IBM Corp. is making another dramatic bet on the competitive advantages of backing the Linux operating system: Big Blue is donating a pricey software platform for integrating application development tools from various vendors to a newly formed open-source development advocacy organization, the company said Monday.
IBM spent more than a year and invested US$40 million in developing the Java-based, open-source software, code-named Eclipse, according to a company spokesman. Eclipse is intended to simplify the process of developing software tools for multiple operating systems: Eclipse-based software will run on both Linux and Microsoft Windows, potentially saving developers from having to port Windows applications to Linux. The software is designed to handle a variety of development tasks, including testing, performance tuning and debugging. Eclipse will also improve the integration of third-party application development tools from multiple vendors, IBM said.
IBM has become a key evangelist of Linux, investing over $1 billion annually in developing for the operating system, which has become a Windows rival in the corporate sector. By reducing the cost and complexity of deploying Linux applications, Eclipse could spur increased interest among business users in the open-source operating system.
Eclipse will be managed by a recently created open-source consortium, Eclipse.org. More than 150 software developers worldwide participate in the group, including IBM, Red Hat Inc., Rational Software Corp. and Merant PLC. The organization is still taking shape; further details about the group, including the composition of its board of directors, will be available later this month, according to IBM.
Eclipse is particularly suited to e-business applications development, IBM said, and IBM's own suite of Web services-focused WebSphere application development tools are built on the Eclipse foundation. Eclipse-based IBM products include the currently available WebSphere Home Page Builder for home users, WebSphere Studio Application Developer for Java developers (available later this month), WebSphere Studio Site Developer for Web developers (preview version available later this month), WebSphere Studio Enterprise Developer (available early 2002), and WebSphere Studio Application Developer for Linux (preview version available later this month; full version available early 2002).