back to article Free software darling SugarCRM blasts OSI

Full of free software pride, SugarCRM CEO John Roberts has revitalized his attack against the Open Source Initiative (OSI) characterizing the organization as weak and confused. After being the open source community's whipping boy, SugarCRM now enjoys a position of power. Last month, the software maker agreed to place a fresh …


This topic is closed for new posts.
  1. Alan Donaly

    who are they to approve anything

    Good for sugarCRM and anyone else who does their own thinking it's the way it should be these pseudo organizations are just more crud they don't do anything I am greatful there are licenses in the world so that I can slap one on and forget it but OSI thinks I ought to be bound by their schedule fuck them and everyone that thinks like they do. Look there

    are those who have software and those who don't and those who don't need to shut the fuck up.

  2. James

    Two Things

    First, it makes me giggle uncomfortably when the OSI claims SugarCRM isn't an "open source" software because they didn't go through OSI's license mechanism. SugarCRM fits every definition of "open source" ... except for the one OSI uses. Talk about "closed".

    Second, what is this penguin ritual? Does it involve herring?

  3. Charles Swiger

    Too much sugar in El Reg's Koolaid...

    I think Ashlee added a bit too much sugar to the Koolaid she must have drank before writing this. The most prominent backer of the GPLv3 pretty obviously is the Free Software Foundation, not SugarCRM.

    Let's put it this way: I've never used SugarCRM, but I use gnutar everyday, which just converted to GPLv3 with v1.18, and I expect that GCC will move to v3 as well with their next release after the current 4.2.1 version, and much of the rest of the GNU toolchain and utilities will follow suit.

    Please note that I don't have anything against SugarCRM, nor do I hold a strong opinion about SugarCRM going with the GPLv3, rather than the GPLv2 or some other license, if they please-- certainly either version of the GPL is better for their users and for developers who might want to use some of their source code than a badgeware license would be.

    Moving on, what matters most is whether people who use software end up with something which suits their needs, or can be changed or modified if need be. The Open Source Definition and the OSI approval process are one means to promote better software which comes with the source code and a license which permits changes to be made, shared, and redistributed to others. The FSF and their four freedoms are another good approach, and one which has resulted in a lot of good software, but some people don't care for the way the FSF devalues non-GPLed open source software under permissive licenses, such as BSD or MIT-licensed projects, because such can be used to create closed/proprietary software.

    The main difference between the SugarCRM license and SocialText's CPAL is that the latter made some simple but vital changes as a result of the OSI review process. Specifically, to their clause 14(a) about attribution to state "...a prominent display of the Original Developer's Attribution Notice (as defined below) must occur on the graphic user interface (which may include display on a splash screen), if any. If the Executable and Source Code does not launch or run a graphic user interface, this obligation shall not apply."

    If SugarCRM was willing to make the same change, they would likely have been approved as well. Without that flexibility, a developer cannot reuse SugarCRM's code to write anything which runs without a GUI capable of displaying their badge. Now, the criticism of the OSI's disorganization with regard to license submission has some merit, but IMHO John Robert's approach to getting OSI approval for his license left a lot to be desired, too.

  4. Russell Nelson

    A fine example of British humour

    Hehe, funny, Ashlee, very funny. No, it's not clear that the GPLv3 automatically complies with the Open Source Definition. Early versions were questionable. They went through a long process; why do you think our process should be any shorter?

    As for SugarCRM, the problem is that their license wasn't approved for use with the Open Source trademark. Yes, in the short term, switching to the GPLv3 solves nothing. In the long term, SugarCRM will be one more company complying with the Open Source Definition in their use of Open Source.

    As for the "Who elected us?" issue, I wonder who elected RMS? Or Eben Moglen? Or John Roberts, for that matter. Democratic institutions are highly overrated. Winston Churchill once said "The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average reporter." Or something like that.

  5. Andraž Levstik

    OSI can go and stuff itself...

    FSF has the 4 freedoms which cover everything needed... I never considered Open Source to mean much... But then I'm an idealist... I like what Free Software stands for hence why I follow their definitions not OSI's. The major difference between FSF and OSI is...

