IBM Ups Open-Source Efforts

On Friday, the company said it is contributing some 30 projects to, a repository of open source code and related material.

The Somers, N.Y. based software group also said it is expanding its own developerWorks Web site with more resources including training in PHP (Hypertext Preprocessor) a popular open-source programming language for creating Web pages. and other popular technologies. It is also working with Zend Technologies on a new developerWorks subsite devoted to PHP.

The Zend-IBM combo is an interesting one, observers said. This partnership "gives the scripting crowd an integrated data capability that is on one hand IBM, but on the other an open source repository," said Dana Gardner, analyst with Boston-based Yankee Group.

"They could take the data direction toward IBM and DB2, but also have the option of remaining more purely open source. It points up one of our conclusions about key developer decisions: How to play in both open source and commercial. IBM seems to get this and is catering to the build and buy crowd -- not just build or buy. It's not a subtle difference."

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The publicity effort will continue next week at EclipseCon 2005 in Burlingame, Calif, where IBM will push the Voice Tools project also backed by Hewlett Packard, SBC and VoiceGenie. The goal of the work is to ease creation of voice-enabled enterprise applications. IBM is submitting speech markup editors towards this end, said Kathy Mandelstein, director of developer relations for IBM Software.

A series of Eclipse plug-ins to help developers link into IBM Cloudscape or Apache Derby databases will also be available from developerWorks. Cloudscape and Derby are based on IBM/Informix's Cloudscape code, but Apache offers the open-source version while IBM offers a commercial iteration. IBM is also posting Web Tools for Eclipse on alphaworks. Those tool promises to cut development time of Web applications.

Mandelstein said IBM has already donated more than $40 million worth of code to open source efforts. The Eclipse Foundation evolved out of IBM's own Eclipse framework. She said there have been more than 30 million downloads of that framework since 2001.

The foundation got another boost last week when hold out BEA Systems threw its weight behind the effort and pledged to support the Eclipse framework in the next version of WebLogic Workshop. Borland and Sybase also upped their participation level in the foundation.