IBM Gives Rational Software Process, Content To Eclipse

Specifically, the company is donating the meta model for describing development processes, the tools for customizing and creating processes, and a portion of the Rational Unified Process, said Roger Oberg, vice president of IBM&s Rational group, based in Lexington, Mass.

The move is the latest in a series of contributions that IBM has made to Eclipse, an organization it helped found, as well as to, Apache and other open-source efforts.

The Eclipse Foundation will review, accept or modify the mission, and in all likelihood release an Eclipse process framework sometime next year, Oberg said. “Rational created what many thought of as the de facto standard for development, but you had to use Rational tools. We did all the authoring, and although we solicited best practices [from outside], we were the control point for the tooling, framework and content,” he said.

The big change is that the control point is turned over to the community, he said.

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Asked if IBM would lose a revenue stream with the donation, Oberg said the benefits exceed any potential downside. “The upside here is far greater than any risk we see. We won&t have folks wondering whether to use these effective processes because they don&t want to lock in,” he said.

“The important thing is that we as an industry get locked into best processes at the basic level and the framework for describing them and tooling to customize them. We&ll get commercial interest in additional content and supporting that process in our tooling.”

At least one VAR agreed. “While we&re a reseller of the Rational toolset, we&re most importantly a VAR where the value-add is software engineering services,” said Brian Lyons, chairman and CTO of Number Six Software, a Vienna, Va.-based IBM partner.

Said Chris Armstrong, president of Armstrong Process Group, a New Berlin, Wis., IBM partner that provides training and certification content for software development: “We&re aboard because software processes are our business, and businesses are struggling to build [processes] practically and reliably. Anything that helps that is good for us.”