Software has come full circle, says open source player

9 Jul 2008

Open source video

The journey of software from an original, open source/hardware movement to a closed-shop, licensed world and back to open source is now complete and for many businesses open source is a viable and more flexible alternative, the vice-president of a Silicon Valley open source firm told

Clint Oram (pictured), co-founder and senior vice-president of SugarCRM, a software company in the midst of using Dublin to spearhead its assault on the European business software market, said the availability of CRM software as a service is being greeted by traditional businesses such as Siemens as accessible and competitive.

Oram said the company’s customer relationship management (CRM) software has now some 2,500 paying business customers in 30 countries, while the open source software has been downloaded and installed two million times across 160 countries worldwide.

The company employs five people in John Rogerson’s Quay in Dublin, with plans to grow this as the company grows its European customer base. Other Silicon Valley-based open source software companies, such as business intelligence player JasperSoft, are also in the process of establishing operations in Dublin.

“The term commercial open source was only coined four years ago. We used it ourselves to make it understood to potential customers that we were in the process of building a business.

“Today ‘commercial open source’ is a fully accepted term and considered in the business world as the better way to build and deploy software.

“In the history of software, particularly 30 years ago, software was always sold with hardware. At the time there was no idea of an independent software industry. Then the standalone software market came into being and that meant licences which locked down access to software.

“This really closed the growth of software over the past few years. But with the advent of open source and the realisation of commercial open source, the industry has gone full circle,” Oram said.

According to Oram, Sugar CRM’s Sugar suite is now at version 5.1 and includes updates to reporting, improvements to its interface and the inclusion of a mobile interface.

“What’s really getting a lot of attention is our Data Centre Edition, which will allow resellers, hosting providers and cloud computing vendors around the world to use a white-label version of SugarCRM to roll out their own-branded CRM products on demand.”

He said a number of Fortune 2000 companies in the US and Europe are testing the beta version of the Data Centre Edition and that BT in the UK is already reselling Sugar on Demand to its customers.

“Right now we’re focusing on making our first efforts successful and rolling it out from there,” Oram told

By John Kennedy

Open source video

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years