Inprise signals Linux intentions

By: J.D. Hildebrand

Abstract: The company's recent announcements reveal deep commitment to Linux platform, technology. Now it's up to the engineers. By J.D. Hildebrand.

Inprise signals Linux intentions

By J.D. Hildebrand

In a flurry of announcements, Inprise Corp. this week signaled its intention to be the industry's leading vendor of development tools and databases for the Linux platform. It's good news for Inprise, which will benefit from a new level playing field across which to deploy its undeniable technology strengths. And it's good news for the Linux community, which can expect its growth to accelerate as industrial-strength Borland tools fuel the development of vital applications.

On September 27, Inprise announced the immediate availability of a "preview" release of the JBuilder Just-In-Time compiler for Linux. The new JIT, which is available free, increases the performance of Java 2 applications on Linux by 33 percent or more. Linux versions of JBuilder and JDataStore are currently in beta.

On September 28, Inprise interim president and CEO Dale Fuller revealed the existence of "Kylix," an ambitious project to make high-performance RAD tools available for Linux. Kylix will support VCL-compatible component-based development on Linux, and will serve as a foundation for full implementations of high-speed native C, C++, and Delphi development environments. The Linux implementation of the VCL architecture is intended to ease and speed the porting of Delphi and C++Builder apps between Windows and Linux. Inprise intends to ship Kylix-based development environments for Linux next year.

Also announced on September 28 were results of the Borland Linux Developer Survey, which was conducted from July 9 to July 31, 1999. The survey received more than 24,000 unique responses, a majority of which indicated that developers are planning application development and client-server database development on Linux. The survey reveals a deep affinity between Borland's products and the nascent Linux movement.

Finally, Inprise and Corel Corp. jointly announced an alliance intended to "accelerate commercial mainstreaming of Linux technology." Under terms of the agreement, the companies will cooperate in R&D efforts to make Corel and Inprise products available for Linux. Joint marketing and distribution strategies are also in the works.

You can't join a newsgroup these days without encountering a pundit, self-appointed or otherwise, decrying Inprise's lack of direction. No doubt some of this criticism was deserved. But I don't think you can be much more direct, in setting direction, than Dale Fuller, who described the recent announcements as part of Inprise's "ongoing commitment to provide world-class development tools, databases, and middleware for Linux."

Good intentions are necessary but not sufficient for Inprise to reassume its leadership role in the development community, of course. The company must also deliver on Fuller's promise by building robust tools that empower its customers.

That means the responsibility for Inprise's success rests upon the shoulders of its R&D engineers and product development teams...which remain the industry's strongest.

That can only be a good thing for Inprise and the Linux community.

An award-winning writer and editor, J.D. Hildebrand is the content director and editor-in-chief of Inprise's developer community.

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