Red Hat intros 'second generation' tools, despite Oracle buyout rumors

While its rival Novell introduced the latest version of SuSE Linux Enterprise at the Open Source Business Conference (OSBC) in San Francisco, Red Hat -- the world's other major Linux distributor -- issued its tools announcement in conjunction with EclipseCon. The conference in Santa Clara focuses on the Eclipse cross-platform development environment.

The new JBoss Developers Studio 2.0 - Portfolio Edition (JBDS-PE) rolled out by Red Hat today is a major update to Red Hat's earlier Eclipse-based software development kit.

JBDS-PE is designed to work with all of Red Hat's JBoss Enterprise runtimes and tools. The kit also uses the same code as the JBoss middleware, said Craig Muzilla, VP of Red Hat's middleware business. With JBDS-PE, Red Hat developers can take advantage of a software-oriented architecture, using an enterprise service bus (ESB) to connect applications, portals, and data sources to the middleware environment.

Developers can use the JBoss ESB to create projects, deploy, debug, and manage configurations, noted Rich Sharples, Red Hat's director of product management for developer tools.

An earlier edition of the SDK, released about 18 months ago, provided similar functionality, but only for creating Java Enterprise Edition applications with RIA on top of the Seam Framework.

The new kit "reflects the fact that JBDS has grown from being just a Seam/Java EE focused tool set to now cover the whole JBoss portfolio," Sharples said. "Specifically that means the addition of some pretty sophisticated tooling for SOA and portal development."

Beyond Java EE, runtimes and tools supported by Red Hat's new toolkit include Red Hat Enterprise Linus (RHEL), OpenJDK, and the JBoss Enterprise Application Platform; Enterprise Data Service Platform, Enterprise Portal Platform, and Operations Network.

Smaller refinements include the addition of a new visual page-flow editor and birds-eye-view, three portlet wizards, and support for both Seam 2.0 and 2.1, for example.

A subscription to JBDS-PE provides access to JDBS, "all the JBoss run-times you need to develop against [and] Red Hat Network for updates -- all of $99/year," Sharples said in a blog post today.

At the end of the day on the West Coast, Red Hat CEO Jim Whitehurst was scheduled to deliver a keynote at OSBC, with "second-generation Linux" as one of his slated topics.

OSBC has been the site of numerous buyout rumors in the past, including reports a few years back about Red Hat's then planned acquisition of JBoss, which unlike some of the other speculation, obviously turned out to be on target. This week, tongues have been wagging that Oracle's current software vendor shopping spree might turn next to Red Hat.

Interestingly, the starting point for this latest rumor was a note by Katherine Egbert, an analyst at Jefferies & Co., suggesting that a Red Hat buyout could make sense for Oracle, due to Oracle's ongoing tendency to buy companies as a way of expanding its market share. Aside from its myriad other activities in the software business, Oracle also now produces its own Linux distribution.

But also in her note to clients, Egbert said that the timing for an Oracle buyout of Red Hat isn't right just now, in that IBM's possible merger with Sun could cause big changes to the Linux landscape.

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