JAVAONE - Sun makes partial Eclipse move

Sun Microsystems, which still maintains it will not join the open source Eclipse Foundation, is nevertheless helping the organization out with one particular project.

The company has committed code to the Eclipse CVS (Concurrent Version System) to enable the Eclipse open source tools platform to function on Sun's Solaris x86 system, according to Eclipse. Sun officials also acknowledged Sun's participation. CVS is the repository for Eclipse source code.

"We were first introduced to Solaris x86 by Simon Phipps, who runs open source strategy over at Sun," said Eclipse Executive Director Mike Milinkovich, in his blog entry entitled, "Hell Froze Over?"

"When you think of it, this just makes really good sense. The Solaris x86 team is working to enable one of the most popular development tools for its platform. As they should," Milinkovich said.

"I am very happy to see that sound business decisions are replacing rhetoric in the relationship between Sun and Eclipse. This is a small step forward, but it is a very tangible and pragmatic one," said Milinkovich.

Last week in an interview with InfoWorld, Sun's James Gosling, CTO for the Java enterprise and developer group at Sun, had only unkind words for Eclipse, calling it a step down from Sun's own NetBeans open source endeavor. A small accommodation is being made between Sun and Eclipse, however.

"As Mike Milinkovich has said many times in the past, Sun would be welcome to join if they choose to do so, but there are no plans for this to happen at this time," an Eclipse representative said in an e-mail on Thursday morning.

Sun's John Gage, chief researcher and vice president of the science office at Sun, acknowledged at the JavaOne conference in San Francisco on Thursday that an integration was occurring with Eclipse.

The move does not mean, however, that Sun is ready to join Eclipse, Sun officials said when interviewed at the conference.

"I don't think that's what [the x86 move] means," said David Bryant, senior director of application platform products at Sun. Rather, the move is intended to ensure that the Eclipse IDE works on Solaris x86.

"If we are [joining Eclipse], nobody told me. I really don't think we are," said Tim Bray, Sun director of Web technologies.

Bray explained that a bug was discovered that prevented the x86 version of Solaris from running on the Eclipse platform. Sun then contacted Eclipse and got "committer" status so the bug could be fixed, Bray added.

"This is not very surprising," Bray said with regard to Sun contributing to Eclipse. The company contributes to lots of open source projects, such as Mozilla, he said.

"There is no intimation that we are backing away from NetBeans or anything like that," Bray said.

Sun previously considered joining Eclipse, but the move never came to fruition.

In another Eclipse-related move, IBM officials at JavaOne on Thursday discussed a planned software lifecycle management platform called Jazz, for team collaboration.

"It really integrates the whole spectrum of [software lifecycle] technology," said Erich Gamma, Distinguished Engineer at IBM Rational.

Jazz is a commercial product that builds on Eclipse. It is still in the early stages of development, Gamma said.

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