SugarCRM in the Next 10 Years

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As we come up on the ten year anniversary of SugarCRM, I want to reflect on some of the great achievements made by the users, customers, partners, employees and the community as a whole around SugarCRM.  We have created a movement that has radically changed the world of customer relationship management, propelling SugarCRM to being one of the top CRM solutions in the world continuously measured against the likes of Salesforce and Microsoft.  Over 1.4M people rely on Sugar today in 120 countries and operating in more than 26 languages.  Open Source CRM has made an indelible mark on the world of business applications.

We thank every Sugar user who has helped make these past 10 years a tremendous success for us all.

In recent years, we have also put much thought into our mission as a company and how open source fits into that mission.  Open source, software-as-a-service and subscription billing have all radically changed the software landscape these past 10 years.  These are three different, but interconnected, paths to delivering world-class business solutions for our customers; solutions that give our customers control over their IT destiny.  We see open source as a critical component of continuing to deliver that control to our customers, but we also believe our primary mission is to deliver world-class CRM solutions to companies of all sizes around the world.  Our mission is about CRM first.

This of course has raised questions about the strategy here at SugarCRM regarding open source CRM.  As many have noted, we have not released a version 7 of the open source licensed Sugar Community Edition while we have done so over the past three months for the commercial Professional, Enterprise and Ultimate editions.  This is a conscious decision that represents the evolution SugarCRM is undergoing.  

In the course of the past five years, we have surveyed tens of thousands of Sugar Community Edition users and found that we see two types of users of Sugar Community Edition: 1) developers that wish to build on an open source CRM platform, and 2) users, generally first time CRM users, that are looking for a free/inexpensive CRM solution.  We don’t believe that the current Sugar Community Edition serves both audiences effectively.  We envision an open source solution targeted exclusively for developers.  And, we also envision a simpler way for first-time CRM users to find and use CRM. 

Several options related to version 7 of Sugar are under evaluation to better serve open source developers and first-time CRM users.  As a result, SugarCRM will continue to support, maintain and deliver the open source Sugar Community Edition with version 6.5, but has no plans at this time to release a version 7.  

We welcome your input on how you would like to see us deliver these next solutions for the two audiences.  Over the course of the months ahead, we look forward to defining and introducing the next era of CRM leveraging your feedback.



Clint Oram, CTO & Co-Founder

SugarCRM Inc. and SugarCRM Open Source Project

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SugarClint, Official Rep

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Posted 1 year ago

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eggsurplus

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A world where everything just works.

That is the driving vision at SugarOutfitters. We have been busy building and cultivating a vibrant ecosystem for SugarCRM over the past couple of years that is empowering every user of CRM. From the helpdesk to the sales team to marketing. Even those that you don’t typically associate with using a CRM. Everyone in today’s business world is crucial to building long lasting relationships with their customers.

We get and understand the evolution that SugarCRM is undergoing right now. It’s both a very exciting and very challenging time for all of us in the SugarCRM community; SugarCRM the company included.  Providing people with world-class tools and world-class service is no easy job.

Our members span across all editions ranging from Enterprise to Community Edition, range from Fortune 5 to Fortune 500,000, and come from many different walks of life.

But...they all have one thing in common. They want top-notch solutions that just work.

Now what does that mean to the two biggest types of Community Edition users, as you defined them? Naturally, it is a two-sided answer as new-to-CRM users and developers can many times have drastically different objectives.

New-to-CRM users, whether they be promising startups or mom-and-pop shops, need a CRM solution to both enable them right this moment and at the same time grow as their business grows. How do we see this working? Definitely not by continuing to provide CE as-is today. It’s a dead end for two big reasons. 1) There is no direct path to grow beyond CE to the next level of needed features 2) Due to the antiquated nature, both UI-wise and functionally it is a big turn off to new CRM users who then turn to other CRM providers.

The solution? Get them using the best editions of SugarCRM right out of the gate. Give them the user experience that they both deserve and need. Besides the obvious reason of getting them more deeply embedded in SugarCRM, it allows for them to more easily grasp the full capabilities and benefits that CRM can bring to their organization.

