Why SugarCRM made peace

SugarCRM has been pushing a proprietary, Enterprise edition for two years now. It recently added IBM i5/OS compatibility to that edition. Sugar's re-sellers all push the proprietary version of the software. But when it comes to marketing, SugarCRM wants to maintain its open source bonafides, and it did that this summer, in spades.

SugarCRM logo
SugarCRM's summertime peace deal with OSI was motivated by marketing considerations.

This became clear to me reading CEO John Roberts' hype concerning his latest release, Sugar 5.0. It's all about the Internet, about push vs. pull, about the glories of the open source business model.

Not that there's anything wrong with that. But SugarCRM has been pushing a proprietary, Enterprise edition for two years now. It recently added IBM i5/OS compatibility to that edition. Sugar's re-sellers all push the proprietary version of the software.

But when it comes to marketing, SugarCRM wants to maintain its open source bonafides, and it did that this summer, in spades. Its newest software is licensed under GPLv3, not the Common Attribution License the OSI later approved after a highly-publicized dispute over whether Sugar's demands for placement on user screens were legitimate.

I think the lessons are clear. Open source is the way to market. Getting in good with the OSI is a good thing. Even if your motivation is purely mercenary.

UPDATE: Getting right with open source can even lead to a public offering.