Google (news, site) is showing the Eclipse Foundation (news, site) a bit of holiday goodwill. The Internet giant has made a donation -- in the form of source code and intellectual property -- valued at more than US$ 5 million dollars. The move is good news for the open source Java community, which hasn’t had a lot to cheer about lately.
Google is donating the source code and IP for WindowBuilder, an Eclipse Java GUI Designer, and CodePro Profiler, an analytics tool that identifies code performance issues to Eclipse. Google acquired the tools earlier this year when they purchased Instantiations, makers of the tools for the Google Web Toolkit.
Initially, Google made the tools available at no cost, which resulted in very positive developer response. Now, Google has gone a step further and made the tools open source.
Google sees the Eclipse foundation as an appropriate place for the project given the symbiotic relationship with existing plugins. Eclipse plans to include the GUI tools and profiler in the 2011 release train, which will coordinate the release of more than 30 projects.
The availability of the source code is likely to make Java developers happy, and what makes Java developers happy is good for Eclipse (65% of Eclipse’s userbase are Java developers). Releasing the products as open source also creates an opportunity for additional vendors to offer support, something that hasn't previously been an area of focus for Google. Genuitec and OnPositive have already expressed their intent to offer commercial support services.
Why So Merry?
This donation is not the first act of benevolence Google has shown the Eclipse foundation. Earlier this year, Google Code became the host for Eclipse Labs, an effort for project development outside of the core Eclipse project structure.
Google’s move may not be entirely selfless however. Providing the tools that make it easier to build web applications may give developers a warm spot for Google and, as we know, web applications and enthusiastic developers are always of big interest to Google.