SugarCRM is a leading open source CRM package for Linux. Customers ask for it by name.
But most system integrators work with Windows, not the Linux environment SugarCRM is optimized for. To help these folks make the sale SplendidCRM has rewritten SugarCRM using Windows technologies.
You get the basic SplendidCRM application under a Sugar license, which gives you all the icons and trade dress, but if you want to integrate it into a complete system, or customize it, you need to buy the Pro version, which has a proprietary license for the source code.
Paul Rony (right), who previously launched CubeShield (a cover for your work cube, which he's standing under here) and MerchantWare, a small consultancy
a merchant credit processing company, is the founder of SplendidCRM.
The new 1.3 version supports Microsoft, Oracle, IBM and mySQL databases. "We like Sugar, feature wise. We're trying to create a platform for system integrators, and our targets are those who prefer the Microsoft platform," he said.
"Our code is very clean, tight, and easy to understand. This comes from Microsoft. They have some of the best practices around. We end up with the same capabilities, table structures, and user interfaces as Sugar, but it's clean, and can be enhanced easily for various vertical markets."
Needless to say, Sugar doesn't like this. "There's no easy way to put that. They bill themselves as an open source company, but they do it for marketing. We rewrite them and take it down another path for another platform."
Is it fair? If Sugar wants to profit in an environment where it doesn't work, should not a company like Splendid be able to move in? And if an open source company wants to use a license that allows commercial exploitation of its code, isn't that its look-out?
No wonder so many profit-seeking software companies are switching to the GPL.