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LynuxWorks Plans Eclipse Boost

Embedded software house LynuxWorks is poised to give another boost to Eclipse next week, when it unveils a new suite of tools built around the open-source framework.

LynuxWorks will make its announcement at the 2004 electronicaUSA show in San Francisco, which will run from March 29 through April 1.

Lynuxworks' new tool, which will run under Linux and Solaris, will serve as a development environment for users of the company's BlueCat Linux 5.0 operating systems. Bluecat is billed by LynuxWorks as the first commercially available embedded OS based on the new Linux 2.6 kernel.

Though often thought of as a software tool itself, Eclipse is actually a Java-based software "metaplatform." As such, it's meant to serve as a foundation developers can use to create open-source software tools.

LynuxWorks' announcement marks another real-world endorsement for Eclipse as it begins to move out into the marketplace in a serious way.

Last month, Wind River said it would replace its longtime Tornado software-development environment with a platform based on Eclipse. That offering has been dubbed the WindPower 2.0 integrated development environment (IDE).

Though the Eclipse effort was forged in 1999, it is still in its relative infancy. Eclipse was jump-started with some $40 million in funding from IBM, which also spun it off as a stand-alone operation. Eclipse 1.0 debuted in October, 2001; work is currently underway on version 3.0.

The Eclipse group itself has released a integrated development environment for Java programs, but it's been left to third parties such as Wind River and LynuxWorks to roll tools targeted at specific operating systems. Rather then full-blown environments, many vendors are looking at building smaller "plug-ins," which will add specific functions to Eclipse.

Most recently, Eclipse has put the finishing touches on establishing itself as a standalone consortium. To that end, Eclipse earlier this month finished setting up its independent board of directors.

Corporate members of the Eclipse group include Fujitsu, Hewlett-Packard, Hitachi, SAP, Sybase, and MontaVista, among others.