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Past-Forward: BMW Glitches Redux

By Larry Dignan  |  Posted 2003-06-01 Print this article Print

SAP went from silent to sold on its open-source database … BMW glitches redux.

When SAP AG executives outlined the company's "best-of-suite" strategy, they neglected one part that would interest cash-strapped technology executives: its open-source database ("SAP's Silent Database," May 2003).

There's a good reason for that omission—SAP planned on going from silent to sold. SAP said May 27 that MySQL, a Swedish database developer, acquired the commercial rights to SAP's open-source database, dubbed SAP DB. The database will be renamed and provided under the General Public License (GPL) of openly available software.

SAP's open database didn't catch on in the U.S. MySQL does have more buzz about it. Maybe MySQL, now an SAP technology partner, will push open-source databases into the enterprise more effectively.

One lingering question: How much did MySQL pay for a database SAP couldn't give away for free?

The BMW 745i sedan has about 70 microprocessors and runs in part on Windows CE. Its most striking feature, the iDrive, was called a "miracle knob" by Car & Driver ("When It Doesn't Wash," Jan. 2003).

When Thailand's Finance Minister Suchart Jaovisidha was trapped in his BMW last month, news reports cited a computer glitch. After all, BMW's iDrive got off to a buggy start.

But Jaovisidha was in a pre-iDrive 1994 5 Series. BMW says the culprit was a tripped child-safety lock. Jaovisidha hit the safety switch locking doors and windows without realizing it, says BMW North America representative Jonas Musson.

The 745i sedan has a button that overrides the locked doors. Good thing: Thailand's government will add BMW's 7 series to its fleet. Let's hope Jaovisidha learns how to override the child-safety lock.

Business Editor
Larry formerly served as the East Coast news editor and Finance Editor at CNET News.com. Prior to that, he was editor of Ziff Davis Inter@ctive Investor, which was, according to Barron's, a Top-10 financial site in the late 1990s. Larry has covered the technology and financial services industry since 1995, publishing articles in WallStreetWeek.com, Inter@ctive Week, The New York Times, and Financial Planning magazine. He's a graduate of the Columbia School of Journalism.
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