BEA to Join Eclipse Foundation

BEA Systems and Borland are committing to new and greater support for the Eclipse open-source development platform.

Next weeks EclipseCon 2005 conference is expected to be something of a lovefest among Java toolmakers, with both BEA Systems Inc. and Borland Software Corp. committing to new and greater support for the Eclipse open source development platform.

According to sources, BEA is expected to announce its membership in the Eclipse Foundation at the conference in Burlingame, Calif., next week, a move many view as both good for BEA and good for the Java tools community at large.

Said one source with ties to the situation: "I think its a very good move, one thats long overdue. Im glad its finally happening. It will allow BEA to stop reinventing and resume innovating, which is something they used to be very good at (and Im confident it will come back)."

Anne Thomas Manes, an analyst with Burton Group Inc., said if BEA joins Eclipse, "My response would be, Its about time! And it will greatly benefit the tools industry. Tools vendors will greatly appreciate only needing to develop an Eclipse plug-in rather than one for every IDE [integrated development environment]."

Increased support from BEA and Borland would mean more broad support for the Eclipse platform, more standardization around a common framework and could hasten the work of the Java Tools Community, which is working to advance standards for what it calls "toolability" and interoperability in the Java tools space.

/zimages/6/28571.gifClick here to read the thoughts of former Eclipse Foundation executive Dave Bernstein regarding the foundations transition from an IBM-dominated group into an independent organization.

A source close to Eclipse said, "Eclipse as an industry-standard framework is an obvious win for application developers and tool suppliers, but a challenge for companies that had developed their own frameworks. If Borland and BEA can overcome this and participate in Eclipse at a strategic level, then everyone wins."

Although Borland, based in Scotts Valley, Calif., and a founding member of Eclipse, has not exposed its plans for EclipseCon, the company said it would be enhancing its support and would be "making significant announcements around our support for Eclipse" at the conference.

Meanwhile, BEA is expected to join Eclipse as a Strategic Developer member, which means the San Jose, Calif., company will pay up to $250,000 annually, lead an Eclipse project and commit a minimum of eight developers to work on the Eclipse platform. Strategic Developer members also are encouraged to lead a top-level Eclipse project.

Sources said there are plans for a project based on BEAs extensible Java compiler framework, known as Javelin. But initial discussions did not indicate that this project would be a top level Eclipse project, sources said.

Next Page: BEA is being considered as potential lead for the WTP Project.