Business Objects plugs in to Eclipse

The business intelligence software provider is to open source some of its tools, and add them to the Eclipse IDE

Business intelligence software maker Business Objects has signalled its intention to join the Eclipse Foundation and move several products onto the open source platform.

"You'll see us as a member of Eclipse within the next few weeks," the company's Asia-Pacific pre-sales director Tracy Kent-Jones told a meeting of the media and customers last week. "We're going to be taking some of our products and moving them into the Eclipse framework as part of the value-added products around Eclipse".

Eclipse is an open source IDE based on Java which gives application developers programming tools and reusable components.

Unlike competing offerings from Borland and Microsoft, the IDE is designed to be modular and allow application developers to plug in their own software.

Business Objects said back in July it was nearing completion of an Eclipse plug-in for its Crystal Reports application that would facilitate those working in Eclipse to add functionality from Crystal Reports to their applications.

The Eclipse Foundation which governs the software has been gaining supporters since its inception as an industry consortium in 2001 and now numbers key software makers like BEA, IBM, Computer Associates, Nokia, Sybase, Zend and SAP amongst its members.

One of the latest big names to back Eclipse is Macromedia, which in June announced it would join the foundation and create a rich Internet application development tool, code-named Zorn and based on Eclipse.

Kent-Jones said joining Eclipse made business sense for Business Objects.

"One of the reasons we've chosen to go with the Eclipse platform, rather than any of the other open source types," she said, "is that [Eclipse] actually has a model where vendors can sell value-added products into it, but still provide the service components.

"So customers can take the open source software, but still take the service components offerings with that."

She added Business Objects had come to a decision to get behind the open source software model.

"We're embracing some of the open source areas ourselves, because we see that as an area of growth for us."

"It's the way people are going with some of the lower-range technologies, especially with the developers, and so we decided, we won't fight it, we'll embrace it," she said.

A spokesperson from Business Objects could not immediately provide further details of the company's plans, or which products would be affected.

Some of Business Objects' big name customers in Australia include brewer Lion Nathan and the National Australia Bank, both of which sent representatives to the meeting.

Renai LeMay reported from Sydney for ZDNet Australia. For more ZDNet Australia stories, click here.