Sorcerer's Tower

Railo goes Open Source with (Update)

As promised previously, here is a more detailed entry on the announcement to Open Source the Railo CFML engine.

For the Railo Keynote at Scotch on the Rocks on Thursday, Gert Franz and Luc Texier announced that Railo is joining and Railo 3.1 will become an Open Source CFML engine, under the LGPL v2. This license means that you can bundle other software along with Railo without being forced to Open Source your software (though you still can if you want to).

For those unaware, JBoss is the Enterprise Middleware division of Red Hat, the well-known Linux vendor.

The JBoss AS is an Open Source Enterprise-level Java EE Application Server, similar to Apache Tomcat, Caucho Resin, BEA Weblogic, and so on. JBoss AS supports features such as clustering, failover, load balancing, distributed caching, distributed deployment, Hibernate integration, Java Messaging Service, and much more.

Whilst Railo will not be tied to the JBoss Application Server, it will utilise its benefits, such as clustering and distributed caching.

There will be two versions of Railo, the Professional version (a combination of the current Community and Professional editions) and the Enterprise version.

There will be no restrictions to use of the Professional version, and you will be able to have unlimited web contexts.

The Enterprise edition will support some additional tags which licensing currently prevents from being Open Sourced, including cfdocument and cfvideo, and will have value added features such as FusionReactor and FusionDebug included with it.

Currently Railo is a project at only, the community side of JBoss, with an eventual aim (though no fixed plans) to migrate across to, the commercial side of JBoss.

The Railo website will be migrating across to, gaining the various benefits this entails: SVN repository; JIRA issue tracker; and so on. It is important to point out that Railo will be a JBoss Project, not a JBoss Product, and the Railo team will remain in control of the project. The address for this will be

The timeline for release of the sourcecode at is planned for the release of Railo 3.1, approximately mid- to late- October 2008.

This is clearly a big move both for Railo and the whole CFML community, and one that has already been in planning for over a year.

For Java-based CFML projects in the past (CFEclipse, Smith, openBD), people have always pointed out that few CFMLers know Java and thus contributions are low. With Railo becoming a project, there is a huge community of untapped resources able to aide with development of Railo.

From the Java perspective, the JBoss community has gained a fast and easy to use RAD tool for web development, allowing them to make use of all the benefits CFML has, whilst not losing the power and scalability of Java.

Another thing to note is that Railo can now act as a gateway between the Java and CFML worlds. Curious Java developers may decide to step through and end up go with Adobe ColdFusion or OpenBlueDragon, so despite being a move made by Railo, the whole community will benefit from the attention.

Anyone can see that this is clearly a big thing for the CFML community - it might be the third CFML engine to go Open Source, but it has certainly made the biggest impact.

The Smith Project caused a few ripples but was too incomplete. The OpenBlueDragon announcement made a splash, but for many people the GPL v3 license is too restrictive, as it prevents the distribution of non-GPL software with OpenBD, although the project seems to be doing well despite the 'infective' license choice.

With the increasing costs of Enterprise ColdFusion, Railo's announcement has made real waves in the CFML world, and it will be interesting to see how things work out. One thing is certain: the next year is going to be a very exciting time for CFML developers.

To Gert, Luc, and the rest of the Railo & JBoss teams: Congratulations and thank you! :)