BEA To Sign On With Eclipse Open-Source Platform Effort

The news will come at EclipseCon 2005 in Burlingame, Calif., said sources familiar with the plan.

San Jose, Calif.-based BEA has been something of a holdout, refusing until now to join IBM, Borland, Red Hat and other companies that are backing what they call Eclipse's "open platform for tool integration."


Membership rundown


>> Founders: Borland, IBM, Merant, Red Hat, Suse, TogetherSoft, Webgain
>> Later Members: Serena, Sybase, Fujitsu, Hitachi, Scapa, Oracle
>> Coming: BEA Systems

IBM, Armonk, N.Y., created the Eclipse framework in 2001, three years later spinning off the effort into the Eclipse Foundation, an open-source community. Since then, the group has made a big push to keep from being perceived as an IBM-dominated foundation. Since that time, the framework has won plaudits even from Microsoft development gurus.

One observer said there has been a fracturing of BEA's alliance with Santa Clara, Calif.-based Sun Microsystems, another Eclipse holdout. Last fall, BEA and IBM both defected from a Sun-led push to entrench the Java Business Integration specification. BEA and IBM, bitter rivals in Web application servers, both threw their weight behind the Business Process Execution Language specification instead.

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Some solution providers said BEA's move makes sense given the Java-centric focus it shares with other Eclipse members.

"This is kind of a natural fit, another coalition of ABM—Anybody But Microsoft—and anybody but Sun," said Richard Warren, chief solutions architect at MicroLink, a Vienna, Va., solution provider. Microsoft, Redmond, Wash., is pitching its Visual Studio framework as the be-all and end-all for developers.

Shawn Willett, an analyst at research firm Current Analysis, said BEA has been moving away from the Sun-led Java Community Process for some time.

"They're bowing to the inevitable," Willett said. "Eclipse is probably the most powerful standards group for developing tool interfaces. They realize they can't set standards on their own."

It was unclear what level of membership BEA would achieve, but given its prominence in application servers, it would make sense for it to be at one of the higher, strategic levels.

BEA could not be reached for comment.