Where does the name come from?
Railo - or to be precise Rhylo - is the name of an alien dog in Star Trek Enterprise. It is a Chinese Crested Dog, so it leaves a lot of space for ad tattoos... Rhylo (if you say it in English, it is written Railo in German) appears in episode 25 of Star Trek Enterprise and if you want to read more about him, check out his homepage. So there are different ways to pronounce it. In fact we do not care how one pronounces it. As long as we all know what we are talking about it's just fine.
When did it all start?
The Railo project started back in 2002 as a student project and was continuously developed over the years until it's first launch in late 2005.
Why did we do it?
In the beginning it was just a student project which just had to compile CFML into something else. The first version we had, compiled from CFML to PHP. Yes PHP. In those days it was obvious that every server out there would have a PHP processor installed on it so the choice was logical. Reasons against it were the fact that PHP 5 in those days was in its early beta and therefore very unstable and inconsistent, and the performance penalty we would suffer was too high. So we switched to Java and it proved to be the right choice.
Due to the fact that Railo, albeit in its early stage, was so much faster than other engines we decided to take it to a full product.