SugarCRM Software to Use a Microsoft License

By Peter Galli  |  Posted 2006-02-14 Print this article Print

The move makes SugarCRM the first outside party to offer its software under Microsoft's quasi-open-source license.

Shared Source isnt just for Microsoft software anymore. Open-source vendor SugarCRM will on Feb. 14 announce its plans to launch a distribution of its Sugar Suite 4.5 software under the Microsoft Community License. That license is part of the Shared Source Initiative through which Microsoft shares some source code with customers, partners and governments worldwide. The move, to be announced at the Open Source Business Conference in San Francisco, will make SugarCRM the first outside party to offer its software under Microsofts quasi-open-source license.
It also lends some credibility to the claim by Microsoft officials that its Community License qualifies as a valid open-source license, even though Redmond has said it has no immediate plans to submit the license to the Open Source Initiative for approval.
In October, Microsoft announced that it was slashing the number of licenses for its Shared Source Initiative from the more than 10 that existed to just three template, or core, licenses, while radically shortening and simplifying the text of those licenses. Click here to read more about Microsofts plans to slashing the number of licenses it will use for its Shared Source Initiative. At that time, Microsoft officials said that the Community License was based on the popular open-source Mozilla Public License and would be used for collaborative development projects. John Roberts, the CEO of SugarCRM, told eWEEK that he looks for licenses that allowed the reuse and redistribution of code. The company currently supported multiple licenses, from the MPL (Mozilla Public License) to the GNU General Public License "We were really impressed by the Microsoft Shared Source Community License and like it a lot. We think it is a license that represents the ideals of our community and is one that they want to use, especially those customers who already run on the Windows platform. We are also really excited about introducing a new Shared Source edition of the core Sugar open-source product," he said. But the license documentation for the open-source Sugar Suite 4.0 release states that it is subject to the SugarCRM Public License Version 1.1.3, which is the Mozilla Public License Version 1.1, modified to be specific to SugarCRM. The SugarCRM Public License does not appear to be one recognized by the Open Source Initiative. Bill Hilf, Microsofts director of platform technology strategy, said that the Microsoft Community License allows people to develop community code as well as use their own and third-party code in unique ways and lets it stay where they want it to. "It is probably one of our most permissive licenses," he said. Microsoft and SugarCRM will also announce on Feb. 14 a technical collaboration project designed to enhance interoperability between the Windows Server platform and the SugarCRM line of products. While the two companies will continue to compete in certain areas, given that Microsoft has its own Dynamics CRM product, they will work together on technical collaboration and architectural guidance, he said. This will focus on improved SugarCRM support for Internet Information Services (IIS), optimization for Active Directory and Microsoft SQL Server, including SQL Express, SQL Server Workgroup and SQL Server Enterprise Edition, Hilf said. While SugarCRM did support IIS today, it did so on its own, Roberts said, adding that it currently did not support SQL Server and had been asked by customers many times to do so. "We are now doing just that," he said. SugarCRM also plans to use the WiX (Windows Installer XML) toolset to build its forthcoming product installation as a Microsoft Software Installer package for Windows Server 2003, Roberts said. Click here to read more about Microsoft releasing some of its code under an open-source license. This is the second such deal Microsoft has made in the past six months. Last September, Microsoft said that it and JBoss, the proponent of the professional open-source model, would broaden interoperability between the JEMS (JBoss Enterprise Middleware System) and Microsoft Windows Server. Hilf said he expected Microsoft and SugarCRM to do some interesting technical work over the next 12 months, but stressed that Microsoft remained totally committed to its Dynamics CRM product. Next Page: Eager for interoperability.

Peter Galli has been a financial/technology reporter for 12 years at leading publications in South Africa, the UK and the US. He has been Investment Editor of South Africa's Business Day Newspaper, the sister publication of the Financial Times of London.

He was also Group Financial Communications Manager for First National Bank, the second largest banking group in South Africa before moving on to become Executive News Editor of Business Report, the largest daily financial newspaper in South Africa, owned by the global Independent Newspapers group.

He was responsible for a national reporting team of 20 based in four bureaus. He also edited and contributed to its weekly technology page, and launched a financial and technology radio service supplying daily news bulletins to the national broadcaster, the South African Broadcasting Corporation, which were then distributed to some 50 radio stations across the country.

He was then transferred to San Francisco as Business Report's U.S. Correspondent to cover Silicon Valley, trade and finance between the US, Europe and emerging markets like South Africa. After serving that role for more than two years, he joined eWeek as a Senior Editor, covering software platforms in August 2000.

He has comprehensively covered Microsoft and its Windows and .Net platforms, as well as the many legal challenges it has faced. He has also focused on Sun Microsystems and its Solaris operating environment, Java and Unix offerings. He covers developments in the open source community, particularly around the Linux kernel and the effects it will have on the enterprise.

He has written extensively about new products for the Linux and Unix platforms, the development of open standards and critically looked at the potential Linux has to offer an alternative operating system and platform to Windows, .Net and Unix-based solutions like Solaris.

His interviews with senior industry executives include Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, Linus Torvalds, the original developer of the Linux operating system, Sun CEO Scot McNealy, and Bill Zeitler, a senior vice president at IBM.

For numerous examples of his writing you can search under his name at the eWEEK Website at


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