RALEIGH, N.C. – Red Hat and its JBoss middleware subsidiary made a move to expand their product offerings and the appeal of their software “stack” for further development on Monday by forming a partnership with Exadel Studios.

At a conference for developers of the open source Eclipse platform in Santa Clara, Calif., Red Hat and Exadel disclosed that Exadel would “open source” its products. The companies will also work together in developing additional projects.

Eclipse, as opposed to proprietary platforms, is designed to help developers deploy and manage applications through the entire software life cycle. Currently there are more than 60 Eclipse projects under development.

Although financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed, Exadel said its offerings would be incorporated into the JBoss.org project, which is part of the JBoss and Red Hat organization. Red Hat bought JBoss, a middleware developer of Java applications last year.

Exadel, which is based near San Francisco, said as a company it would move away from software development and focus on services. The Exadel tools will enable Red Hat to deliver what Red Hat called a “more comprehensive developer program and strategy” for an integrated Red Hat platform.

Under the agreement, Exadel’s Studio Pro, RichFaces and Ajax4jsf will be opened up to outside developers. RichFaces and Ajax4jsf are used for Web 2.0 applications such as social networking.

Deal Makes for ‘Nice Bedfellows,’ Writes ZDnet Blogger

The partnership not only means additional applications tools for use with Red Hat and JBoss but also means more exposure for Exadel through the Red Hat and JBoss brands, wrote technology columnist Dana Gardner at ZDnet.

“While Exadel will remain a separate stand-alone company, the contribution of its code and tooling products gives it an expanded channel opportunity — the Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) and JBoss Enterprise Middleware market — for its continuing consulting and professional services solutions,” Gardner said. “Exadel’s tool developers will move to the JBoss.org community and continue their efforts there.

“In essence, Exadel is ceding its tools product development to open source via GPL, partnering with Red Hat to do it within its community, and so gets to ride on the Red Hat market for Exadel professional services,” he added. “Red Hat gets influence over and integration benefits from an Eclipse-oriented visual development set, along with RIA and Ajax tools. Seems like nice bedfellows.”

GPL is the general public license through which Linux development takes place. RIA and Ajax (Asynchronous JavaScript and XML) are other development tools.

Paul Krill, writing in InfoWorld, said the deal would make Red Hat “more of a destination for software developers.”

Raven Zachary, a senior analyst with The 451 Group, likes the Red Hat-JBoss-Exadel arrangement.

"Here you’ve got two commercial firms exchanging IP (intellectual property) with only a promise of revenue-sharing in the future. It’s a fascinating model," Zachary told Krill.

Red Hat Gains ‘High-Caliber Set of Tools’

In its announcement, Red Hat noted that the Exadel decision “marks the first time that a high caliber set of Eclipse-based developer tools will be available in open source.”

Red Hat said it would work with Exadel to “drive development” of projects and integration with JBoss offerings. The JBoss projects will be directed by Gavin King, founder of the JBoss Seam program, within the JBoss.org group.

“Exadel’s software contribution is a great asset to the open source community and rounds out our JBoss Enterprise Middleware platform with field-proven developer tools that enhance productivity and simplify development on JBoss,” said Sacha Labourey, the chief technology officer of Red Hat’s JBoss Division. “Exadel has done an admirable job bringing its tools to this level of maturity and functionality for developers. Red Hat is excited to help take on the future development of these projects and augment them with our platform technologies.”

Red Hat and Exadel plan to target the Web 2.0 development market and the growing software service oriented architecture (SOA) segment. SOA enables applications to be run across an enterprise in different environments.

Exadel already has numerous high-profile clients, including AT&T, Bank of America and eBay.