BEA Systems Fills In Eclipse Participation Details

As expected, the company officially joined the Eclipse Foundation and backed that group's open-source framework. BEA executives said the company's products, including BEA WebLogic Workshop, will support that framework, and the company will share leadership of Eclipse's Web Tools Platform project.

Bill Roth, vice president of product marketing for San Jose-based BEA said the move represents a total investment of about $1.5 million.

BEA joins at the highest partnership level, as a strategic developer. That tier includes Actuate, IBM, Intel, QNX Systems, and Scapa Technologies.

While BEA, with a strong position in application servers, had been an Eclipse holdout, it had already been active in other open-source projects. "Former [BEA] CTO Scott Dietzen's claim to fame was that BEA was the biggest contributor to the open source community. That was one of his visions so this is not contrary to that at all. This will help drive development of new functionality, new components which is where the money is," said Sam Jankovich, president of Enterpulse, an Atlanta-based BEA integrator and e-commerce specialist.

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Nils Gilman, director of product marketing for BEA said ISVs and partners should be excited to learn that the next implementation of WebLogic Workshop, code-named Daybreak, is being re-implemented on the Eclipse framework and will ship later this year.

"ISVs will love that. It's a hassle for partners to support multiple frameworks for many things, tooling being one of them. Now there will be scores of partners doing plug-ins, IDE extensions and the fact that BEA will implement Daybreak on Eclipse will reduce overhead for them," he told CRN.

Roth said the company is joining the Eclipse now largely to fulfill its open-source ambitions and because Eclipse is no longer dominated by IBM.

"It's apparent, as we look at how market is developing, two things occurred. Number one, Eclipse among certain users has gained a degree of momentum and second, [for] Eclipse as a foundation broader community participation has evolved to the point where frankly it's clear it's no longer just an IBM initiativeOur joining of the foundation ratifies the notion that eclipse is a broad industry community," Roth told reporters and analysts.

IBM created the Eclipse framework in 2001 and spun it off three years later into the foundation, an open-source community. Since then, the group has worked to broaden support and appear less an IBM-led effort. BEA and IBM compete fiercely in the application server market, and both field Java-centric offerings. Many VARs and integrators see Eclipse as an alliance against Microsoft's .Net worldview. One Microsoft solution provider last week characterized it as an "Anybody but Microsoft, Anybody But Sun" coalition.

Also joining the foundation this week is Austin, Texas-based Lombardi Software, a maker of the TeamWorks business process management (BPM) platform.