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Oracle warms up to open source, IBM

Company says the new version of its application server will work better with products such as Apache Spring and Big Blue's WebSphere line.

With the forthcoming release of its application server, Oracle is warming up to open-source software and IBM's middleware products.

The company, at its Oracle OpenWorld customer conference in San Francisco, detailed enhancements to its Oracle Application Server 10g release 3, which is due for completion before next May.

Oracle and IBM also announced a partnership to ensure that Oracle's packaged applications run natively--that is, without modification or special translators--on the majority of IBM's WebSphere-branded middleware, including its application server and portal, plus Big Blue's recently announced Process Server.

"Oracle views the IBM-Oracle project as one of the most important customer-focused projects underway at our company," Charles Phillips, one of Oracle's co-presidents, said in a statement.

Oracle's application server--the back-end software that runs Java and Web services programs--is the anchor to the company's Fusion Middleware, the infrastructure software the company eventually will use to underpin its disparate packaged application product lines.

Oracle, in fact, is expected to announce this week that J.D. Edwards applications, which the database giant gained through its acquisition of PeopleSoft last year, will be certified to run on Oracle's Application Server 10g release 2.

Release 3 of its application server will be designed to more smoothly operate with third-party products, including open-source development "frameworks" such as Apache Spring and Hibernate, said Rick Shultz, vice president of Oracle Fusion Middleware.

Ties to commercial products, including IBM's WebSphere software, and its MQ messaging software and systems management products, will also be built in, Shultz said.

The update will bring the software current with the more recent Web services specifications. These changes are meant to make Oracle's infrastructure software a more attractive choice for building a modular system called a service-oriented architecture, Schultz said.

For developers, Oracle plans to improve its own development tools to simplify server-side Java development and support the REST-style of programming, which relies on XML and HTTP rather than Web services protocols.

Oracle Application Sever 10g release 3 will have a so-called rules engine, which will allows companies to make changes to applications by configuring business rules rather than by writing Java code, said Schultz.