IBM’s Rational Software unit is considering putting parts of its Jazz collaboration framework into open source, according to an executive of the company.

"We might think about open-sourcing some of the very lowest layers (of the framework) so that the APIs (application programming interfaces) are available, and people could build on the kernel," said Scott Rich, a member of the management committee of the Jazz project on the sidelines of a Rational Software conference in Bangalore this week. One benefit of this strategy is to make the Jazz framework "more pervasive," he added.

IBM is at the same time considering packaging and licensing some of the functional parts currently available on Jazz so that companies can use it for their in-house collaborative development, Rich said. "The source code management capability, and other parts that really do things will likely stay commercial," he added.

Jazz is IBM’s technology for collaborative software development among distributed development teams. IBM opened up earlier this year the Jazz framework, through the Jazz.net web portal, to IBM Rational customers and software developers who would participate in product development with IBM Rational. IBM called the process "open commercial development."

"The idea of Jazz.net is to try and build a community around the Jazz platform," said Steve Robinson, vice president of Rational Software in IBM Software Group. The community will provide inputs on requirements, report bugs, and add extensions, but the actual product development will still be done by IBM and will be owned by the company, he added.

The first product being developed on Jazz technology is Rational Team Concert, a collaborative development portal now in beta. Jazz is a framework with several components sitting on it, and Team Concert is a selection of those components to target development teams using the Agile programming methodology, Rich said.

The code of Team Concert will be available to Jazz.net participants to try out during the beta phase in pilot projects, but the product will remain proprietary software, and customers will be charged a licence fee once they move to a production phase with the software, Rich said.