Way to go, Macromedia!

Macromedia announced today that they will offer free licenses of their Flex presentation server to qualified, non-commercial, non-institutional users. Flex uses an XML "language" to create Flash-based Rich Internet Applications. Combined with a backend application server (ColdFusion, .NET, J2EE, etc), it provides an easy way to quickly create nice looking, rich interfaces.

The idea is to provide free licenses to individual developers, students, educators, etc for personal use and small public apps. This is a great way to spread not only Flex as a product, but Rich Internet Apps as well, since anyone can easily use the product to create professional-looking interfaces to web applications. The entry price of $12,000 really prevented a lot of smaller developers from being able to look at the technology.

I hope this is the beginning of a larger program for other products at Macromedia. It would be awesome if ColdFusion had a similar licensing scheme available.

In related news, Lazlo Systems announced today that their namesake product will now be licensed under the CPL and become open-source. The Lazlo presentation server functions similarly to Macromedia Flex, although uses a different XML syntax to control presentation.