IBM set up Eclipse in November with a $40 million of its software tools.
Java parent Sun Microsystems is backing a similar project through its NetBeans program. Both Eclipse and NetBeans distribute their software frameworks, called Integrated Development Environments (IDEs), as open-source code, letting developers write their own plug-in features.
"Our philosophy is to support and create standard, royalty-free interfaces," said Ted Farrell, director of strategy at Oracle's application development tools division. "Right now we build Oracle 9i JDeveloper. That's our primary tool. But we realize that people have a choice and some people will choose to use Eclipse, and we want to help them," he said.
In another move Oracle hopes will further that end, the company submitted a proposal for a new technology to the Java Community Process, a standards body that governs that programming language.
Oracle's proposal involves creating a standard application program interface for IDEs. The proposal has the support of vendors including Sun and Macromedia.
Java developers have been hoping IBM and Sun cantheir differences, and come up with a unified open-source IDE.