I was just telling Coach Wei of Nexaweb the other night that Adobe was being too arrogant, and that more exploitation of open source would make sense for them. Well, darned if it turns out I was making some sense, even after two beers and a crab taco at Fenway Park.
Adobe today took the Flex framework for building rich Internet applications (RIAs) open source under a Mozilla license. A new open source Flex SDK and documentation will be available under the Mozilla Public License (MPL), the same OSI-approved license used for the recently announced Adobe-inspired Tamarin project is to implement a high-performance, open source implementation of the ECMAScript 4th edition (ES4) language specification.
Smart move by Adobe. The road to RIAs is paved with many different aggregates, and loose stones abound. Such loose footing makes a stampede to a de facto industry standard a probable oasis for developers under pressure to produce. Adobe Flex could -- if the community forces line up well -- become that standard. Now's the time to make life easy for the RIA developers -- they will reward you richly.
Now Adobe needs to keep up the pressure and seek the same open source advantages for its Flash capabilities. Here's another area begging for a standard that sticks, and sucks the oxygen out of the alternatives. This is especially so now that Microsoft is coming to town with its Silverlight so-called "Flash killer."
With one stroke, an open source Flash framework, ala Flex, could render Microsoft's many millions R&D spending (or should we call it reverse engineering and development (RED)) by Microsoft unable to again produce little bottom-line effect. With Adobe bringing its Flex and possibly Flash into open source -- and perhaps creating unassailable de facto global standards as well -- then the Web 2.0 red shift to RIAs and away from other models could be complete.
It will be curious to see how the likes of Google, Amazon, Salesforece.com, et al, react to the Flex announcement. This could free them up a bit to focus on other more remunerative activities.