How? By offering a Starter program much like Atlassian has done. It doesn’t need to be free and we don’t believe that is in anyone’s best interest to make it so. Especially for the small business or first-time CRM users. But there needs to be a low enough barrier to entry to make it successful. Here is a link to Atlassian’s wildly successful Starter Program: https://www.atlassian.com/software/starter/overview.

An approach like this is a huge growth engine that is currently untapped in SugarCRM’s current state.

And then we get to the developers. We deeply believe that developers are a crucial member of any ecosystem. They help to make the impossible possible for every size and type of company out there. From improving and automating processes to creating integrations to coming up with unthought of utilities. Developers help to bring companies tremendous value by either decreasing the cost to do business or increasing profits. Who doesn’t want that?

In our opinion, open-source SugarCRM is not going away. It’s far too important to SugarCRM’s overall strategy (especially for the enterprise). The question is now at what participation-level with SugarCRM do I need to be at to have access to the code. Is it an official partnership, a paying Pro+ customer, any developer in the world?

The less barriers put in place to access the source-code, the more potential the platform will have.

A platform is key to making any ecosystem grow exponentially. A platform consists of many parts. It includes a great framework, great developer resources, and a marketplace to enable everyone. With a marketplace partners and developers have immediate access to customers of the platform, and conversely, customers are provided with a deep selection of value-added components making the entire platform a more attractive option. The collaborative nature of how a marketplace functions, between the application platform, end users, and solution providers, are essential to the growth and value of a company like SugarCRM.
               
We are doing our part to fill that marketplace void. However, to make this ecosystem successful we need to be assured that developers will continue to have the resources and tools they need to create the next killer idea. Every user depends on it.

The answer is not an easy one. Which is why there hasn’t been an answer yet. We don’t believe it’s a fork. As soon as you fork, it’s not SugarCRM. It’s another company with another set of issues with users being the unfortunate casualties.

The question comes down to this; What’s the plan for enabling developers in the new Sugar 7 world?

-Jason Eggers


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Ramblin

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I am not going to start or take part in the debate about whether open-source = free.

You have ridden the backs of the developer community for their contributions, bug-fixes, feature suggestions (and developments) and much more.  Many developers have created an entire business model around your product offerings and now you give this news while trying to portray yourself as caring about their future.

Yes, the developer community has ridden the back of SugarCRM to create some truly great offerings for themselves and SugarCRM.  But that is what SugarCRM encouraged. And now ...

I am going to suggest you stop using the term open source to describe SugarCRM and its "evolution".

Open source is about community and collaboration.

How many of your thousands of developers did you involve in the creation of version 7?
How many developers and / or customers did you talk with before deciding to destroy the old forum?
How many of your developers or customers did you involve in the selection, design and launch of this, your new forum?
How many developers and customers did you consult before announcing you will no longer support a CE version 7?

This is NOT an open source, community-based methodology you are following. 
This is a company that is deciding, in a cavalier fashion, what is right for its partners/developers and its customers.
Other companies in the IT space have done that.  Some have even had good revenues and profits - some for many years.  But the end result is a community that loathes them and is just waiting for a viable alternative to come along so the customers and developers can turn their back and watch the comeuppance occur.

I have only been involved with SugarCRM for 5 years.  In that time I have recommended it to many and always said that the company had enough faith in their product to give away a "starter kit" and when the customer evolves, the product, in its commercial form, can evolve with them.

Not-for-profit companies, start-ups, and home businesses all have benefited, and when/if they grow, SugarCRM can grow with them.

Not now.

You have the right to determine your business model.

But please have some integrity and own your decision.  Don't continue to use the term "open source" when you violate the premise of the term.  And don't pretend to solicit our input when you have demonstrated that you will do what you think right, regardless of how many "partners" you hurt in the process.

The way in which you have made this transition will leave many, including me, with a very sour taste in my mouth.

