Oracle released TopLink, their Java-based Object Relational Mapping (ORM) software, with an Open Source License earlier this week. The TopLink framework lets Java objects be persisted into a relational database or converted to an XML document. Prior to this announcement, part of TopLink which implemented the Java Persistence API (JPA), TopLink Essentials, was already available as Open Source. TopLink is part of Oracle’s Fusion middleware. Oracle’s FAQ for this announcement is here.Oracle has proposed to donate TopLink source code and test cases to Eclipse. Within Eclipse a new project called the Eclipse Persistence Platform (EclipseLink) will be launched. Oracle also is stepping up to join the Eclipse board of directors and to become a Strategic Member of Eclipse. They plan to dedicate a ‘significant number’ of developers to the EclipseLink project and will also pay $250,000 annual dues for membership.Oracle has already been involved in a number of other Eclipse projects. They’ve led the Java Server Faces Tools, BPEL, and Dali JPA Tools projects. They’ve also participated in projects like the Data Tools Platform Platform (DTP) Enablement project.Oracle acquired TopLink from WebGain in 2002. The original version of the software was created from The Object People and that is where the Top in TopLink comes from.TopLink is an ORM tool that competes directly with similar tools like Red Hat’s popular Hibernate product. By making TopLink Open Source, Oracle directly pits TopLink against Hibernate. Oracle no doubt hopes to capture open source developers to help write new code and test the software. And after Oracle’s Red Hat Linux announcement, Red Hat now must be feeling another assault.As Open Source, TopLink becomes instantly more accessible and accepted. TopLink’s previous $5000 per CPU pricing had removed it from consideration on some projects.Many developers will probably welcome Oracle’s support of the Eclipse IDE. Oracle has been pushing their own free JDeveloper IDE for some time. In many ways JDeveloper is a better IDE than Eclipse, but JDeveloper hasn’t seen the level of acceptance that Eclipse has. By going the route of Eclipse, Oracle can now appeal to the Open Source community. It will be interesting to see if Oracle’s level of support for JDeveloper changes going forward.