SugarCRM Embraces GPLv3

The next version of Sugar Community Edition will be licensed under the GNU General Public License version 3 when it is made available later this year. The announcement was made by John Roberts, SugarCRM'sCEO, during a panel discussion at the annual O'Reilly Open Source Conference about who gets to decide what open source means.

"Sugar Community Edition 5.0 will fully support GPLv3 when the software is made available," he told attendees.

That product is expected to be released in the September timeframe and includes new platform features, new CRM functionality and community development tools.

The move makes SugarCRM one of the first vendors of open-source software to embrace the latest version of the GPL, which was just released last month.

The move was welcomed by Eben Moglen, the executive director of the Software Freedom Law Center, who was also extensively involved in the drafting of GPLv3.

"I'm pleased to see the SugarCRM open-source project adopt GPLv3. We believe that sharing knowledge is good and we encourage other important free and open-source software projects to take this step and join us in making better software," he said in a statement released at Oscon.

The drafting of GPLv3 was also not without challenges and controversies; in fact, Linus Torvalds, the father of Linux, has said he has yet to see "any actual reasons for licensing under the GPLv3."

SugarCRM has a history of making bold licensing moves. Last February the open-source vendor announced its plans to launch a distribution of its Sugar Suite 4.5 software under the Microsoft Community License.

That move made SugarCRM the first outside party to offer its software under Microsoft's quasi-open-source license, which is part of the Shared Source Initiative through which Microsoft shares some source code with customers, partners and governments worldwide.

The discussion about who gets to decide what open source means is not a new one. For some, like Danese Cooper, the secretary and treasurer of the OSI board, the term "open source" has been subject to abuse.

Despite efforts by the OSI (Open Source Initiative) to trademark the phrase, the USPTO (U.S. Patent and Trademark Office) has claimed the phrase was too generic to be trademarked, thereby weakening efforts to guard against its improper usage, she has said.