If you want to have a small one-time fee for a CE-like version of 7, fine.  Not everyone wants a subscription service.  I recently asked how I could contribute some small amount of $ to SugarCRM each time I installed a CE version of SugarCRM CE and was told this was not the way the community worked.

Support your developer community with great documentation, great forums, and a high-quality product where we don't spend our time trouble-shooting bugs.

Or continue down the path you have outlined, and assume you can abandon the community and have the community stay with you.

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iscon group

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@ramblin: Excellent comment.

As a long term community member with some 3.000 contributions and about the same number of customers under my belt I might add a few thoughts of my own.

OS originally was a geeky thing - developers developed for their own benefit and got excited if they could help their peers. No commercial interest whatsoever. This whole idea was picked up by some smart people who simply added (payable) enterprise grade support and liability AND kept the community intact by keeping the product OS and FOC. Great idea and carried out with self consciousness and balls.

The business application space is entirely different because none of the managers or sales people out there (the users) is going to develop a single line of code. The symbiotic behavior can only be achieved by letting other people (the developers) participate in the results of the company's marketing efforts (= making money) and in turn getting paid through contributions, bug fixes and 1000s of man years worth of testing.

In Sugar's case this worked quite well for some time. I have to give them that. But at the same time they made horrendous mistakes: 


  • The sales channel was (is?) badly maintained and even worse compensated.

  • Enterprise grade support (or shall I say support in general?) never really existed and if it did it was a very sad story

  • The commercial versions just added a few gimmicks but nothing of substance. The real burning issues for larger entities were never touched. Email functionality, campaign management, deep (server to server) integration with Exchange, project management, ERP integration just to name a few

  • The add-on space was never captured and monetized. One should have looked at Apple or Google to learn how developer contributions can create billions in revenues

  • Single persons outran them when it came to certain "Pro" functionalities - teams, reports, workflow engine, quotes and invoicing are all better in CE and much much cheaper or even free of charge.


My advice? Leave everything as it was before this announcement but fix the errors above. Grow balls. Fire the top management.

You can't solve your problem with larger entities by scrapping the best product you have. Just make a mediocre commercial offering a competitive one. Deliver value for money! And let us hook the smaller entities with an excellent but less powerful CE version.


If you continue like now the community will die.

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tammyLewis

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I am new to SugarCRM.  Only a month.  I am actually still evaluating it for my company.  we know we need a CRM but not sure which one will truly work for us.  We also looked at cost and granted even the paid versions of SugarCRM are cheaper than the others, its still a lot for a small company like ourselves.

I am concerned with this twist in the business.  There are functionality you just don't have in the paid versions that we need so it will require myself to do those features.  I am also a big believer in 'not reinventing the wheel'. 

I have been reading a lot on the forums and seemed like you had a good loyal group of ppl.  I hope you are not shooting yourselves in the foot.



I am not sure who is making the decisions but non-developers sometimes all they see is the $$ or the instant lost of $$.  We have liked SugarCRM because of the structure and loyalty to the developers and community. 

I feel that if you stop the growth of the community, it will cost you more in the long run and eventually you will be like the others.  your development costs will increase.  you have all these people developing new options, testing, getting your CRM into areas of business you never thought of.  This in turn increases you visibility, allows you to provide a more durable product and increases your overall sales while keeping your development costs low.

But I am sure you have thought all that thru and are not concerned with any of it.



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agc

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"In the course of the past five years, we have surveyed tens of thousands
of Sugar Community Edition users and found that we see two types of
users of Sugar Community Edition: 1) developers that wish to build on an
open source CRM platform, and 2) users, generally first time CRM users,
that are looking for a free/inexpensive CRM solution"   What a load of BS!!   Would you kindly share your survey results? Many of my customers are experienced users frustrated with inflexible products at inflated prices...get a grip Clint
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Ravi

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We invested so much Time & Energy in SugarCRM -CE. Such a nice solution  Now , we have to find another CRM Product. Sad. Very Sad.
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madmat

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Great comments everyone, many valid points being made.

