Microsoft to help Eclipse developers make Java apps look Vista-native

In a growing effort to show the world it is embracing the open source community, Microsoft announced it will work with the Eclipse Foundation to offer the Eclipse Standard Widget Toolkit that can be used with the Microsoft Windows Presentation Foundation.

The use of Eclipse technology will allow Java developers to make software applications that look native to the Windows Vista operating system. Eclipse is an open source community project that is the most popular Java development environment available to programmers.

"In terms of future plans for collaboration, Microsoft looks forward to continuing its efforts with Eclipse and is optimistic that they can work together in an increasingly open and transparent manner," a company spokesperson told BetaNews.

The news was first published by Sam Ramji, an Open Source Software Lab Director for Microsoft's Open Source Community, who spoke during a keynote at EclipseCon2008 in Santa, Clara, Calif. Rumors began to circulate that Microsoft would either join the Eclipse Foundation or offer C# to it, but the company is taking baby steps before doing something too drastic.

"It just makes sense to enable Java on Windows," Ramji said in a blog post. The leader of the Standard Widget Toolkit team "had gotten requests to make it easy for Java developers to write applications that look and feel like native Windows Vista. We're committing to improve this technology with direct support from our engineering teams and the Open Source Software Lab, with the goal of a first-class authoring experience for Java developers."

This is the first time Microsoft will work directly with Eclipse, but the company has been involved with several different open source initiatives over the past few years. Microsoft first started its open source push with the creation of its Linux Lab four years ago. It then stepped up its involement with the creation of the Open Source Software Lab just two years ago.

Most recently, the Linux Interoperability Lab was created to help Microsoft have direct focus "on interoperable virtualization between the Windows and SUSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES)" program.

In addition to working with Eclipse on its Java development platform, Microsoft is engaging with several other prominent open source companies for development and research purposes. The company started working with JBoss after JBoss research indicated a large portion of its users ran the Java application server on a Windows-based server.

Microsoft has also partnered with Zend Technologies to enhance how PHP works on Windows, and is sharing Windows API documents with representatives of the Samba project.

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