Actuate makes BI open source

Business intelligence software supplier Actuate is hitching its wagon to the open-source movement in the hope of seeing its...

Business intelligence software supplier Actuate is hitching its wagon to the open-source movement in the hope of seeing its applications get even broader acceptance in the marketplace. 

It is to become a strategic development member of the Eclipse Foundation, an independent organisation that helps to oversee open-source development projects.

With the co-launching the open-source Business Intelligence and Reporting Tools (BIRT) project Actuate wants to take away some of the complexity from hand-coding reports using JavaServer Pages.

The BIRT code, which will benefit from Actuate's technical expertise, will be created from scratch and targeted primarily at Java developers and power users. 

Actuate wants feedback from the open-source community, said Mark Coggins, senior vice-president of engineering at the company.

He added that working with the Eclipse Foundation would help to develop the application with the principles of  "transparency and meritocracy, where the best ideas and methods will be incorporated". 

By making reporting tasks simpler and more easily adopted, the company expects BIRT to become an enterprise-ready rival to Microsoft's Reporting Services platform. 

Actuate will embed BIRT-generated code into its commercial applications at the same time as the technology becomes part of open-source development.

The company may also offer paid technical support for BIRT, and other companies will be free to develop and sell products built around it, in accordance with the Eclipse public licence model. 

Marc L Songini writes for Computerworld

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