I share your views about the need of the CE/OS version of SugarCRM.

Not for company or my customers.
The current pricing of the commercial versions combined with the marginal functional upgrade they offer above CE (as stated by iscon) was a great push for our "SAP Cloud" range.
People will just move on.

But OS fading away has potential to be the back breaker for Sugar Inc.
You want to be Salesforce now?
Well then you are about 8 years too late.
Even with 40M in your pockets.
Instead of focusing your strengths you seem to try to improve on your weaknesses and battle rivals on their turf.
Every $5 motivational speaker can tell you what's wrong about that.

OS is what kept you popular beyond US borders.
Because people were able to translate, adapt and customize unrestricted on premise.

OS kept you popular despite the yesteryear UI, the buggy core functionality and non existent enterprise level support.

OS and on premise going away == US business only.
OS and on premise going away == Less customers streaming towards your product.

In the course of the past five years, we have surveyed tens of thousands of Sugar Community Edition users

That's interesting, I wasn't surveyed - anybody here was?

Sugar - don't get me wrong.
I just love you and would hate to see you go away.
:-)
See you in 10 years from now...
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Ryan Ronnander

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I've moved our internal CRM Application and our SalesForce data over to SugarCRM CE this last year. It's been great with some customizations and a few custom modules to meet our needs. I'm now at the point where I understand the system enough to make some significant contributions upstream in the future, benefiting SugarCRM as a community and as a business.

SugarCRM could become the best CRM and most popular CRM solution if they just fully embraced open source. Make your money off hosting, consulting, customer handholding. Let the community drive your product to the top. 

I've already felt that the SugarCRM CE 6.X releases were treated largely as a second class product. Themes anyone? The trend is worsening for 7.X. Based on what I've seen I don't see a positive outlook for the next 10 years.


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Matthew

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Clint, I have to say - this is a sad bit of news - and feel betrayed.

I suppose you and your people were quietly waiting for the moment to do this for years - thanks.

I was just recommending it to our Customer - who was very interested in trying a demo of it - at our expense.

I have even done development around it, which is very scary considering this sudden change in direction.

I agree that having used the words "Open Source", you have misrepresented yourselves, and expect you will be asked to court, and may have to compensate many in class action suits. You have also set yourself on the path to having nobody trust your word in the business or technology community again. I hope your immediate gains are enough to keep you going without such trust in future.

It might be hard if you have that entrepreneurial spirit - but so do other scammers and Ponzi schemers. Please don't start any more ventures - we will be keeping an eye out for you - you are now notorious.
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Mike Bruns

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The beauty of open-source, is that the end-user has choices.  Don't like the direction the project is going, take the code (that you and the community helped to develop) and fork it into a different direction.  This isn't the first time this has happened with a major open-source project, and won't be the last.  

Hopefully, SugarCRM will change their minds and follow a Redhat/Centos model.  If not, others like SuiteCRM will fill-in the gaps.
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Matthew

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Hi Mike. I just made a general comment that included a link to SuiteCRM - just trying to be helpful, but the moderator of this forum, Chris R., removed my posting with the comment, "..Solicitations and advertisements are not allowed.." - talk about censorship!

Anyway, all I said was that I actually tested SuiteCRM - and it seemed to work well and allows even silent upgrade script to work suing SugarCRM v6.5 up to Suite v7.

Be careful not to put links in your posts - even if you are in no way affiliated, the moderators are worried we are being too open - which is definitely against the theme of open source, right Chris R.?
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kyuchukovv

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SugarCRM is written with really bad code and it is messed up at least in the Community Edition. We are really disappointed from most of the things in this crm. We were wondering either to choose Vtiger or Sugar and i think we made the wrong choice. There is nothing intuitive in SugarCRM CE and they told us that have many modules. 90% of the free modules are not compabitable with 6.5 + versions or they are paid. I don't know what is OpenSource, but i don't thunk i should pay monthly fees on someone who developed some "product" for open source product. I personally regret for this choice it is really hard to work.
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SplendidCRM

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Open-source, as a generic term, does not mean free.  But, GPL does mean free.  And, going even further, AGPL means that you cannot even use it on a services platform without being required to provide the full set of code for free. 
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Ramblin

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Please,

If you want to have a public debate about whether or not Open Source = Free, please go one of the dozens of other sites that have reams of opinions on this and join in there. 

