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SugarCRM goes to GPLv3

Rick Moen [rick at linuxmafia.com]

Wed, 25 Jul 2007 21:22:04 -0700

LWN has a new story (currently subscriber-only) about SugarCRM announcing that its upcoming 5.0 release of SugarCRM Community Edition will be under GPLv3 (as opposed to the company's current badgeware licence, this having been the firm that invented the concept).

Press release: http://www.prnewswire.com/cgi-bin/stories.pl?ACCT=104&STORY=/www/story/07-25-2007/0004632607&EDATE=LWN item (brief mention only; no analysis): http://lwn.net/Articles/242968/

I've just posted this comment to LWN:

*Is this a blunder, or just too subtle for me?*

Posted Jul 26, 2007 4:18 UTC (Thu) by subscriber rickmoen

I may be missing something, here, so I'm phrasing this in the form of a question or two, and it's not rhetorical: Didn't FSF bow to pressure from sundry interest groups and remove the "ASP loophole" language[1] that had been present in some GPLv3 drafts? Therefore, what in Sam Hill is a Software as a Service (Saas) / ASP / Web 2.0 firm doing adopting a copyleft language whose copyleft language gets finessed by hosted deployment?

FYI, there are a number of genuinely open source licences, a couple of them OSI certified, that do apply copyleft obligations to the ASP industry. One of the best is Larry Rosen's OSL, and there is also Apple's ASPL, both of those being OSI-certified. Non-certified options include Affero GPL (newly reissued as a patch to GPLv3, by the way) and Honest Public License.

On the basis of recent history, it's possible that SugarCRM not only lacks any clever, non-obvious reason why it picked a non-ASP copyleft licence for ASP code, but also doesn't really have any idea what it's doing in this area, and picked GPLv3 just because it has had good press (good press that it generally deserved, IMVAO). Remember, this is the firm that created the first MPL-based ASP licence, and then acted shocked and indignant when it belatedly discovered that its licence permitted forking (when TigerCRM of Chennai forked the codebase), and overreacted by writing what became the prototype MPL + Exhibit B "badgeware" licence that impairs third-party usage through mandated logo advertising without a trademark licence.

It'd be more reassuring if I thought this firm had a master plan, but I now rather strongly suspect it's just a bunch of sales people in an office in Cupertino, staggering from one inadvertant move to the next.

Rick Moen rick@linuxmafia.com

[1] http://weblog.infoworld.com/openresource/archives/2007/03/gplv3_goes_weak.html

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Adrien Lamothe [a_lamothe at yahoo.com]

Wed, 25 Jul 2007 22:44:24 -0700 (PDT)

Did any of you see the story about Eben Moglen calling out Tim O'Reilly at OSCON? I spoke with Eben just after he did that, but I wasn't aware of what happened because I had just entered the room. Maybe that was why he was combative with me at first (or maybe because I interrupted his conversation with Ian Murdock ;) Check it out:


[[[ Snipped Adrien's quote of Rick's original message in toto. -- Kat ]]]

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