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IBM Bundles Run Time with Eclipse

IBM officials announced the company is bundling the Eclipse software development kit with its own version of the Java Runtime Environment (JRE).

The donation of the JRE for Linux -- and Windows-based operating systems -- available on Big Blue's Developerworks Web site -- isn't just an exercise in giving more to the open source community. After all, it's been freely available to developers for some time now, through IBM's Developer Kit for Linux and IBM Developer Kit for Windows.

Essentially, it's an opportunity to sell developers on IBM tools, such as Rational and WebSphere Studio, while weaning people away from Sun Microsystems' software bundle.

JREs provide a critical component for anyone using Java-based applications, because users can't run a program otherwise. Normally, JREs are bundled along with the SDK and installed at the same time.

Recently, Sun started bundling its NetBeans 3.6 IDE with the J2SE SDK, which gave developers a one-stop download for the IDE, SDK and JRE. Sun, as the shepherd of the Java Community Process (JCP), has the luxury of being able to bundle its IDE with the SDK (which comes with a JRE) of the popular programming language. IBM does not have this, so it is bundling its own JRE with the Eclipse IDE.

Sun plans to include support for J2EE 1.4 in future versions of NetBeans. Company officials say an early access release of that support will be available in October after the launch of NetBeans 4.0, which is available for download as a beta version today.

Sun and the Eclipse Foundation share a rocky past. At one time Sun and IBM, which founded the open source organization, tried to work out a deal to bring NetBeans into the Eclipse fold, but talks collapsed late last year.

IBM's bundling effort also fulfills another purpose -- wooing Linux developers onto its own software tools platform for creating software applications on the J2EE framework. The company is distributing free copies of its Linux Software Evaluation Kit DVD, which includes trial versions of WebSphere Studio Application Developer and other middleware offerings for its DB2, WebSphere and Tivoli product lines.

"Linux developers need productive and integrated tools, as well as support for deploying applications to Linux servers," said Gina Poole, IBM vice president of developer marketing and Web communities for ISV and developer relations, in a statement.

Developers using the IBM JRE who decide to upgrade to Rational or Tivoli products will not have to switch out JREs, because they're already compatible, she added in the statement.