I think you do SugarCRM a huge favour by letting this thread become consumed on the Open Source = Free debate, instead of focusing on the betrayal of SugarCRM to its existing community.

Would you really care if SugarCRM changed its policy and had a (not-neutered, modern user interface, on-premise) CE edition in v7 for which you were asked to contribute $50 (one-time) for each install in which you used CE v7?  I would not and in fact had previously asked how I could do this since we were getting a pretty good base on which to build our customizations.

You could debate the Open Source = Free forever.  You could bring in legal opinions.  You could bring in people who were around at the time the concept of Open Source was introduced.  And all it would do is let SugarCRM sit back and watch their betrayal be buried as they saw the community be caught up in the timeless debate you are starting.

SugarCRM encouraged, for 10 years, a community of developers who contributed code, fixed bugs, added value to customers, and evangelized the platform, all at no cost to SugarCRM.

SugarCRM created a business opportunity for some of these developers and also created an opportunity for many developers (like me) who sometimes, at no charge, helped organizations get started with a CRM and showed the end user the upgrade path available to Pro, Enterprise, ... .

Instead, focus on the full concept of Open Source:
- community involvement in code evolution
- community involvement in code decisions (including user interface)
- community involvement in support tools (like forums, ...)
- community involvement in developer tools
- community involvement in documentation
- ...
and ask yourself how much of this was honoured in the v7 announcements.

And then ask yourself how "open" SugarCRM has been in the way they handled the announcement of a CE edition for v7.

v7 has a different architecture/framework, requiring significant re-learning for any developer wanting to move to the new platform.  Developers who saw this had to make a decision: Do I invest in learning this new architecture with SugarCRM or is this the time to start learning vTiger or any of the other emerging open-source CRM systems.  And had the developers known, when the v7 architecture was introduced, that there would only be commercial editions available in v7, they would then have other, commercial CRMS (Sales Force, Microsoft Dynamics, ...) also be considerations for their future efforts.

But son-of-a-gun, the announcement that v7 would not have a CE edition did NOT come until many months after the developers had started learning and committing to the v7 system.  Once in for a penny, ... ?

Do you really think this delayed announcement is due to uncertainty on the part of SugarCRM?  I do not.  I think it was a planned move, and one that was handled in a way to keep us in the dark until SugarCRM had us already learning and committed to v7.

And this selective release of information continues now.  SugarCRM has said they are "looking at" alternatives to a CE edition of v7.  Seriously?  A multimillion dollar organization has not thought about this until now and is still thinking about it?  No, they have thought about it and know that their "solution" would not sit well so are waiting to even float their solution since they know it will cement the resentment most of us already feel.

So if you want to consume this thread with a debate about Open Source = Free, I cannot stop you.

But that is doing SugrCRM a huge favour by distracting the discussion away from the betrayal.

If you want to have this thread provide feedback that will be more on-target and have the potential to show SugarCRM how and why their decisions are negatively affecting us - and will eventually negatively affect them - then you will likely be more productive.
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Mike Bruns

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Ramblin, great points.  I'm new to the SugarCRM world, but it sure looks like Sugar is pulling a Lucy/Charlie-Brown football.

My question is how are they doing this from a license perspective?  I.E. wasn't previous versions of Sugar under the GPL/AGPL?  If so, if Sugar now wants to use any of the community documentation, bug fixes, modules, incorporated in the previous versions, aren't they obligated to release their changes incorporated in 7.0, back to the community?

Can a developer require their code to be removed the source, or a plug-in developer require that their plug-in only run on SuiteCRM, and not SugarCRM? 

