Taylor said independence for Eclipse will be an "important step to the growing up of the movement" to promote an open-source development environment to compete with Microsoft Corp.s .Net. Independence also would mean "the criticism about undue influence from IBM is out the door," Taylor said. IBM formed Eclipse.org in 2001 and counts Oracle Corp., Hewlett-Packard Co., Borland Software Corp. and SAP AG among its members.There will be different levels of membership in the independent organization, officials said. Membership in the existing Eclipse consortium is free; membership in the new Eclipse will not be free for commercial entities. Entry-level members must pay $5,000 a year. There will be two levels of Strategic Partners, who must commit developers and pay up to $250,000. "Eclipse is a big thing in Java programming, but not just Java," said Andrzej Delegacz, a database analyst with the Virginia Commonwealth University Health System, in Richmond. "It has the chance to become a common platform for other languages." Meanwhile, at EclipseCon, Innoopract Informationssysteme GmbH, of Karlsruhe, Germany, will announce its World Wide Web Windowing Toolkit Eclipse Plug-In, which provides a visual method for Java developers to create user interfaces.
Eclipse officials said that the new organization will work and look a lot like the Apache Foundation and that members will have to commit to provide a commercial product that supports Eclipse within 12 months of joining.