    FSF promotes software freedom

    OSI promotes the development process

    I'll take FSF any day :)

  6. Rob

    Typo or something more ominous?

    Take a look at this line - "Just as SugarCRM shifted to GPLv3, the OSI approved a badgerware license from Web 2.0 felch Socialtext"


    We're all in trouble now!

  7. Dax Farrer

    Badgers ?

    We don't need no stinking badgers

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    FSF and OSI FTW!

    > Typo or something more ominous?

    As they say: "Lurk more!"

    And thanks El Reg for making me look up "felch" in You bastards.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    so how DO you get to be on the OSI board

    Lets be clear, i have nothing against either OSI, suagrCRM or FSF, i'm just a plain ole linux user (yep some of use just use it and are thankful).

    However, in reply to "@Russell Nelson" who appears to be on the OSI panel, aside from saying that it isn't a democratic process, and i am assuming there is a process, but he didn't say what it was. How about a bit more explanation Mr Nelson.

  10. Ashlee Vance (Written by Reg staff)

    To Russ

    Thanks for your note, Russ.

    As the story mentions, I have no problem with the unbelievably long time it takes the OSI to review a license. "These awkward machinations seem insane to us when you consider that GPLv2 covers close to 70 per cent of all the projects on SourgeForge and stands as the most prominent open source license. Surely, the OSI would think to slot its successor in for review as soon as it was possible, right?"

    This is about nothing more than actually managing to get the license up for review. Should be easy enough, no? (Cough)

    To your second point. Yes, there are plenty of undemocratic organizations. I guess you've pledged to make the OSI the last to fall. It's a brave but bold stand.

    Attacking journalists now, ey? Well, that's not tough. And it fits in line with . . . (see above).

    Tell me where to send the Che T-Shirt.


  11. Morely Dotes

    @ Russell Nelson

    If you are, in fact, the Russell Nelson involved with OSI, you have just convinced this writer that OSI is a bunch of self-appointed fatheads, and anything announced by OSI shall henceforth be met with derision and contempt.

    Good job.

  12. Kevin Turnquist

    @ Russell Nelson

    Is this a troll posing as the OSI member? I hope so.

    "Democratic institutions are highly overrated"

    So are elitist, self-important organizations.

  13. Charles Swiger


    Jeremy, yes, Russ is the chairman responsible for license approval. As to how you get elected/appointed to the OSI board, all of this stuff, including the bylaws, minutes, and so forth are all posted on the OSI website, for example see Article V here:

    As for our esteemed El Reg journalist, well, Ashlee, to the extent that you write about legitimate problems or issues, then whatever take you might have, from helpful suggestions for improvement to blunt criticism or even panning the whole notion of the OSI, is fair game.

    However, if you choose to write silly nonsense such as comments like "...tapped to lead during a bizarre hazing ritual performed at midnight in the San Diego Zoo's penguin display", well, at best you manage to weaken the legitimate points you have raised. At worst, you might find that people actually do criticize journalists for not being able to make their points without making stuff up to use for a strawman argument....

  14. Tam Lin

    Koolaid, Russell? Odd euphemism, that.

    I thought 'felch' is what Russ, Danese & crew did when they got together with ICANN at the Annual Autotelic Ball. I could be wrong, mind you, but imagine, ah, ... well, best probably not to.

  15. Alan Donaly


    First it was dog sex and now felching what next

    dog felching this site is getting pretty raunchy

    great lets keep it up.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Pompous, nous?

    Never let it be said that the freetards are a bunch of humourless self-obsessed jerks...

    but Charles Swiger's doing a good job of giving that impression. It's web journalism, for fuck's sake, not court reporting or Hansard - it's meant to be light, entertaining and readable (since when was El Reg a journal of record - or even of repute, come to that?) and if that involves hyperbole and amusing metaphors then so be it. Ashlee, keep it up - at least the rest of us are enjoying it.

This topic is closed for new posts.