I apologize if this has been answered already.  And I agree this decision will bite them in the ...   Personally, I'm leaning to SuiteCRM or Salesforce due to Sugar's recent decision.
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SplendidCRM

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The GPL community allows a company to use multiple licenses in their distribution.  So, SugarCRM produced a GPL release for the public, but also produced a proprietary release for their paid customers.  This means that SugarCRM is not bound by GPL for any of their purposes, but all others must be bound by GPL.  They effective prevent any business from using the GPL release from being profitable because any modification must be free due to GPL terms.

From a business perspective, the SugarCRM approach to licensing was very clever.  As mentioned previously, years ago SugarCRM adopted AGPL so that no business could be profitable even if they just provide CRM application services as those modifications must also be provided to the world for free.

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paperless

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"In this world, you get what you pay for", but... 
"Don't throw the baby out with the bath water".
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SugarClint, Official Rep

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Thanks for the commentary on this topic.  It’s clear that there is a lot of passion in the Sugar Community which I share with you.  I would like to clarify several points that are misunderstood in this thread.

On the availability topic.  Sugar Community Edition (CE) is absolutely available for download today and will be indefinitely into the future.  As an open source product, it never goes away.  You will always find the SugarCRM project on SourceForge.net and will always be able to download the product from there.

On the support topic.  SugarCRM Inc. will continue to support and maintain Sugar Community Edition v6.5 through it’s full life cycle along with all other Sugar 6.5 editions.  We are expecting to support and issue maintenance releases to v6.5 through summer 2015 when v6.5 hits it end-of-support period.  As of this post, the sixteenth patch to v6.5 (v6.5.16) is the most current maintenance patch of Sugar Community Edition.  And we will continue to distribute Sugar Community Edition from SourceForge.net indefinitely, even after the support period ends.

On the open source license topic.  A few comments have been made about the interaction of open source code and commercially licensed code.  To clarify that topic, Sugar Community Edition has always been authored and distributed under an open source license, most specifically the AGPLv3 since 2010.  The commercial editions of Sugar (that’s Sugar Professional, Corporate, Enterprise and Ultimate) have always been authored and distributed under a commercial license.  This means that there is no direct license connection between the open source and commercially licensed products.

Again, thanks for the feedback and keeping the conversation largely constructive. While we understand everyone may not agree with the decisions we have made, we want to ensure we are in a position to effectively serve the majority of our end users for the foreseeable future.

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Talker

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You're right and you're wrong.

If you don't incorporate community changes back into the Commercial version, this dual licensing works as you have described.

However, the AGPL (and the GPL) do not convey the copyright of the code, only the license to use it, as long as you comply with the terms.

So, to summarize

1) Code written by SugarCRM - Dual licensed ok. Anything released under (A)GPL can't be taken away from the OS community, but SugarCRM is not obligated to add additional code in the future.
2) Code written by contributors and not included in Commercial Edition - This code is also available to the OS community forever and can't be taken away. However, this code doesn't attach the GPL to the Commercial Edition, since the code isn't in the Commercial Edition. 
3) Code written by a contributor included in the Commercial Edition - This code remains the copyrighted property of the contributor (unless separate contribution agreements assigned copyright). Since this code was licensed to SugarCRM under the terms of the (A)GPL it remains under the (A)GPL. Version 3 of those licenses is viral, intentionally so, and by incorporating (A)GPL code in ANY project, the entire project becomes subject to (A)GPL. This is the reason why closed source and commercial companies have avoided using GPL software (especially v3, v2 was less viral and more easy to include in closed source distributions under certain circumstances). 

The key element here is that in the absence of a contributor agreement stating otherwise or a code author's explicit placing of the code into the public domain, the default is that the author of the code is the copyright holder of the code. This gives the author significant legal rights. The (A)GPL confers a license only, it does not, by itself, confer a copyright.

