Mike Taylor, president and chief executive of Instantiations Inc., of Portland, Ore., said independence for Eclipse will be a "really important step to the growing up of the movement" to promote an open-source development environment to compete with the Microsoft .Net environment. And independence will mean "the criticism about undue influence from IBM is out the door." When Sun Microsystems Inc. acknowledged it was mulling over an invitation from Eclipse to join the organization IBM formed and that counts Oracle Corp., HP, Borland Software Corp. and SAP among its members, one thing Sun officials said they were concerned about was the perception of influence by IBM over the process, even to the name of the organizationEclipse, viewed as an attempt to shade out Sun. In December Sun announced it was not going to join Eclipse but would continue to enhance its own NetBeans open-source development platform.However, in a recent briefing with the press in San Francisco, Sun Fellow and Vice President James Gosling said the Unix and Linux systems company is still considering joining the company and that talks between Sun and Eclipse continue. And an open letter from Sun to Eclipse last week reiterated the Unix systems companys interest in working with Eclipse.Read "Is Eclipse in Suns Future?" A source close to Eclipse acknowledged this, but said one window has closed on the negotiations. Sun had proposed that one prerequisite of it joining Eclipse was that it change its name to something Sun viewed as less offensive. Eclipse officials were open to a name change, and would have changed the name, sources said. "If they joined before the incorporation process started in December, Eclipse would have changed its name," a source close to Eclipse said. Sun could still join, but at least for now the Eclipse Foundation will be the name of the independent entity. Any changes would be up to the new board, which will form in two weeks. Next page: Commitment to a commercial product.