Adobe to Open Source Flex

In my opinion, Adobe is near the top of the list of mainly proprietary companies that could most benefit from opening up. Their vision for RIA is compelling, but a key to platform success is ubiquity and in this day and age that’s really hard to reach without Open Source. It seem Adobe has taken a good first step by releasing Flex under the MPL. From Adobe:

Adobe is announcing plans to open source Flex under the Mozilla Public License (MPL). This includes not only the source to the ActionScript components from the Flex SDK, which have been available in source code form with the SDK since Flex 2 was released, but also includes the Java source code for the ActionScript and MXML compilers, the ActionScript debugger and the core ActionScript libraries from the SDK. The Flex SDK includes all of the components needed to create Flex applications that run in any browser – on Mac OS X, Windows, and Linux and on now on the desktop using “Apollo”.

Developers can use the Flex SDK to freely develop and deploy Flex applications using either Adobe Flex Builder or an IDE of their choice.

The source code for the Flex framework is already available within the free distribution of the current Flex 2 SDK. By this summer, Adobe plans to put in place most of the infrastructure (public bug database and public daily builds) required to run the Flex SDK as an open source project. We expect to complete the transition to a fully open source project (source code for the compiler, infrastructure for community contributions, etc.) by the end of 2007.

It should be noted that Linux, Solaris and Max OS X are all on the list of supported platforms. Some may say that this isn’t really big news. After all, it’s not like they are MPL’ing Flash. The thing is, Adobe is a large and established company. You can’t expect them to change overnight. This is a good first step. Hopefully there will be solid next steps. The web is almost certainly the next platform. It needs to be open. I think Adobe gets that.

–jeremy

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