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Microsoft joins Eclipse Foundation. Odd thing for a competitor to do

We do Linux. We do Java. Second surprise in a week from the Windows company

Microsoft is joining the Eclipse Foundation as a Solutions Member, according to an announcement today at the EclipseCon event in Reston, Virginia.

The Eclipse Foundation is the non-profit organisation responsible for the Java-based Eclipse IDE and tools platform.

Solutions membership is the second level behind the top-tier Strategic membership. Strategic members include IBM, Google and Oracle. Other Solution members include Cisco, Dell, GitHub, Intel and Nokia.

Eclipse began in 2001 when an industry consortium lead by IBM was created to develop a new IDE and tools platform for Java. Notably, Sun (which owned Java at the time) was not a member, and there was some politics around the group's different approach to building Java desktop applications, with Eclipse preferring to wrap native operating system widgets rather than use the pure Java approach favoured by Sun.

The project took off and in 2004 the Eclipse Foundation was formed. It became the home for many open source projects, most but not all being Java-based.

Solutions membership, which includes many relatively small companies, is not a big deal in itself; “strategic” membership would be a bigger story. Nevertheless, it is significant since Microsoft has not only its own IDE, Visual Studio, but also a competing development platform, the .NET Framework.

"Joining the Eclipse Foundation enables us to collaborate more closely with the Eclipse community, deliver a great set of tools and services for all development teams, and continuously improve our cloud services, SDKs and tools," says Shanku Niyogi, Microsoft's general manager of Visual Studio, adding that "Our announcements today further strengthen our investment in cross-platform development".

Today's announcement also includes enhancements to the Azure toolkit for Eclipse, targeting Java developers using Microsoft's cloud services. You can now create Azure Java WebApps for deployment to Microsoft's managed web application platform.

There is also an Azure IoT Hub Connector for the Kura open source IoT framework. Finally, the company has open sourced Team Explorer Everwhere, an Eclipse plugin to support the Team Foundation Server ALM (Application Lifecycle Management) platform. ®

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