Adobe annouced today that Flex is going open source!
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.
So what does this mean? While most of the components of the Flex framework: SDK, source code, libraries, et cetera will be open to community development, Flex Builder, Charting, and possibly other tools will remain as they are.
This action should hopefully help in two areas:
- Open source zealots may stop trashing Flex for being closed source. This will effectively neuter that argument.
- This should make developing alternatives to Flex Builder at least a little easier for projects such as FlashDevelop and FleVI.
While I do enjoy using Flex Builder, The price seems unjustified and open source tools are getting very close to providing a very similar workflow. A quick scan of the many Flex-related projects on Open Source Flash is evidence of this. Adobe making the decision to release Flex as open source may be the push these projects need to really make something wonderful. I certainly have high hopes for the entire Flash Platform resulting from this announcement.
This announcement expands on Adobe’s commitment to open technology initiatives, including the contribution of source code for the ActionScript Virtual Machine to the Mozilla Foundation under the Tamarin project, the use of the open source WebKit engine in the “Apollo” project, and the release of the full PDF 1.7 specification for ISO standardization.