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Red Hat to bundle open-source tools

The company announces plans to assemble a package of Java-based open-source tools for building corporate Web applications. The suite will be bundled with Red Hat's version of Linux.

Linux distributor Red Hat announced plans Tuesday to assemble a package of Java-based open-source tools for building corporate Web applications.

The company said it plans to bundle its Red Hat Linux operating system with Eclipse open-source development tools and Web application server software from the ObjectWeb open-source software consortium. The IBM-backed Eclipse consortium is an open-source alternative to commercial development tools.

The testing version of the bundled product will be delivered later this year and eventually sold under the Red Hat Enterprise Linux label, Red Hat said. The company did not announce pricing.

Red Hat's distribution of Linux is a popular open-source alternative to Windows or Unix operating systems for corporate servers. With the Web application package, Red Hat is looking to entice customers interested in moving existing business applications onto Linux and other open-source software, the company said.

The bundling agreement will provide Java software developers with open-source development tools and the server software needed to migrate existing applications or build new Web applications, Red Hat said. Red Hat will provide support and technical services around the Web applications software.

Although Web application software is dominated by commercial companies, open-source alternatives are garnering more interest. Tomcat and JBoss are two popular Java-based Web application servers, for example. Often, open-source Web application software runs in conjunction with Linux, the freely available open-source operating system.

As part of the arrangement, Red Hat will join the ObjectWeb consortium and participate in ObjectWeb-sponsored open-source projects.

The ObjectWeb consortium is focused on developing a line of open-source "middleware," or server-based software that provides network services, such as transaction processing and maintaining database connections. The consortium was founded in late 1999 by France Telecom, French computer maker Bull and INRIA, the French national institute of research in computer sciences.

Red Hat said it will optimize ObjectWeb's Jonas software for Red Hat Linux. Jonas, short for Java Open Application Server, is an open-source implementation of the Java 2 Enterprise Edition (J2EE) specification version 1.3. J2EE server software is used for running custom business applications, such as large-scale Web sites.