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Allaire Confusion for Linux after MS deal

Allaire was doing it, but Allaire is friends with MS, and now it's all going quiet. Funny that...

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Further to our story about Microsoft's friend Jeremy Allaire (Allaire scores DNA deal), some interesting additional information has come to light, for which we thank reader Case Roole. It seems that Allaire liked the idea of porting to the non-Windows world, but its ColdFusion server, which was developed for NT and Solaris was not exactly up to scratch. In fact ColdFusion was so unreliable with Solaris that Case had to write a program to check the server every 15 minutes, and reboot it if necessary. On Allaire's discussion forum last autumn, somebody asked if there would be a port to Linux. This was met with a flat "never" and that would have been the end of it, except that Allaire himself dropped in to say that if there were sufficient demand, he'd consider it. Slashdot picked this up, and soon there were several hundred requests. Allaire said it would be done. Time passed, and in mid-March Allaire announced a server stub for Linux, which was more of a proxy server that could run on Linux than a proper port. It turns out that the Solaris port for ColdFusion uses Bristol's Wind/U for porting to Solaris, which in itself is interesting in view of the litigation between Bristol and Microsoft. Microsoft is trying to stop Bristol's Wind/U development. Allaire said it intended to write a native version of the server for Linux, but the omens are not good, especially since the link on Allaire's web site to an article "Announcing ColdFusion support for Linux" now shows an empty page. The ColdFusion Linux stub FAQ still says that a full port will be part of the next major release, the date of which has not been determined. Nor does this square with Allaire saying in its FAQ about ColdFusion and Linux that "Linux represents a key emerging platform and marketplace" and that "Allaire will focus its Linux implementation on taking advantage of key existing features and services in Linux" and that "Allaire intends to use and support Linux internally". So what's going on here? Well, Allaire made a declaration to support the Microsoft claim that IE was integrated with Windows, although he effectively negated this in a second declaration in which he described how an Allaire product used image display functionality from LeadTools, adding that he did not consider the imaging services to be part of the operating system. Of course the functionality relationship is technically identical to the way Microsoft said IE3 was "integrated" into Windows 95, which suggests that Allaire had been seduced by Microsoft. In return for vague promises of present and future collaboration, could Allaire have been persuaded by Microsoft into abandoning plans to port to Linux? If so, it hasn't got round to announcing it. This would not be the first time that Microsoft has influenced a developer not to port to a product that was seen to present even minimal competition. There was a time when IBM really thought OS/2 would take off if it could only persuade enough developers to port, but we all saw what happened there. Lambs should not lie down with lions. ®

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