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Beehive Enjoys Endorsement Windfall

Officials at BEA Systems are pretty happy with themselves going into this week's LinuxWorld Conference & Expo in San Francisco. They say their efforts in the open source community are finally bearing fruit, or honey, as the case may be.

Red Hat , HP and ObjectWeb's Java Open Application Server (JOnAS) are endorsing Apache Beehive, an open source developer framework with BEA WebLogic WorkPlace technology as the framework.

It's another boost for the enterprise software company whose application server was named the world's top Linux-based software platform for the third straight year by research firm IDC last week.

"We've invested very heavily in Linux the past three to four years [and] we're starting to see the payoff," said Dave Cotter, BEA director of developer marketing.

They join Borland , Compuware and the Eclipse Foundation in public support for the recently formed open source project. The three groups are supporting Beehive through plug-in support of their own IDEs to Beehive, like the Eclipse Pollinate project.

Leigh Day, a spokesperson at Red Hat, said the company was happy to support the Beehive project effort despite its current support for Tomcat, the Apache Jakarta servlet container project. Red Hat is both a business partner with BEA and affiliated with the Tomcat project.

"The reason why we endorse both as middleware-type solutions for customers is [because], at the end of the day, Red Hat is about promoting choice for customers," she said. "As these open source technologies mature, we are pleased to see that more choices are available to customers that are building the type of architecture that rely on open source technologies."

Beehive, announced in May, is BEA's first major contribution to the open source community incorporating several components of the WebLogic Workplace framework. The three components -- Controls, NetUI PageFlows and Metadata for Web Services (an implementation of JSR-181) -- together will eventually evolve into an application development framework. Beehive project members hope that the framework will rival Microsoft's novice-friendly .NET framework.

That day is not close, however. The Apache Beehive Project site contains only the original source code from BEA, since it was just released last week to the Apache Foundation. Beta testing is expected to begin later this year.

Cotter said Beehive has been proceeding quicker than officials had anticipated, and that "pent up" developer demand has moved events apace. Kathy Quirk, an analyst at research outfit Nucleus Research, said BEA has spent 2004 reaching out to a broader audience of developers; open source initiatives are just one part of the overall strategy to get a leg up on competitors like IBM.

"While BEA always has its eye on its main competitor, all vendors in the Java development market contribute to open source initiatives as it helps further expand the Java market, which ultimately benefits all of them," she said.