Open-Source BlueDragon Overview and Wrap-up

Posted on Mar 11, 2008

As you likely have already heard, New Atlanta recently announced the upcoming release of an open source version of the J2EE version of their BlueDragon CFML server. This has spawned no shortage of opinions from a wide-range of ColdFusion bloggers and community notables. I have gathered every post I am aware of up to now and summarized them below to get a sense of the mood of the ColdFusion community with regard to this announcement. If I were to sum up my sense of the mood in a phrase, it would be "positive but skeptical."Most people outside Adobe seem to be concerned that their won't be any community support for the project and it will flounder much like the much ballyhooed Smith project seems to have. Still, another common opinion was that this removes a barrier to entry when considering CFML as a platform (the barrier being cost), though there was uncertainty over whether this move would actually "convert" anyone currently on another platform.

A lot of people wondered about Adobe's reaction to this. However, there has been no official response from within Adobe yet, the closest being Damon Cooper's post which saw this move as a capitulation in the CFML market.

My opinion is that this has potential upside and is far more significant than the Smith release, which was very incomplete when it was first made available and didn't have an obvious means of contributing (at least not obvious to me). Based on the announcements, this sounds as though it will have a much more formalized means of contribution much like Adobe is doing with Flex and BlazeDS, which, given a decent sized install base already, could be a recipe for success. Nonetheless, I don't think Adobe should or needs to respond yet. As one poster noted, it has yet to be proven whether this will have any real impact on adoption and given Adobe's position of strength in this market, it doesn't make sense to formally respond. They can afford to watch from the sidelines and swoop in if, in the unlikely event, this is highly successful and impacts their business. In effect, all those who have clamored for an open-source ColdFusion (of which I was not one) now have a chance to prove its potential - but there is no risk to Adobe. So, I guess in the end I share the view somewhat of Geoff Bowers in seeing this as an opportunity for Adobe ColdFusion (though for slightly different reasons).

Here are all the posts that I am aware of on this topic. Feel free to add yours via the comments if I missed it or you post a follow-up.

New Atlanta to Open-Source Java Version of BlueDragon
This is the official New Atlanta announcement including availability information, which is expected to be "prior to the CFUnited conference in Washington D.C. in June 2008."

New Atlanta announces free open source BlueDragon edition
This is Vince's announcement which includes the details such as that they will continue to have a commercial license of the J2EE version and will not be open-sourcing the .Net version (which will also continue to be sold commercially)

Adobe ColdFusion Alternative Decides to Open Source
Adobe's Damon Cooper sees the open-sourcing of BlueDragon as a tactical retreat from the CFML server market by New Atlanta. He reads Vince post as saying New Atlanta are "essentially [getting] out of the business."

Open Source BlueDragon
Sean Corfield says he was not surprised by the announcement and his tone sounds positive but cautious. His primary concern is that the community will not support it and it will go the way of the Smith project.

BlueDragon is dead! Long live BlueDragon!
Geoff Bowers of Daemon thinks this is an opportunity for the entire ColdFusion community including Adobe. He takes the view that BlueDragon could become the gateway drug into Adobe ColdFusion.

Yawn, Blue Dragon Goes Open Source
Terrence Ryan is very skeptical regarding the announcement and doesn't think that an open-source CFML engine will convince anyone to move from their current platform. He cites some of the reasons people choose other platforms and attempts to debunk the idea that this move will change any minds.

Coffee Talk: New Atlanta Announcement
Ray Camden ponders how important the announcement really is and whether we will see an official Adobe response.

BlueDragon Goes Open-Source: A Good Thing, But How Good?
Brian Swartzfager thinks this removes a barrier to entry for CFML and is hopeful but unsure whether this will have any significant impact on adoption.

Open Source CFML, the Door is Open
Simeon Bateman says this "levels the playing field" with other open-source platforms but wonders about the motives for the move an whether the community will support it.

Open Source BlueDragon, what does it mean for you?
Alan Williamson works on BlueDragon for New Atlanta and thinks this will open up many opportunities for ColdFusion developers, especially given BlueDragon's license allowing you to bundle it with your product.

New Atlanta Announces Free Open Source BlueDragon
Joshua Cyr wonders what impact the announcement will have while emphasizing the positive impact of competition.

Thanks New Atlanta
Adam Haskell is very positive on the move and even would like to join the steering committee.

BlueDragon CFML engine open-sourced!
Another brief but positive reaction to the announcement.

BlueDragon Goes Open Source
Jim Priest wonders about Adobe's reaction and whether this will spur hosting companies to switch.

BlueDragon goes Open Source
Mark Drew posts a short link to the announcement but does comment that he thinks this will remove a barrier to entry with CFML.

New Atlanta Open-Sources BlueDragon
Simon Whatley has a brief announcement and also wonders what Adobe's reaction will be.


Jim Priest FYI in the comments on my post I also included links for Digg, DZone and Slashdot.

One thing I've seen in several posts is that people lament the fact that even though it's open-source that doesn't mean people will hop on board and actively develop things.

But that's not important. What IS important is they CAN if they want to.

Several people made reference to the slow development of the CFEclipse project even though it is open source. But what if Rob Rohan (the original author) had decided to keep the source closed and kill the project? Hello Dreamweaver. We are lucky that it IS open-source and that Mark has graced us with his time. I'm confident with some basic support from New Atlanta the same thing will happen with BlueDragon...

I see all sorts of possibilities:
- inexpensive CFML hosting (on par with PHP)
- A 100% free CFML stack (someone already penned LAMBDa)
- A 100% free CFML VM appliance for development
- Open source bundles - roll up FarCry + LAMBDa for example

Posted By Jim Priest / Posted on 03/11/2008 at 10:15 AM

John Dowdell Thanks for the refactoring of the conversation, Brian... appreciated! :)


Posted By John Dowdell / Posted on 03/11/2008 at 10:55 AM

Justin Carter Nice summary Brian :)

My only concern about viewing this as a "test" for an open-source version of ColdFusion is that it's not the ColdFusion product. BD doesn't have the name or reputation that "Adobe ColdFusion" has, and it doesn't have 100% tag compatibility with the latest version of CF either. These couple of things don't really go in New Atlanta's favour, but I still do hope that this move has a positive effect in growing the CF community.

Posted By Justin Carter / Posted on 03/11/2008 at 3:07 PM

Steve Bryant For completeness, here are Vince Bonfanti's follow-up to the announcement:

Posted By Steve Bryant / Posted on 03/17/2008 at 6:19 AM

Judith Dinowitz And you might want to add the Fusion Authority writeup on the news by Charlie Griefer, "Here There Be Dragons!", at

Judith Dinowitz
Fusion Authority

Posted By Judith Dinowitz / Posted on 03/23/2008 at 5:44 PM

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My name is Brian Rinaldi and I am the Web Community Manager for Flash Platform at Adobe. I am a regular blogger, speaker and author. I also founded RIA Unleashed conference in Boston. The views expressed on this site are my own & not those of my employer.