IBM doesn't plan to open-source its DB2 database, the company has said, despite a published report quoting a company executive in the UK saying that such a move might become necessary.

Chris Livesey, IBM's director of information management software in the UK, told a ZDNet UK reporter that changing conditions in the database market could eventually prompt the company to open-source its flagship database.

"We have a light version of the product offered for free, which is a step towards exposing our core technology," Livesey was quoted as saying in reference to the company's DB2 Express-C software.

"Looking at IBM's heritage in contributing to the open source market, we've been particularly keen to lead that market. . . . As the future unfolds, and the economics become clearer, there's going to be more commitment to open source by everybody. We've made good steps towards that."

Among large IT vendors, IBM is widely considered the strongest supporter of Linux and open-source technologies. It has open-sourced a number of products, such as its Cloudscape Java database, Eclipse application development framework and Lotus Symphony office suite. It has also created proprietary versions of popular open-source software, most notably those from the Apache Software Foundation.

But in an email sent on Monday, an IBM spokeswoman wrote flatly: "IBM has no plans to open source DB2."

Led by DB2, launched 25 years ago on mainframes and now running in different versions on various hardware platforms, IBM is the second-largest database vendor worldwide by revenue, according to 2006 sales data from Gartner. It trailed behind Oracle and was ahead of Microsoft in Gartner's rankings for that year.

IBM, which also owns the Informix database technology and holds a small stake in open-source database vendor EnterpriseDB Corp., last led the overall market over Oracle in 2003, based on Gartner's counts.