Little red hens of open source CRM

The value of business software comes out only when you work with it, when you tweak it, when you support it. All open source licenses, especially the GPL, protect a program creator's rights to extract this added value.

With Love, the Little Red Hen
When we last left our story, Michael Tiemann of the OSI had decided to police the term "open source" and write some CRM companies out. (Picture from Amazon.com.)

There comes now another e-mail, this time from the folks at Centric CRM. They have gotten wind of the controversy and want to respond.

We have never misled or mis-communicated the license that our software is based on. Our current license is not OSI-approved, nor have we ever claimed it is. But it is open source.

The underlying question, whether Centric, Sugar, or SplendidCRM are indeed open source, despite their defiance of the OSI, is not for me to answer.

Instead let's address the question of motive.

All the companies mentioned above, and others as well, came to open source with complete projects, programs that were commercial, and which they depended upon for their livelihood.

Now open source shows up, taking the market, which they reluctantly enter. But they fear having their stuff stolen. They're supposed to leave their code out there and let the dog, the cat, and the duck eat their bread after they did all the work...

I'm telling, again, the story of the Little Red Hen.  These vendors want to tweak the meaning of open source, create their own place on the open source incline, maybe a little above and to the left.

They can argue with Tiemann, or they can listen to this.

The people who "steal" your software get almost no value from it. The value of business software comes out only when you work with it, when you tweak it, when you support it. All open source licenses, especially the GPL, protect a program creator's rights to extract this added value.

Think of this as the dog, the cat and the duck trying to digest the bread. Open source says it's fine to sell them some water.