Why open source?

sugarcrmdevelopers —  April 19, 2012 — 3 Comments

I’m often asked why we chose to build a commercial open source company. “Why open source?” is a frequent question as customers and partners seek to find out what makes SugarCRM tick. The answer is that we didn’t choose “open source”, rather we chose “open”.

In 2004, when we started, you may remember that there was a massive customer backlash in the software world to closed, proprietary, dishonest software company practices that locked customers into expensive solutions that didn’t really solve their problems. We wanted to build a different type of software company.

Open source projects were radically changing the face of software development at the time. Open source projects build products hand-in-hand with users around easy-to-evolve source code in a free, open, transparent, hyper-collaborative way. Today that’s called crowdsourcing. In the past, it was called open source. At SugarCRM, we wanted to create a company that embraced the same ideals and techniques of open source projects. We wanted to build an open company that builds open source software and collaborates with its customers and partners in an open way.

So the real question in there is not “Why open source?”, but rather “Why open?” And the answer to that question is at the core of SugarCRM. The purpose of SugarCRM as a company is to create wildly successful customers. The way you create customers is to solve their problems. Now, solving a customer’s problems can be a tricky business. You have to know your customer well. You have to build a relationship with your customer. In fact, what you really want is to build a partnership with your customer. A partnership is the most productive, trusting and valuable type of customer relationship achievable.

At SugarCRM, we believe the best way to build a partnership is to be transparent, accountable and collaborative. In one word, to be open. Here’s the simple formula behind why we chose “open” as the founding principle of SugarCRM.

Openness drives accountability. Accountability builds trust. Trust is the foundation of a relationship.

An open, accountable and trusting customer/vendor relationship creates a true partnership.

That’s why we chose open. To be the best possible partner to you, our customer.


3 responses to Why open source?


    I’m a huge fan of Open Source- and try to promote it to all my clients. However, while WordPress has been an awesome experience, Sugar has not been. It seems the Community Edition is in some ways handicapped. The latest issue is that 6.5 rc.01 doesn’t work with the Modern Aqua theme- and doesn’t have the slick new interface the pro version is pimping.
    The UI of Sugar default theme is one of the most convoluted things I’ve ever seen. We’re currently re-evaluating the use of Sugar since the developer of Modern Aqua has given up- and we don’t seem to be able to use the new interface.
    I realize we get what we pay for- but, with WordPress – the plugable architecture, the totally open system for themes and plugins – the whole thing just works.
    I guess we’ll be moving back to an older version of Sugar- like 6.3 unless someone can tell me what we’re doing wrong. And btw- the forums integration with logins is really odd- you have a “login” button appearing at the top of vBulletin- that does nothing… and no apparent login to the forums.


    Very impressive information. I wonder about making a good and enough program for Open Source. I love to use the Open Sources Software at where I can able to develop my skills.



    I have been part of the SugarCRM family now for 5 years and I am what you would call an “old-school” amateur programmer. I am 59 years old, and my true programming days are behind me but I still dabble in custom code for projects that interest me and I have done this to help some companies and charities get started with custom modules and code in SugarCRM.

    I tell my “clients” that I will help them get started with SugarCRM CE but that when they grow and want more, they will want to evolve to a commercial version of SugarCRM and get true IT support behind it.

    I evangelize SugarCRM everywhere I go. In previous lives, I have installed million dollar Siebel systems and $80,000 Microsoft Dynamics systems, and I prefer Sugar – with some customizations.

    So thank you.

    I also understand that since you came on board, there has been more attention paid to fixing bugs and inconsistencies – a hallmark of future success in my view. So thank you again.

    However …
    (you knew this was coming didn’t you 🙂 )

    I am seeing more and more that the developer tools are being added to commercial versions and left out of CE. SugarLogic is one example; there are others.

    The “start with CE and evolve to commercial” message is becoming more difficult to support, since I cannot give them the system basics in an upgradeable fashion. When they do upgrade and make more customizations, they will have the same thing done in two different ways for no reason other than the developer tools available in the commercial version were withheld from the CE version. No good IT person wants this inconsistency so it will prompt a systems review and potentially result in the new IT guy’s (historically) preferred solution replacing SugarCRM, instead of just being a natural upgrade path to Pro or Enterprise or Hosted.

    I understand why features are withheld from CE; that I can live with.

    But to restrict developer tools from any version is counter-productive for
    – us as developers
    – customers as users
    – SugarCRM as a vendor (long term)

    I hope you will change the trend and fully support developer tools in a consistent manner throughout the SugarCRM lineup.


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