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.
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