Oracle Opens Up to Eclipse Foundation

Oracle has joined the board of the Eclipse Foundation, an open source consortium, and says it will donate its Java persistence framework, Oracle TopLink, to help grow the new Eclipse Persistence Platform Project.

The Eclipse software is already widely used for writing applications in Java and other programming languages, and TopLink is one of the pieces of Oracle’s Fusion middleware, acquired in 2002 from the former WebGain Java tools company.

TopLink Database

Oracle TopLink is persistence architecture, offering object-to-relational, object-to-XML (extensible markup language) and Enterprise Information System data access through all of the major standards, including the Java Persistence API (application programming interface), Java API for XML Binding, Service Data Objects and the Java Connector Architecture, according to Oracle.

Oracle TopLink works with any database, any application server, any development toolset and process and any Java application architecture, the company added.

New Opportunities

Santa Clara, Calif.-based Oracle has been an Eclipse member since the foundation’s inception and has offered several contributions in the past. However, its donation of Oracle TopLink to the open source community is the most significant to date.

It’s a “win-win for Eclipse and the community,” said Mike Milinkovich, executive director of the Eclipse Foundation.

“We are excited about the opportunities this proposed project presents — and for the community, which will gain a complete open source persistence platform,” Milinkovich said.

Oracle will also pay Eclipse’s maximum annual dues of US$250,000.

Opening Up

Although Oracle has made contributions to open source projects in the past, the latest move, with the open sourcing of Java and multi-party participation, signals a continuing warming trend, said Jonathan Eunice, principal IT advisor with Illuminata.

However, at the end of the day, Oracle is a proprietary software company. It makes its money licensing code for money and controlling that code.

“They are still going to be selling enterprise applications and middleware data bases, just as is IBM, but the developer portions don’t make money,” Eunice told LinuxInsider. “These companies make it on the deployment end.”

“These are all essentially developer plays,” he added. “The money is made down the road in deployment.”

Taking the Lead

In addition to its code contribution, Oracle proposes to lead a new Eclipse run-time project to provide a set of persistence services that can be utilized in Java and OSGi environments.

The company plans to work closely with Eclipse Foundation members, using the existing Oracle TopLink code as the starting point for the project.

Through its participation in the OSGi Enterprise Expert Group, Oracle will also collaborate on the creation of blueprints that define how OSGi applications can access standardized persistence technologies, the company said.

Free Platform

The Eclipse Persistence Platform project will be available free under the Eclipse Public License.

TopLink will form the core of the project at the foundation, which now hosts 76 projects that produce tools for the open source programmer’s workbench.

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