With great fanfarish PR announcements and 30 days for review, Actuate has said it will build an Eclipse-based Open Source reportwriter- code-named BIRT. That is BIRT not BIRP or BURP and it stands for Business Intelligence Reporting Toolkit. Now in the Alice in BI Wonderland World of ever expanding BI tool giveaways, this is another one for the Mad Hatter to explain. For Actuates reasoning, go here. For Eclipses version of events, go here. Here is one parties take on events.
Actuate is playing catch up in the report writing market with Business Objects/Crystal, Cognos and Microstrategy which have more comprehensive solutions and/or market share leads. In addition, Microsoft has entered the fray with its “free with SQL Server” Reporting Services. With Reporting Services, Microsoft is advancing its XML-based RDL-Report Definition Language as a standard for cross platform report definition language.
So like BEA in the Web Service development world with its Beehive OpenSource giveaway(which gets the BEA runtime into OpenSource and hopefully wider distribution), Actuate needs to get its RDL equivalent XML report language and associated royalty-free runtime engine adopted broadly in the BI community. So give the basic tools away for free, and make money on the enterprise bells and whistles – advanced reporting, mobile alerters infrastructure, and sophisticated BI-Infoflows. Eclipse is a sturdy and cross platform IDE/delivery vehicle. In sum, this endeavour bears watching -> RDL me this, will BIRT take off ?