Feeds

Microsoft cozies to Eclipse, no tongues though

Seven-year commitment

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

EclipseCon Microsoft has gone on a second date with Eclipse, this time around Windows Vista, but there's still no commitment to go steady.

Courtship, though, is part of a bigger strategy to improve the company's standing in the open source community by 2015, Microsoft said.

Sam Ramji, director of Microsoft's open source labs, announced Wednesday Microsoft will offer the Eclipse Standard Widget Toolkit project "direct" support from its engineering teams and open source software lab to help improve the technology.

The project, led by IBMer Steve Northover, is geared to help developers building Java applications on different platforms. Engineering support from Microsoft will, theoretically, help improve SWT's interoperability with the Windows Presentation Foundation. "This will give [developers] the Aero look and feel of Vista," Ramji told Reg Dev shortly after announcing the news at EclipseCon on Wednesday morning.

SWT backing is Microsoft's second endorsement of Eclipse. Engineers from Microsoft's CardSpace are already working with the Higgins Project on web single sign on.

Ramji, though, jokingly brushed aside the question of whether Microsoft would join Eclipse and why Microsoft employees aren't becoming formal SWT committers. Microsoft's strategy appears to be to work with Eclipse on a project-by-project basis to help advance Windows, without actually jumping into Eclipse.

Microsoft is evaluating support for other Eclipse projects. It is also looking at the possibility of an Eclipse project serving Silverlight, Microsoft's cross-platform and cross-browser player, possibly around the open source implementation that is called Moonlight. There are on-going talks with Eclipse, meanwhile, on a C# development environment that date from last May.

"There are others [projects] but we'll hold off until we have working technology with WPF," Ramji said.

Ramji told EclipseCon Microsoft is feeling its way, having mistakenly tried to divide the world between open source and commercial software in the past. Those who remember the use of the words "GPL" and "cancer" coming from the lips of Microsoft's upper echelons when talking about open source will know very well the world view that once prevailed at Redmond.

Ramji said Microsoft has recognized the same individuals working for commercial operations will also spend their free time serving the community, adding "not a huge percentage" of Eclipse code is used in open source products.

Microsoft now sees a business opportunity in improving Windows' interoperability with open source applications rather than simply ignoring them, in order to appeal to commercial and community developers. "We want to be the best platform for open source applications," Ramji said.

"This is the big change at Microsoft in the last few years. We are trying to figure out how to connect [with developers] and connect support for open source with ongoing business opportunity. We've seen it at Sun and IBM. Everything is connected," Ramji said.

"We are learning as we go," he said. "We are three years into a 10-year journey. By 2015 we will be there as a responsible member of the open source community."

He singled out the decision to remove the stipulation in Visual Studio's licensing that applications must target Windows, and fine tuning of Windows to PHP, MySQL and JBoss as steps Microsoft has so far taken in that journey. Future projects will tackle interoperability with Active Directory and systems instrumentation.®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
Be real, Apple: In-app goodie grab games AREN'T FREE – EU
Cupertino stands down after Euro legal threats
Download alert: Nearly ALL top 100 Android, iOS paid apps hacked
Attack of the Clones? Yeah, but much, much scarier – report
You stupid BRICK! PCs running Avast AV can't handle Windows fixes
Fix issued, fingers pointed, forums in flames
Microsoft: Your Linux Docker containers are now OURS to command
New tool lets admins wrangle Linux apps from Windows
Bada-Bing! Mozilla flips Firefox to YAHOO! for search
Microsoft system will be the default for browser in US until 2020
Facebook, working on Facebook at Work, works on Facebook. At Work
You don't want your cat or drunk pics at the office
Soz, web devs: Google snatches its Wallet off the table
Killing off web service in 3 months... but app-happy bonkers are fine
prev story

Whitepapers

Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
How to determine if cloud backup is right for your servers
Two key factors, technical feasibility and TCO economics, that backup and IT operations managers should consider when assessing cloud backup.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence
Download Choosing a Cloud Hosting Provider with Confidence to learn more about cloud computing - the new opportunities and new security challenges.