Feeds

Microsoft cozies to Eclipse, no tongues though

Seven-year commitment

Build a business case: developing custom apps

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.®

HP ProLiant Gen8: Integrated lifecycle automation

More from The Register

next story
Secure microkernel that uses maths to be 'bug free' goes open source
Hacker-repelling, drone-protecting code will soon be yours to tweak as you see fit
KDE releases ice-cream coloured Plasma 5 just in time for summer
Melty but refreshing - popular rival to Mint's Cinnamon's still a work in progress
NO MORE ALL CAPS and other pleasures of Visual Studio 14
Unpicking a packed preview that breaks down ASP.NET
Cheer up, Nokia fans. It can start making mobes again in 18 months
The real winner of the Nokia sale is *drumroll* ... Nokia
Put down that Oracle database patch: It could cost $23,000 per CPU
On-by-default INMEMORY tech a boon for developers ... as long as they can afford it
Another day, another Firefox: Version 31 is upon us ALREADY
Web devs, Mozilla really wants you to like this one
Google shows off new Chrome OS look
Athena springs full-grown from Chromium project's head
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable
Learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.