It is estimated (there are too many forms of open source to accurately measure) that today more than 60% of companies and governments worldwide use some form of open source software, either as a known resource or as a resource embedded in other applications, many of which are vendor supplied. Some of the most common industry applications of open source software are banking and financial BI solutions, federal government business intelligence, education performance management and operational and executive scorecards for healthcare professionals.
In 2004, Actuate approached The Eclipse Foundation (an open source consortium created by IBM in 2001 and later joined by fifty additional software vendors), one of the most widely known and respected open source organizations, with the intent to create a set of business intelligence tools based on open source. Rather than rewriting its existing BI tools, Actuate wanted to enlist the community of developers familiar with OSS to create a new, open source BI tools project: Eclipse BIRT (Business Intelligence and Reporting Tools). Eclipse accepted Actuate’s proposal, and development began. Today, Actuate is a strategic partner in the Eclipse Foundation and holds a seat on its board, along with other members which include "…individuals and organizations from a cross section of the software industry." (See the Eclipse Foundation website.)
In partnership with Eclipse, Actuate has attracted a user/developer group without equal (and built an active community site for it, called BIRT Exchange), collaborating with these organizations and individuals to create a rich development environment that has grown almost organically and expanded exponentially. This project continues to evolve both the open source BI technology and tools, and allows Actuate to retain its status as the open source Business Intelligence thought leader. An active co-sponsor and committer to the Eclipse BIRT Project, Actuate continues to proactively contribute to and shepherd the rapid, exciting evolution of BIRT open source-based BI tools and technology. And, because BIRT open source Business Intelligence is so widely accepted and used, the product and project development path is endless, with unlimited potential for new directions and the development of exciting, breakthrough products and services.
The resulting open source BI tools, available free from Eclipse, have matured and today provide a wide range of options for building rich information applications. In addition to the free open source Business Intelligence tools (download here), Actuate has created a suite of commercial BIRT products, which adds to the open source BI industry’s standard, widely adopted BIRT tools a variety of value-added products that elevate the already superior BIRT development environment to a new plateau. Actuate’s BIRT tools for designing, deploying and viewing reports include:
Please access the references and resources below to learn more about Actuate’s open source-based BI tools and to experience the exhilaration of a constantly—and rapidly—evolving open source Business Intelligence development environment that supports and nourishes both the creation of Rich Information Applications Without Limits™ and the BIRT community at large.