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Intel Aims at Open Source Testing

Intel is breathing new life into an open source test and performance framework at the Eclipse Foundation.

The chipmaker will take over leadership of the Eclipse's Hyades Core Platform, just as three new sub-projects emerge: Hyades Testing, Hyades Tracing & Profiling and Hyades Monitoring.

Officials expect the Test and Performance Tools Platform Top Level Project, an extension of the Hyades project currently led by Scapa Technologies and IBM , to be ready in time for the start of LinuxWorld in San Francisco Aug. 2.

The two-year-old Hyades project, a sub-project within the Eclipse Foundation, is a framework that allows interoperability among third-party tuning, logging, tracing, analysis and monitoring software tools. The project provides a common set of APIs and unified data models, as well as technical help in getting test and performance tools standardized on the framework. The project also includes a user interface with sample implementations to provide a front end for testing, logging and profiling.

The three sub-projects will deliver interoperability in their respective areas, while the Hyades Core Platform will ensure overall compatibility. A project management committee -- which is led by Intel's Tyler Thessin, software development products engineering manager, and made up of members from IBM and Scapa Technologies -- will coordinate the activities among the different groups.

James Reinders, Intel's director of marketing for software development products, said officials at his company are excited about the prospect of taking over leadership of this growing project. He said the chipmaking industry could benefit from standardizing its tools on the Hyades project. Intel -- a founding member of the Eclipse Foundation -- plans to do so with its VTune Performance Analyzers.

"We've re-engineered our product, VTune, over the years to add new features and increasingly built our tool around a common framework that's just for ourselves," he said. "But there's always been this feeling we could go a lot more places if we could pull things together, something the Hyades project does."

The software, available for Windows and Linux developers, graphs performance bottlenecks in a processor. Originally designed as a process counter on its Pentium line of chips 10 years ago, it's grown into a standalone product and is similar to the performance tools found in most processors and graphics chips used by peers in the industry.

The company plans to devote eight employees full-time to the Hyades project, adding to the engineers already working on various Eclipse Project efforts. Also working on the Test and Performance Tools Platform Top Level Project are engineers from SAP , Compuware and Fokus.

Software quality and performance has become a hot topic, as companies look to further improve their products by weeding out the performance and vulnerability bugs that plague many software applications.

Earlier this month, IBM officials said they would standardize their Rational software line with the Hyades Project, part of the company's Continuously Ensure Quality initiative.

Mike Norman, CEO of Scapa Technologies and current Hyades project lead, said they are in discussions with other companies interested in joining the project.

"There's a lot of interest in this in the industry; the understanding [of the Hyades project] is, perhaps, percolating through the industry at this stage," he said. "Eclipse itself is moving to an independent organization; when that [happens] I think you'll see a more significant public uptake of what's going on."