SugarCRM: No Trendsetter with Licensing Move

News Analysis: SugarCRM adopts the Microsoft Community License, but don't look for a rush of open-source companies following SugarCRM's lead, insiders say.

Open-source vendor SugarCRM the week of Feb. 13 became the first outside party to offer its software under the quasi-open-source Microsoft Community License.

However, dont expect to see a rush of open-source companies looking to license their products the same way.

For example, Shaun Connolly, the vice president of product management for JBoss, based in Atlanta, which last September started working to broaden interoperability between its JEMS (JBoss Enterprise Middleware System) and Microsoft Windows Server, told eWEEK the company already has a clear licensing strategy and sees no need to change or modify that.

/zimages/4/28571.gifClick here to read more about JBoss licensing agreement with Microsoft.

"JBoss relationship with Microsoft is focused on better serving our mutual customers. Our relationship is not focused on a distribution/licensing relationship. The JBoss Enterprise Middleware Suite of products is licensed under OSI-approved licenses, primarily the LGPL [Lesser General Public License]," he said.

SugarCRM used the Open Source Business Conference in San Francisco the week of Feb. 13 to announce that it plans to launch a distribution of its Sugar Suite 4.5 software under the Microsoft Community License, which is part of the Shared Source Initiative through which Microsoft shares some code with customers, partners and governments worldwide.

/zimages/4/28571.gifRead more here about SugarCRMs plan to use a Microsoft license for its software.

Officials of Microsoft, based in Redmond, Wash., have said the Community License is based on the popular open-source Mozilla Public License and will be used for collaborative development projects.

John Roberts, the CEO of SugarCRM, based in Cupertino, Calif., told eWEEK that he looked for licenses that allowed the reuse and redistribution of code. The company currently supports multiple licenses, from the MPL (Mozilla Public License) to the GNU GPL (General Public License).

But the license documentation for the current 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.

Asked about this, Roberts told eWEEK that the license is the MPL but, as SugarCRM does not have the right to use the Mozilla trademark, it called it SugarCRM. He also maintained that there are no restrictions on redistributing the code and that all SugarCRM is doing is requiring that anyone wanting to redistribute the code remove its trademarks, as they do not have legal rights to those.

"There is absolutely nothing to stop anyone else from using this code. All we require is that the powered by SugarCRM attribution be left in place. We are simply unwilling to let someone take the code, strip out all the attributions and authorship, and claim it as their own," Roberts said.

Next Page: Custom licenses arent seen as open source.