IBM extending tech support to raw Eclipse platform

IBM Rational on Thursday is announcing plans to provide technical support for the Eclipse open source tools platform, thus giving customers a single point of contact for both open source and IBM's commercial technologies for software development. IBM will also unveil plans for upcoming tools geared to the new Eclipse 3.2 platform, and it is rolling out online developer resources for Eclipse users. IBM is making the announcements at the EclipseWorld conference in Cambridge, Mass.

Through its IBM Rational Elite Support for Eclipse program, IBM will for the first time provide support for raw Eclipse tooling, said Scott Hebner, vice president of marketing and strategy at IBM Rational. Tools also will be provided.

IBM previously supported IBM Rational products that are based on Eclipse but not for Eclipse tools themselves. Users will be assisted with issues such as solving defects and getting questions answered. IBM Rational, rather than the IBM Global Services group will provide support.

"This is an opportunity for the IT managers and development managers to provide a unified support structure," Hebner said. Eclipse users not working with IBM Rational products also can sign up for the Eclipse support.

IBM officials noted users are doing mission-critical work and want more accountability for support rather than just relying on the community at large.

"They're happy with the level of tooling [from Eclipse]. They're not happy with building [solutions] alone," said Gary Cernosek, offerings manager for analysis, design and construction at IBM Rational.