news // 2007.04.27 08:53:06 [hh]

Rich Internet Applications: Adobe will "Flex 3" zum Open-Source-Projekt machen

Microsofts "Silverlight" Release hat es wohl beschleunigt: Adobe Systems hat angekündigt, nach der "ActionScript Virtual Machine" nun auch sein "Flex 3"-Projekt (Codename: "Moxie") unter der Mozilla Public License (MPL) zu veröffentlichen. Mit "Flex" lassen sich Rich-Internet-Anwendungen erstellen, die dann mittels Compiler in Flash mit ActionScript umgewandelt werden. Der Hersteller will ActionScript, den ActionScript- und MXML-Compiler, den ActionScript-Debugger (allesamt erfordern Java 1.4) und alle Kernbibliotheken als OpenSource veröffentlichen und damit von der Kreativität der Open-Source-Community profitieren, aber weiterhin die Federführung des Projektes behalten.

Der Eclipse-basierte "Flex Builder" bleibt dagegen allerdings weiterhin "Closed Source". Die kommerzielle Version von "Flex" will Adobe weiterhin anbieten; hier werden noch zusätzliche Komponenten enthalten sein, die Adobe auch von Drittanbietern lizenziert hat. "Flex 3" soll noch in diesem Jahr veröffentlicht werden.

Im folgenden werden wieder die häufigsten Fragen zu Flex und OpenSource durch Adobe beantwortet.

General Questions

What is Adobe announcing?
Adobe is announcing its intention to release source code to Flex under an open source Mozilla Public License (MPL). This empowers both open source and commercial developers to extend and enhance the Flex framework to suit their own needs and to contribute to the evolution of the Flex framework.

What components are being released to open source?
Adobe plans to release all of the components of the Flex SDK needed to create Flex applications, including the Java source code for the ActionScript and MXML compilers, the ActionScript debugger, and the ActionScript libraries that make up the core Flex framework. Adobe Flex Builder, the Eclipse-based IDE, is not part of the open source announcement.

When will the Flex SDK be released as open source?
Source code for the Flex framework is already available within the free distribution of the Flex SDK. By this summer, Adobe plans to put in place most of the necessary open source project infrastructure, including public bug database and access to nightly builds. We expect to complete the transition to a fully open source project by the end of the year (committer election and governance process in place, and source control access for the remaining pieces).

Will Adobe continue to offer a commercial version of the Flex SDK?
Yes. The Flex SDK will continue to be available under a commercial license, as will other Adobe products that use the Flex SDK, including Flash Player, Flex Builder, Flex Data Services, and ColdFusion. Offering two licenses provides customers and partners flexibility in how they choose to license the Flex SDK.

What is Adobe’s commitment to Flex?
The Flex language and framework are key elements of many Adobe products that help designers and developers create next generation RIAs for the Internet and desktops. A number of Adobe products including Flex Builder, Flash Authoring, and our Creative Suite products will make it easy to target the Flash and Apollo runtimes leveraging the Flex SDK. We also believe that other ISVs, Adobe partners, and members of the open source community are planning to deliver design and development tools that allow developers to leverage the Flex SDK.
Members of the current Flex SDK development, QA, and product teams will become full-time contributors to this open source project. Adobe will continue to invest heavily in the ongoing framework and language evolution.

How does this announcement benefit Flex developers?
Web and desktop developers using Flex will now be able to directly discuss ideas and proposals with project committers, submit code through the open bug tracking system, or contribute enhancements directly to the Flex project. Over time, Adobe also plans to introduce new subprojects that extend the core Flex Project.

How does this announcement benefit participants in open source projects?
Under the terms of the Mozilla Public License (MPL), open source project owners will be able to use Flex to develop parts of their applications, extend it and contribute to the community, or incorporate some or all of the SDK itself into their projects, provided they continue to comply with the license terms of the MPL.

