Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Sun and Eclipse - A Marriage Made in Heaven

Sun and Eclipse - A Marriage Made in Heaven
A compelling idea for some, but the astronomical references actually appear to be part of the stumbling block, believe it or not. Word from within Sun has it that the senior executive team is upset over the naming of the Eclipse project - an Open Source Software project that was launched by IBM - could that be the eclipse of the Sun? Well, if we are to invoke the playground mentality, we could just as easily say that eclipses are temporary and the sunshine always breaks through. As psychotherapists like to tell us: we inflict the hurt on ourselves. One cannot help but think Sun needs a dose of psychotherapy, because if it did join the Eclipse project it would truly be a marriage made in programming heaven for software developers, and certainly for the many Java developers.

THE BIG PICTURE

The Eclipse project is a runaway success, and this is now undisputed. Last week in OpinionWire my colleague Teresa Jones talked about BEA joining the board of Eclipse, and now we can report that Borland has also done the same. Hitherto Borland had stayed on the fence, although providing some plug-ins to the Eclipse platform, but now it has joined the Eclipse Foundation Board of Directors as a Strategic Developer. Part of this initiative includes the commitment of a full-time development team to expand the Eclipse platform, for example, Borland will be making its upcoming Model Driven Architecture modelling tools available on Eclipse (and naturally on its own JBuilder product, as well as Microsoft's Visual Studio.NET). Besides Microsoft, this leaves Sun as the last remaining significant developer tool player outside the Eclipse project.

Eclipse has emerged as a significant development and application platform, its Open Source Software (OSS) Java Integrated Development Environment (IDE), ostensibly a demonstration tool of what can be achieved with the platform, is so feature-rich that it has been displacing other Java IDEs from the market to attain most popular position. Other vendors now find it more fruitful to plug into this IDE and offer more advanced functionality. The developer community benefits from being able to work within one familiar tool platform, with excellent tool interoperability.

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