I've written about this topic a couple of times before, and it's really starting to heat up. It's the mashup of two of the most disruptive forces in the tech industry--open source software and off-shore outsourcing. Today, Ingres Corp., the American open-source database company, announced a strategic alliance with Satyam, one of the top Indian outsourcing companies. The plan is for Satyam to build its first open source database practice on the Ingres platform, focusing initially on retail, pharmaceutical, and government sectors.

I think this is a significant announcement. It will make other players take heed--both on the open source software side and within the Indian tech industry. Ingres lost out to Oracle in the database wars of the 1990s but has come back as an open source company. Its new leaders are focusing right now on shoring up their installed base and eventually hope to take a chunk out of Oracle's database business. Satyam, I understand, is also working on a hookup with Redhat Software, the leading distributor of Linux. Satyam is a really well run company, but until now has offered about the same portfolio of services as the other top Indian services outfits. Open source offers it a chance to distinguish itself. I'll be watching closely to see how this works out.

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