Microsoft working with Eclipse on Vista, ID links

Executive from software giant stresses company's open-source efforts, including using Eclipse technology to build Java apps for Vista

Microsoft's much-anticipated revelations about collaborations with the Eclipse Foundation Wednesday did not include joining the open-source tools foundation. But the two organizations are working together to enable use of Eclipse technology to build Java applications for Windows Vista.

Also, Microsoft and Eclipse are collaborating on identity management via linking Eclipse's Higgins Project with Microsoft's CardSpace technology. Microsoft's efforts were detailed by Sam Ramji, Microsoft director of platform technology strategy, at the EclipseCon 2008 conference in the US.

Ramji guided the audience through a list of efforts Microsoft has made in the open-source world, such as accommodations for PHP (Hypertext Preprocessor), JBoss, and Novell's Xen hypervisor. Ramji also said Microsoft itself has 200 projects hosted on its CodePlex open-source hosting site.

Microsoft traditionally has been viewed as the anti-open-source company, but Ramji spared no detail looking to refute this notion, listing a myriad of projects undertaken over the years. "Today, we're architecting our participation in the open-source world," said Ramji, who directs the open-source lab at Microsoft.

The Java enablement effort for Vista involves collaboration on an SWT (Standard Widget Toolkit) to work with Microsoft's WPF (Windows Presentation Foundation) technology for graphical presentation. This will enable Java to be used an authoring language to write WPF-enabled applications, Ramji said.

SWT is the graphics library used by Eclipse for portability across platforms, said Mike Milinkovich, Eclipse executive director. Eclipse is in the process of porting SWT to WPF. "Having [Microsoft's] participation is going to make it mean that we're going to be able to do a better job more quickly," Milinkovich said. Eclipse's port means Eclipse's development platform can run as a first-class platform on Vista. "One of the things you'll be able to do is write an application in Java on Vista, and it will look as good as any application written in C#," said Milinkovich.

The Higgins Project, meanwhile, is a framework to integrate identity, profile, and social relationship information across different sites, applications, and devices. Interoperability between Microsoft's CardSpace and Higgins will provide for reliable, interoperable identity management, Ramji said.

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