SugarCRM, which found controversy with its attribution licenses last year, is now talking about moving down the open source incline and supporting GPL Version 3.
The incline is a term I started using last year referring to open source licensing strategy. The idea is that newcomers start with BSD licenses which protect their right to profit but are eventually pushed toward GPL licenses in order to secure the benefits of community participation in their projects.
SugarCRM CEO John Roberts was quoted yesterday as calling such a move "hedging bets," but the incident seems to prove that while customers will take software under licenses that protect vendor rights, they are reluctant to give away code unless rights and obligations are equal on both sides.
That is the point at issue. What drives companies down the incline is a desire for community participation, and for code contributions. While the arguments over licenses may sound legal, moral, or even political, in the end these are practical business decisions.
The lesson: code is a two-way street. I give to you but expect the same conditions under which you give to me.