have jointlyreleased a beta of a new integrated development environment for C and C++ on eclipse.org. The move highlights a keymission of the Eclipse project, which is to promote the development of businessapplications for the Linux platform.
Eclipse is an open-source developer tools program thatwas launched in November. In many ways, the offering is similar to the NetBeansplatform on which Sun Microsystems has built its Forte for Java IDE. IBM, whichpromised when Eclipse was introduced to contribute $40 million of software tothe project, has become its lead evangelist, and is hoping Eclipse will bringmore applications to Linux, since it is designed for both Windows and Linuxenvironments.
IBM’s interest in Linux and open source is heavy, andEclipse reflects that. Early last year, IBM announced a plan to invest $1billion in open source; Eclipse is major piece of that investment.
Although Linux has been a hot topic in the technologyindustry for some time now, it has not attracted the attention of developerstargeting business users. Penetrating the business sector, though, is criticalif Linux is ever to really compete with its primary rival, Microsoft and itsWindows and .NET platforms.
IBM and Red Hat aren’t the first vendors to release aC, C++ IDE for Eclipse, says Adan Jollans, Linux strategy manager for IBMSoftware. Borland is another vendor that has an IDE with C and C++ features onEclipse. However, he says, the goal is to get as many vendors as possible tooffer tools on Eclipse that support programming languages commonly used inbusiness settings.
“What we’re looking at here is to encourage theavailability of business applications on Linux,” says Jollans.
The IBM and Red Hat IDE is an open-source offering, andis currently being evaluated by participants in the Eclipse project. It will bereleased as a finished product once the feedback process is complete.
In addition to C and C++, the IDE also supports Java,which Jollans says means this IDE probably won’t be updated in the future tosupport Microsoft’s new C# language. C# shares a lot of similarities with Javaand is designed for Windows and .NET platforms.
“From our point-of-view, we don’t see that C# offersanything that Java doesn’t already provide,” says Jollans, who describes thematurity and open nature of the Java platform as two crucial advantages it hasover C#. “We think Java offers benefits on the Windows side, as well as onLinux,” he says.
If C# capabilities are to be made available throughEclipse, the support for it will probably come from another vendor’s IDE,Jollans says. “Well it’s an option, in terms of C#, as Eclipse is an open,multi-platform offering.”
The C, C++ IDE for Eclipse can be downloaded at www.eclipse.org.