IBM to Jazz up open source

IBM today opened its open-source community to anyone who wants to provide feedback on the technology, which is intended to help improve collaboration among software development teams.

Before today, the community — which was launched in June — could be accessed only by select IBM customers and academics who were invited to participate in it. The site will now provide all comers with access to Jazz code, bug lists and other details.

Although IBM has said that it plans to emulate the Eclipse open-source community with its Jazz effort, the company still owns the Jazz source code, so the effort is not a classic open-source project like Eclipse.

“[] is an open commercial community designed to build and evolve the Jazz technology,” said Scott Hebner, IBM Rational’s vice president of marketing and strategy. “We’ll start to build our products in a completely transparent and collaborative fashion with our customers.”

But Hebner added that IBM eventually plans open up the Jazz source code, as it did with Eclipse.

“We intend to as we move through time to make certain elements of the Jazz technology platform available in open source, particularly those parts … that are key to integration, communications and information exchange,” he said. “The ultimate goal is very similar to Eclipse. You want to be able to more dynamically integrate products into a life-cycle platform. [To do that], you’re going to have to open it up.”

To date, he added, those who have accessed have been particularly interested in the in-context collaboration feature, which allows every team member working on a particular aspect of Jazz development to be notified in real-time when anyone else makes a change that affects others.

“It is one thing to say I can pull up an IM and contact someone, but when the system begins to understand the process … it helps facilitate that communication in a more proactive manner,” Hebner said.

This year, IBM will begin announcing new Jazz-based features in other Rational products such as ClearCase, ClearQuest and BuildForge, he added.

IBM on Monday also announced that the second beta version of the first Jazz-based product — called IBM Rational Team Concert Express — is now available. The product, expected to be generally available later this year, is aimed at helping small and midsize development teams improve productivity through collaboration, IBM said. It includes Web dashboards to help users see real-time status data including the status of work items and project health.

Finally, IBM announced that IBM Research is working on a new projects called Bluegrass, which is aimed at using virtual worlds such as Second Life to help software developers work and brainstorm with one another using interactive visual representations of ideas, data from the Web and Jazz-based sources.

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