Just Get Along

By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2004-01-26 Print this article Print

Mike Gilpin, an analyst with Cambridge, Mass.-based Forrester Research Inc., said: "I dont think that its in Suns broader interest to fragment the Java tools community. Leaving aside the question of who fragmented first, I think the various vendors in the Java tools space should just get along. It will serve all their broader interests in the long run to merge the JTC and Eclipse and work in a unified manner against their main competitor, Microsoft." "For now, Sun is demanding that IBM support the NetBeans framework as the price for Sun joining Eclipse," said John Rymer, another Forrester analyst. "Thats a nonstarter with IBM. So theyre stuck. The next thing to happen in this story, I think, will be the formation of the Eclipse Foundation and the separation of Eclipse governance from IBM. That is scheduled for early February. The following three to six months will tell whether or not the Eclipse Foundation will change things to make its technology more beneficial to Sun. And I think Sun will re-evaluate."
Should Sun join Eclipse? "Ideally, yes," Rymer said.
"It would be great to have Sun and IBM on the same foundation for tools," Rymer added. "But in the real world, Sun gets very little real advantage from adopting Eclipse. Suns tools are deeply tied to NetBeans, and so support of Eclipse doesnt really get Sun much technically except a huge engineering hit for migration from one platform to the next. Because IBM and Sun compete more often than they cooperate in the field, support of Eclipse also wouldnt get Sun much in the way of business benefits [access to IBM accounts]. Sun is in the midst of trying to rejuvenate NetBeans and so is not culturally disposed to support Eclipse either. My view is that having multiple competing frameworks is not a bad thing for Java. Choice has always been one of the values offered by the Java community." Jeff Anders, group manager for Suns development tools business, said there are some things Sun could gain from being involved with Eclipse, but many of those gains may be realized through the recently formed Java Tools Community (JTC), with which he would like to see Eclipse become involved. "There is some good technology there, some good ideas we could learn from," Anders said. One possible benefit of Sun joining forces with Eclipse would be "we could go to the JCP [Java Community Process] with a united voice." Next page: Peace offering between SWT and Swing.

Darryl K. Taft covers the development tools and developer-related issues beat from his office in Baltimore. He has more than 10 years of experience in the business and is always looking for the next scoop. Taft is a member of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and was named 'one of the most active middleware reporters in the world' by The Middleware Co. He also has his own card in the 'Who's Who in Enterprise Java' deck.

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