IBM Corp is preparing “significant” announcements around the open sourcing of products, in an apparent riposte to Sun Microsystems Inc over the battle to open source Java.
Buell Duncan, general manager of IBM developer relations, said yesterday IBM would reveal plans around open sourcing of products during the next few weeks.
Duncan refused to provide specifics, however rumors have been circulating that IBM will open its WebSphere Integrated Development Environment (IDE). Duncan was speaking during the opening of IBM Rational’s user conference in Dallas, Texas.
IBM is already committed to building WebSphere on the open source Eclipse tools framework, providing a common metadata model and code base for functionality like interfaces, drop-down menus and debugging.
IBM has come under fire recently for failing to commit substantial amounts of its own product code to the open source community whilst, at the same time, aggressively endorsing Linux as an operating system on its servers and through its Global Services business.
Criticism has mounted following IBM’s call, in an open letter earlier this year, on Sun to open source Java.
Speaking at Sun’s JavaOne conference, company chief executive Scott McNealy delivered a typically biting response to IBM’s open letter, saying IBM had to do more than chip away at open source before telling him what to do with Java. We want IBM to start donating its own IP, McNealy said. You need a little more than that hammer and chisel. Let’s get the bulldozer out.
Duncan told press yesterday: You will see IBM make significant announcements in the next few weeks on products we are putting in the open source community. It’s a two-way street.
IBM and Sun have a contentious relationship over Java. Sun is IBM’s software, server and services rival, yet Sun adjudicates development of Java through the Java Community Process (JCP) whilst also charging Java licensees, like IBM, royalties.
Open sourcing of Java is seen by many as an attempt by IBM to wrestle control of Java away from Sun.
Mike Devlin, general manager of IBM’s Rational business appearing with Duncan, said open source could help speed Java’s development. There’s a lot of benefit – it makes the process more open and transparent, and helps us move more quickly… the current process makes it harder to get those things standardized, Devlin said.