IBM donates 30 programs to open source site

Analysts say IBM's latest open source donation is a good thing for the developer community, even if it is a bit on the mild side.

IBM has released an assortment of 30 open source programs to SourceForge.net.

Some of the programs being donated by Big Blue include Jikes, a fast compiler for Java that adheres to the Java Language Specification and the Java Virtual Machine Specification; a Bluetooth ad-hoc network simulator; and an Abstract Machine Test Utility for the Linux Common Criteria Certificate.

This is still a good thing for the community, but there's nothing major here. Now, if they had said they were open sourcing WebSphere we would have news.
Pierre Fricke
Pierre FrickeIDEAS International Inc.

Pierre Fricke, analyst with Livingston, New Jersey-based IDEAS International Inc., said that while any donation is a good one, none of the 30 programs donated really jumped out at him.

"This is still a good thing for the community, but there's nothing major here," Fricke said. "Now, if they had said they were open sourcing WebSphere we would have news."

Launched in November 1999, SourceForge.net is a site dedicated to offering developers a central environment for everything open source. Some current projects hosted on the site include Fink, JBoss, and Gaim.

Big Blue's move is reminiscent of its January decision to to allow the free use of 500 of its patents. That announcement was met with praise by some and criticism by others who charged IBM with hypocrisy and roughing up the little guy.

David Boloker, the CTO of Emerging Technologies for the IBM Software Group, said that the donations focus on Java and Linux, two key areas in the open source community.

IBM's donation also included some application testing pieces, a Web services support program, a tool box for Java developers, a Linux-based modem driver and a cryptography program for Linux.

Moment of Zend

IBM has also announced plans to form a partnership with Cupertino, Calif.-based Zend Technologies Ltd., which will complement its recent donation of Cloudscape -- IBM's Java-based database -- to the Apache Software Foundation, Boloker said.

Zend, a web application platform provider, will work with IBM to develop the industry's first integrated application designed to help developers build, manage and deploy open Web applications based on the popular personal home page (PHP) Web language, Boloker said.

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"PHP currently accounts for more than 40% of the overall Web application development market," Boloker said. "If you look across all the Apache severs 50 to 60% have PHP installed and enabled -- some 15 million web sites have PHP installed and in use."

Complementing the Zend partnership will be a stable of five bloggers from both IBM and Zend whose expertise lies in scripting angles for Linux, DB2 and Java.

This article originally appeared on SearchEnterpriseLinux.com.

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