IBM donates software to open-source community

IBM Corp. Monday said it is donating US$40 million in software to a new independent, open-source community.

The new Java-based, open-source software, known as Eclipse, will allow developers to jointly share software code from multiple vendors, enabling them to integrate business processes used to create electronic-business applications, such as those for Web services, according to IBM.

Scott Hebner, director of marketing for IBM's WebSphere software, said 150 software vendors, including IBM, Red Hat Inc. in Research Triangle Park, N.C., TogetherSoft Corp. in Raleigh, N.C., and others are already working together to enhance Eclipse software. Later this month, the Eclipse community will release details about the organization, including its board of directors, which will be made up of representatives of several vendors.

Hebner said developers currently use tools and middleware from more than one vendor that are not designed to work together. However, by using software tools that easily plug into Eclipse, developers can create higher-quality applications in less time. Eclipse integrates all development tasks including testing, performance tuning and debugging, IBM said in a statement.

"This is a community-based open-source platform," he said. "Once developers contribute capabilities, others will inherit them. This is unleashing the power of the open-source standards of servers by opening up the development process and tools platform."

Hebner said by opening up the Eclipse source code, IBM is doing for software tools what Apache did for Web application servers and what Linux did for operating systems.

Hebner said that while IBM will cooperate on the standards, it will compete on the products that are built on Eclipse's open-source technology.

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