Lotus May Open Some Source Code

Lotus is considering participating in parent company IBM's Eclipse open source initiative by opening the source code of its Domino Designer development tool.

IBMs Lotus Software division is considering participating in the parent companys Eclipse open source initiative, Lotus officials said Wednesday.

One Lotus development tool that may be included in the initiative is Domino Designer, the most widely-used development tool for building applications that run on Lotuss Domino application server, according to Martha Hoyt, senior manager for Web services at Lotus.

Hoyt said Lotus was currently "investigating" what role Domino Designer could play in Eclipse.

"We could potentially augment the development capabilities of Designer by participating in this framework," said Hoyt, in Cambridge, Mass. "Were looking into it. Were still in the investigative phase."

One potential benefit to developers if Domino Designer is added to Eclipse would be Enterprise JavaBeans support, Hoyt said. The current version of Domino Designer in Lotus R.5 supports Java agents. The forthcoming version, codenamed Rnext, will support Java Server Pages and servlets, she said.

Though the target audience for Domino Developer would remain the Domino community, making Domino Developer available to the open source community as part of Eclipse could have some benefits to non-Domino developers as well, Hoyt said.

"It would be of interest to anybody who wants to build collaboration into their applications," she said.

Eclipse is the codename for the $40 million worth of Java-based Open Source software that IBM announced it would donate to the open source community last Monday. The software will be available free of charge to developers so that they can use software tools from multiple suppliers together to create e-business applications, such as those for Web services, IBM officials said. Eclipse tools would run in both Windows and Linux environments.

More than 150 software tool developers are working together on Eclipse software and more than 1,200 individual developers from 63 countries have already participated in the Eclipse open source community process, according to IBM, of Armonk, N.Y.

The community will be managed by a multi-vendor organization with representatives from IBM, Merant, QSSL, Rational Software Corp., Red Hat Inc., TogetherSoft Corp., and others.

IBMs WebSphere Studio tools are the first commercially available development tools built on Eclipse technology.

Hoyt said Lotus expects to make a decision on Domino Designers participation in Eclipse sometime after the release of Rnext, which is expected to be available sometime next year. Lotus officials remain non-committal on the exact release date for Rnext.