What is the relationship of this announcement to the Tamarin announcement?
Adobe previously contributed source code for the ActionScript Virtual Machine to the Mozilla foundation under the Tamarin project. Developers using the Tamarin project will be able to use the open source Flex SDK as a compiler and debugger.
Is this release also going to the Mozilla Foundation?
No. Adobe plans to sponsor and host the Flex project infrastructure, including the open bug database, source forge and project planning forums.

License Questions

Note: The responses below are examples only and might not apply to your particular situation. They are not intended to be legal advice. You must consult a lawyer for a full understanding of your rights and obligations under the Mozilla Public License.

What license is Adobe using for the open source Flex project?
Adobe plans to use the Mozilla Public License (MPL) to govern the use of the Flex source code. This license is used by many open source projects that need to balance the needs of the open source community and commercial software vendors. MPL and its derivatives (Eclipse Public License and Common Public License) are used by many well known open source projects with both thriving open source communities and significant commercial users.

What are my obligations if I want to use the source code from this project?
The Mozilla Public License grants developers the right to modify and extend source code and create binary distributions under the license of their choosing. Upon distribution, any changes that were made to the original source files must be made available under the MPL. For a full understanding of licensing obligations, users should consult a legal expert.

Do I have to release my source code if I build applications using the open source Flex SDK?
You will not need to release source code for your Flex application. You will however have to release any source code modifications made to the ActionScript source files provided as part of the open source Flex SDK. These modifications must be released under the MPL. This obligation does not extend to other files created by you, even if they are combined into a single executable or bytecode file. For a complete explanation of your rights and obligations under the MPL, you should consult a legal professional.

If I want to ship a product or project that includes the Flex SDK, what are my choices?
Adobe plans to make the Flex SDK available under both open source and commercial licenses. The open source license will be most appropriate for developers using the SDK to create rich internet applications or for open source projects that wish to embed or extend Flex. The commercial license will be most appropriate for commercial vendors that need Adobe-backed warranties and support or are unable to include open source software in their products.

Will the commercial version be different from the open source version?
Our goal is to make the initial open source distribution as close to the commercial distributions of the Flex SDK as possible. Due to restrictions on some components that have been licensed from third parties or come from other Adobe products, some portions of the current free Flex 2 SDK may be made available in binary form only.

Can I redistribute the Flex source code myself?
The current version of the free Flex SDK includes the framework source code. The license provides specific terms under which the framework can be re-distributed either in object code or source code form, but the SDK itself may not be distributed by licensees. Once the Flex SDK is available under the new MPL license, developers will be allowed to redistribute the Flex source code, provided they do so under the terms of the Mozilla Public License (MPL).

If I use the open source version of the Flex SDK in my product can I call it Flex?
No. Adobe Flex is a trademark owned by Adobe Systems Incorporated for use only with commercial applications distributed by Adobe.

Getting Involved

How can I get involved today?
Flex developers and community members can get involved today in two different ways:

Will Adobe be allowing external developers as committers to the project?
Yes, Adobe expects to add external committers to the project as we roll out the infrastructure and governance process for the Flex project. Initially, the only committers will be the Adobe Flex engineering team.

What are the plans for receiving contributions to the code?
Initially, we will begin to accept contributions as attachments to bug reports and enhancement requests in our public bug database. To contribute source, developers will be asked to first agree to a contribution agreement as part of the submission process.

What will be the governance model for managing the open source project?
The schedule and roadmap for Flex will continue to be defined by Adobe. As part of the development process, the team plans to publish the schedule and development priorities that will drive future development in order to solicit feedback and contributions from the community.
The Adobe Flex SDK engineering team will be the initial approved committers to the project and will review and approve all contributions. Over time we plan to add external committers that have demonstrated interest in and commitment to the core design philosophy and priorities of the project. We also plan to set up a process for establishing subprojects that are managed by either external or internal developers but become a part of the main project source tree.

How can I ask more questions?
You can participate in our discussion group.

Weitere Informationen: wiki/ index.php/ Flex:Open_Source und aboutadobe/ pressroom/ pressreleases/ 200704/ 042607Flex.html