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BEA, Sybase, and Borland to Deepen Involvement with Eclipse Foundation

The number of companies jumping on the Eclipse bandwagon has been growing at a furious pace since it gained official independence from IBM last year. Twenty-six companies joined the Eclipse Foundation in 2004, bumping that organization's roster to 82 members, including strategic developers, add-in providers, and associate members.

Two more companies disclosed plans last week to deepen their involvement with Eclipse, and another is expected to make an announcement this week.

On Tuesday, BEA confirmed rumors that it would join the foundation as a strategic partner and board member. The San Jose, CA-based infrastructure company is joining for the first time, but it has been involved with the foundation since last June, when it announced Project Pollinate, an Eclipse-based development environment and toolset designed to integrate with Apache Beehive. (BEA donated the application framework in its WebLogic Workshop Java IDE, code-named Beehive, to the Apache Software Foundation last May.)

BEA has agreed to lead the foundation's Web Tools Platform project, a top-level project focused on providing a generic, extensible, standards-based tool platform for producing Web-centric technologies. The company is also proposing a new Language Development Tools project, and it's merging its open-source AspectWerkz project with the Eclipse AspectJ project. BEA said that it also plans to retool WebLogic Workshop around the Eclipse framework.

Sybase, the Dublin, CA-based enterprise infrastructure company, also announced that it would upgrade its current membership from add-in provider to strategic developer and board member. Sybase has been a member since 2002. The company released one of the first commercially available products on the Eclipse framework, a business-process orchestration and monitoring tool called Sybase Unwired Orchestrator.

Sybase will also provide developer resources and leverage its database expertise by proposing a new Data Tools Project, the company said. The goal of that project will be to work with the Eclipse community to develop a comprehensive data management tooling framework.

Borland Software, one of the founding companies of the original Eclipse consortium, is also expected to announce a deeper involvement this week, though details were not available at press time. The Scotts Valley, CA-based toolmaker is best-known for its JBuilder Java IDE, but the company ships several products based on Eclipse, including its Together products.

The Eclipse Foundation's strategic development members pay as much as $250,000 per year in dues and pledge to ship a commercial product based on Eclipse within a year, so membership is not entered into lightly.

Why the seemingly sudden rush to get involved with Eclipse?

"I think it's because we are actually achieving our vision," says Mike Milinkovich, the Eclipse Foundation's executive director. "Our projects are being successful. The business model of building shared, open-source implementations of standards-based technologies is a solid one. People are learning more about this business model, and they're seeing a way to build profitable business based on Eclipse."

META Group analyst Thomas Murphy gives lots of credit to Milinkovich. "This is the result of the work that Mike has been doing to build out the organization," Murphy says. "He's demonstrated that it's independent of IBM and that they're trying to make [Eclipse] a broad-based platform."

Eclipse is an open-source project that grew out of technology first developed by IBM to serve as a universal platform for integrating software development tools. IBM open-sourced that technology, which is now managed by the Eclipse Foundation. The list of member companies includes, among others, Computer Associates, Oracle, Red Hat, Novell, SAP, and JBoss Inc. IBM is still a member, and one of the biggest code contributors.

The announcements were made in conjunction with the annual EclipseCon 2005 Conference, which runs from February 28 through March 3, at the Hyatt Regency in Burlingame, California, just south of San Francisco. For more information, go to: www.eclipsecon.org.

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