IBM's Eclipse vs. Sun's NetBeans? Not Really.

by Steve Anglin

IBM and Sun have recently exchanged press releases about their respective open source Java IDE projects: Eclipse and NetBeans. Why do these billion-dollar companies care so much about open source software? The obvious answer: market share as covered in this JavaWorld article. It just may not be as direct as it might seem. Actually, here's my take on this:

IBM thinks it's competing with Sun. Sun thinks NetBeans will help bridge a relationship with the open source community. Two companies, two different objectives with these two open source Java IDE projects. Furthermore, IBM may be looking at the Visual Studio .NET market, although it's far from open source at this point. It sounds like a lot of money to invest for so little in return for IBM.

Sun on the other hand looks at NetBeans more in terms of public relations than revenue (I guess they have to since it's open source) based on their software group's stance that they want to be perceived as Java evangelists, not Java sellers. Furthermore, I'm sure some at Sun would like to see the remnants of iPlanet (i.e., Forte for Java, etc.) sold off to interested companies such as Novell, Allaire, etc. We shall see.

What do you think of my take on this? Please share your views on this debate.


Jens E
2006-05-08 09:40:46
It seems that as the Sun and Eclipse people spend years and dollars wrangling each other, the "hybrid" market of taking
Swing UI features from companies like NetBeans and incoporating them into Eclipse is what is actually being used in the marketplace. Politics is all fine and good, but if usability of either product is compromised or evolution hindered, the consumer is the loser.

Companies like Genuitec
and MyEclipse are on the forefront of this effort, and as usual we welcome the next partnering opportunities that make our communities richer and more productive.