IBM is opening up its collaborative development platform, known as Jazz, to the community at large.
In addition, IBM also is rolling out a new beta release of a key product based on its Jazz technology, as well as a research project to create a virtual world for Jazz developers.
"We're continuing with the drumbeat of rolling out Jazz," said Scott Hebner, vice president of marketing and strategy at IBM Software Group's Rational division. "2008 is going to be the year Jazz becomes a real thing."
IBM began publicly talking about Jazz at its Rational Software Development Conference in June 2006.
IBM Jan. 14 announced that it is opening up its Jazz development platform to the development community for developers to collaborate and contribute to software under development at www.Jazz.net. IBM refers to Jazz.net community as an "open, commercial" community for developers to collaborate on the development of Jazz and Jazz-based technology.
Up to now, Jazz.net has been available only to IBM customers and partners and academic institutions.
"We're looking to develop the Jazz technology and our products in a much more transparent fashion," Hebner said. "As we deliver new products in the future, they will be based on Jazz" and developed via IBM's open, commercial strategy.
Meanwhile, IBM also announced beta 2 of its IBM Rational Team Concert Express, a Jazz-based tool aimed at helping small and mid-sized development teams better collaborate across geographically disperse environments. IBM also is soliciting the assistance of the broad development community to help craft the IBM Rational Team Concert Express tool, which is expected to be generally available later this year. IBM has said it will make the IBM Rational Team Concert Express tool available for free to open-source projects and to academic institutions for use in coursework or research.
The new beta release of the technology is available at www.jazz.net and features Web dashboards that enable development teams to view project status data in real time. Hebner said IBM Rational Team Concert Express beta 2 enables users to IBM's DB2 or other databases to host the IBM Rational Team Concert repository.
In other Jazz-related news, IBM announced that IBM Research is working on an effort to better integrate the new generation work force-the so-called Millennials-into the Jazz scheme of things. IBM Research is launching Project Bluegrass, which is an effort to use the IBM Jazz technology to create a virtual world environment similar to Second Life, Hebner said.
"We want to enhance Jazz with a visualized, virtualized world like Second Life or other virtual worlds," he said.
IBM officials said Project Bluegrass is an attempt to integrate collaboration, communication and visualization in a virtual world where developers can interact and brainstorm with their colleagues on the development team. Users can see their teammates and interact with their avatars as well as with visual representatives of ideas, data and Jazz-based sources. The Project Bluegrass workspace also features instant messaging, presence awareness and project tasking.
IBM will demonstrate Project Bluegrass at its Lotusphere conference in Orlando, Fla., Jan. 24-28. A virtual demonstration of Project Bluegrass also is available on kiosks at IBM Codestation in Second Life, IBM said.