Sugar coming down the open source incline

Sugar coming down the open source incline

Summary: Code is a two-way street. I give to you but expect the same conditions under which you give to me.

TOPICS: Open Source

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 decision emerged as Sugar announced it was entering the project management arena and opening an office in Ireland. (That's why Guinness calls it the St. Patrick's Day Season.)

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.

Topic: Open Source

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  • The big boys that want to dual license will use GPL3. The GPL3 is more

    restrictive for linking with proprietary code, thus you get a revenue stream from those that want to keep extensions proprietary. Then there is also the requirement that all changes (other than those paying your for the rights), must come back. Thus, you have the best of both words. The only disadvantage here, is that contributors MUST agree to let you also release in under your own proprietary license, but, this is also a way for third party contributors to get paid! They could sell rights to the copyrights to the vendor so he can charge for proprietary use.