Go Laszlo go! Bring on the rich internet cross platform zero install apps. Laszlo (or something like it) will (should, IMHO, I am not privy to the next gen plans for Qumana or ecto) power the next generation of Qumana, ecto et al as well as enable apps we couldn't even think of before.

From davidtemkin.com: Laszlo Goes Open Source:

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Today is a big day for Laszlo.

Until today, we were a software company selling a commercial platform for developing rich Internet applications. Meaning: you could license our software, install it on your servers, and develop and serve an advanced user experience using our server and application framework.

This made a lot of sense in the context of the old software industry model: per-CPU licensing, enterprise sales contracts, vendor lock-in, closed, proprietary code, limited interoperability, source code escrow, and more.

But since the late '90s, things have changed in the software business. It's become clear that open source platforms have a very strong appeal for developers; that technical buyers are very conscious of lock-in, and that the open source development model really works -- especially for platforms and infrastructure (software for developers).

The world has changed, and we've taken notice.

As of now, the entire Laszlo platform is open source software. You can download, install and deploy it for free. The source code is released under the Common Public License (CPL). You can even build proprietary, commercial solutions on top of the open source Laszlo platform. Laszlo itself has shifted its business model from platform licensing to professional services, support, and commercial application development.

But it's not just the software industry that's changing. The Web itself is changing.

What was originally designed as a system for linking hypertext documents (pages of content) has become a platform for data-driven, server-based applications. Most new applications are no longer written for Windows; they're written for the Web. And over the last few years, it's become clear that the Web's page-based foundation can't live up to the needs that applications require.

What's less clear is how to address this problem. There are a variety of ways to work around the Web's limitations as an interactive application medium, but they've all suffered from one or more problems:

They are not cross-browser or cross-platform

They rely on additional software that must be installed on the end-user's computer

They require unfamiliar development processes

They don't support rich media

They're expensive

They're proprietary

With Laszlo's move to open source, there is now a platform that solves these problems. It enables a rich, productive user experience, without compromising on customization or look and feel, while at the same time offering a standards-based (XML, J2EE, JavaScript) way of getting there. It's still the early days of rich Internet applications in general and for the Laszlo platform in particular. We expect to hear quite a bit from you over the next few months -- and we look forward to working with you to move the platform forward.

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