multiple DBMS's is a significant problem, so they want to consolidate to a single DBMS (and it isn't going to be Datacom). CA has been milking Datacom for it's flow of license fees for years. They provide support and keep Datacom working with new releases of z/OS, but otherwise feature growth has been minimal. For instance, CA has failed to develop similar functionality to 2BDB2.

    2BDB2 is a transparency layer which simulates Datacom/DB on top of DB2. This allows applications which have been developed for Datacom/DB to actually access DB2, with 2BDB2 translating program calls to Datacom/DB into SQL requests to DB2 and passing the results back. The Datacom/DB app does not have to changed or recompiled (a major advantage as retesting mainframe code is very expensive). 2BDB2 also provides a similar transparency layer for VSAM files.

    The litigation between CA and ISI has be running for some years. It started after ISI sold 2BDB2 to some large sites, in particular US Customs (which was the largest Datacom/DB user, and I presume, paid the largest license fees). This dispute is all about screwing the customer so as to continue to receive the cash flow.

  • They have to prove the code was made from their code, how can they do this, unless they have access to this code, most others reverse engineer the stuff, why this case only where they think it impossible to do this???

  • CA Software Hospice (Score:5, Informative)

    by hercubus (755805) <[moc.oohay] [ta] [subucreh]> on Friday November 26, 2010 @02:25PM (#34351498) Homepage
    CA is where terminal software goes to die
    The business model is:
    1) Buy products that are circling the drain
    2) Flog said products to the clueless
    3) Promise a big party at CA World
    4) PROFIT!!!

    We have assloads of CA shiteware, our clueless managers just love going to CA World every year. Last year's keynote was that Avatar guy, w00t!
  • I've used their ERWin product which seems pretty good but they have an actual database?!?!?!

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