Apple Computer has announced the next version of its flagship Mac OS X operating system will support Sun Microsystems’ open source DTrace performance analysis and debugging tool.

DTrace was originally built by Sun as one of the most advanced features of its Solaris 10 operating system, but was released as open source software early in 2005 and has since made its way to other platforms, including FreeBSD.

Apple announced the support in its annual worldwide developers conference (WWDC) held in San Francisco this week, as part of a slew of new features in its upcoming Mac OS X 10.5 (codenamed Leopard) operating system.

The original creator of DTrace, Brian Cantrill, from Sun Microsystems, attended the conference with his team and was excited by the news his baby was being used by Apple.

“This is very exciting news, as it brings DTrace to a whole slew of new users,” he wrote on his blog yesterday in the US.

“Having laid hands on DTrace on Mac OS X myself just a few hours ago, I can tell you that while it’s not yet a complete port, it’s certainly enough to be uniquely useful.”

Apple’s developer Web site says that the DTrace tool is used to build Apple’s new Xray software, which will according to Apple let developers visualise application performance similar to the graphical user interface(GUI) found in GarageBand (Apple’s music creation software).

Leopard will also come with the Ruby on Rails web application framework, Apple said.

In a wide-ranging public e-mail, the company also today in the US announced it would release to the open source community the code from some key items of software. To encourage developers to join these and other projects, Apple has set up a community Web site dubbed “Mac OS Forge”.