Open Source Software Considerations
Open Source Foundation
Sugar's business model blends commercial and open source licensing—with the Community Edition licensed under version 3 of the Affero General Public License (AGPL) and the Corporate, Professional, Enterprise and Unlimited Editions distributed under a commercial license. The mix in licenses have clearly contributed to a symbiotic relationship where by Sugar can achieve a successful business model and the open source community continues to be the beneficiary of continuous open source CRM contributions. Customers benefit with lower cost software, community innovation, expanding software utility and multiple avenues for competitive support.
The company is candid in reminding that open source means source code that is open, not necessarily software that is free. However, open doesn't just mean source code and Sugar also reminds that open is part of a strategy to give customers more freedom, make their data readily accessible and empower them to adapt their applications as they wish. With each Sugar Edition, the company makes full source code available to all its customers.
Open source delivers the flexibility to adapt to the unique business requirements of individual companies but comes with occasional bumps in the road. Periodic legal claims regarding open source software allegedly infringing commercial vendor intellectual property, and open source customers themselves being named in litigation, can instill a level of in trepidation when acquiring open source software. In reality, litigation threats or claims aimed at open source software and its customers are little more than over the top intimidation and media banter. Nonetheless, for organizations that have reservations, a simple review by a competent attorney can generally put those concerns to rest.
SugarCRM initially licensed Sugar Open Source under the SugarCRM Public License which was largely based on the Mozilla Public License and the Attribution Assurance License. While users were free to redistribute Sugar Open Source and the license permitted the inspection and modification of the source code and for the creation of derived works, some in the open source community expressed reservations for the term "commercial open source" to describe its products.
On July 25, 2007, SugarCRM announced the adoption of the GNU General Public License (version 3) for the Sugar Community Edition, the product formerly known as Sugar Open Source. This license took effect with the release of Sugar Community Edition 5.0.
On April 11, 2010, SugarCRM announced that starting with version 6.0, the Sugar Community Edition would be licensed under the GNU Affero General Public License version 3, although some components such as the charts module, customer portal, mobile support, some SOAP functions and most of the default theme templates were removed from the AGPLv3 licensed Sugar Community Edition 6.
Open source has transitioned from development circles to the broader business community and from infrastructure software components to business applications and social tools. SugarCRM has both contributed to and benefited from this evolution, and will continue to benefit from this synergistic relationship going forward.
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