At midnight, Thursday April 26th at Midnight, Adobe officially announced that the Flex 3 SDK, will be released as an open source project under the Mozilla Public License. The actual timeline for the release looks like this:
Summer 2007 – Daily builds of the Flex 3 SDK will be provided. Online access to the bug base will be publicly available.
Fall 2007 – Flex 3 launches.
December 2007 – After the release of Flex 3, adobe will be posting all software assets into a public Subversion repository for public access.
Many have asked the questions: "Why would Adobe do this?" and "how is Adobe is going to keep making money from Flex?" While I dont have any inside information about either of these, i do have come conclusions I've drawn on these two…
Why would Adobe do this
The easy, marketing friendly answer to this question is "to grow the platform." Of course, Adobe wants more and more people using the Flex Platform, as it enables them to sell more copies of Flex Builder, Flex Charting, Flex Data Services, etc. Of course, I suspect this may be a bit of a defensive move as well, as it comes on the heels of Microsoft annoucing SilverLight. As Ted Patric notes, Adobe is taking the gloves off in its battle against SilverLight. I think its safe to assume that by open sourcing flex, more developers will adopt it, and it will set a much higher bar for MS.
How is Adobe is going to keep making money from an Open Source Flex 3?
The reality as far as product sales goes, is this is no different than flex 2. In flex 2, there was already a free SDK, which included everything a developer would need to build flex apps. This open source project will provide the same free SDK, just under a different license. As I mentioned before, if Open Sourcing the project attracts new developers, then, additional sales of the commercial flex products (Builder, Charting , Data Services, etc) will likely follow.