Last week Gert Franz, CEO of Railo, announced that Railo 3.1 will be open sourced, that the new LPGL2 licensed project will be hosted at JBoss.org, and that the JBoss community will be contributing to the enhancement of core functionality.
I've known Gert for a long time. We first met in Zurich back in 2001, and out paths have crossed repeatedly over the years. Gert has always been professional, respectful, and forthright, despite the fact that he had created a ColdFusion clone (and thus was a competitor). Gert has repeatedly demonstrated his commitment to the ColdFusion community, and has made a point to never be antagonistic or divisive, and to always be open and honest, despite us being competitors. In fact, before he made the announcement last week, he requested a meeting with the ColdFusion team leaders to give them advanced notice and to chat about positioning and the future. He even asked me to eyeball the joint JBoss Railo press release, just to make sure that it contained nothing objectionable or unnecessarily divisive. I'm not a fool, and I know that Gert's actions are not entirely altruistic - at the end of the day he has a business to run and needs to do what is in his business' best interests. But at the same time, he has gone out of his way to balance those interests with those of the community in general. He has never badmouthed ColdFusion or the community, he has never tried to sell his product by putting down ours, he has never actively tried to drive our developers away from the core platform, and he's always tried to sell his product on its strengths, playing fairly and honestly. And that's not something that I can say about all of the players in this space.
Could the JBoss Railo relationship impact ColdFusion sales? Yes, of course it could. So why am I not worried about Railo's new announcement? Why do I think that this is actually a very positive direction? Because unlike some other relationships, this one does indeed have the best interests of the community at heart. Neither Railo nor JBoss see ColdFusion apps as legacy, and they don't see their only business model as in converting ColdFusion developers to Java or to .NET. Rather, they see the value that is CFML and the ColdFusion community, and they want to enhance it and expose it to the wider Java community. Which means that very realistically this relationship could significantly raise ColdFusion and CFML awareness, and could enhance ColdFusion's reputation and visibility, and could even help grow the size of the community and the number of deployments. And at the end of the day, if that were to occur, then the entire community would benefit, including ColdFusion and its customers and users.
So Gert, I wish you and your team much luck on this new endeavor. And I am looking forward to working together with you to further the interests of our respective companies, while at the same time ensuring a thriving future for ColdFusion and the ColdFusion community.