If you're using code contributed under the (A)GPL in a closed source project you're most likely in violation of the (A)GPL and an author could take action to force you to remove their code, stop shipping, etc. 
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SplendidCRM

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I believe that the folks at SugarCRM have been very careful not to include an GPL or AGPL code in their core product.  This is certainly the way we at SplendidCRM have approached externally-generated code. 
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Yaletown

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I know when we contributed code, they made sure to have us assign copyright to them. 
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Talker

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Yes, if that is the case, then dual licensing works exactly as described. 

But over a 10 year development process, you have to be perfect at getting copyright and keeping out 3rd party code. That is challenging, though not impossible. 

Someone with a commercial licensed version of 6.5 could diff it against the CE version of 6.5 and see if there are significant changes. Iscon Group posted that they made over 3000 contributions. Did none of those make it into the core? Or were they all part of a contributor agreement?

I don't know. There's no mention of contributor agreements anywhere that I can find. The lack of these isn't proof there is GPL code in SugarCRM v7. Again, you'd have to have access to the v7 source code and have a history of commits with author attribution. None of that seems to be publicly available, so it is all irrelevant at this point.

** As an aside, this is why I much prefer to work with and on MIT/BSD licensed projects and not GPL. At least with MIT/BSD you're free to do whatever you like, including closing the source and keeping the code. 
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James Brown

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Humm.... I was looking at implementing SugarCRM for a customer, we built some modules on CE, came with a structure and then hit some PHP issues, as 5.3 is long gone.

So with no way to investigate and develop and then clearly no path later to upgrade to the ever widening CE to Pro releases.... you have probably cut your own hands off.

I can forsee the need to commercialize, normally by limiting the equivalent CE release, support etc, but to have no way into the product, for those trying to see what it will do for them, will plateau your userbase.

I googled, found a fork and voila, thats circa $300/pcm in 2016 you could say you were not guaranteed to get... but simply Sugar have guaranteed that loss now through this business model.
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Ramblin

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Clint,

You are intelligent.  I don't think there can be any doubt about that.  You have been part of building something extraordinary and you have undoubtedly done very well financially from that.

I do not agree with all the decisions you are making now, but that does not mean I think you are stupid.  It may just mean that the way we look at the world is different.

I would ask that you please have the same level of appreciation for us when you post to this thread.

You know that the comments you made do not address the real issue at hand.

I don't know if you are being coached by some media-savvy person to say the things that you just said, but I would ask that you stop listening to them and start thinking for yourself.  And start showing some respect for people who have put hundreds if not thousands of hours into helping SugarCRM build success.

SugarCRM deciding to discontinue the CE edition starting with v7, and the way in which that announcement has been (and is still being) handled, is very bad news for many developers, evangelists and many more stakeholders in this community.

Not acknowledging that and trying to spin the positive is disingenuous - at best.

You have the ability to make decisions for your company.

Please own your decisions, and the impact they have on others.
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SplendidCRM

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Ramblin, you seem to be under the assumption that Clint is in control.  The reality is more likely that the board of directors as SugarCRM and the VCs that run the board are in control.  SugarCRM was formed 10 years ago and they received a lot of VC money back then.  These VC folks want their money back and the way they will do it is to file for an IPO.  So, everything that is happening now is not because Clint wants it to happen, though he may approve, they are happening because the VCs want their money back, plus a nice profit.  So, while it sounds like I’m defending Clint, I’m really just making sure that the blame is placed on the board and the entire management team at SugarCRM. 

I’m not sure if you saw the recent article on TechCrunch regarding the profitability of open-source companies.  The conclusion was simply that open-source companies do not reach the same level of profitability that a non-open-source company reaches. 

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Ramblin

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Splendid,

I'm glad you chimed in.  There are undoubtedly many others who have a similar thought.

I am under no delusions that Clint runs the company all by himself nor that Clint gets to make all the decisions on future product direction all by himself.

However, Clint is the one who is posting to this thread.  That is a choice Clint made.

At some point, we all need to start owning the choices we make and the actions we take.  In my books, the old "They made me do it." went out of style a long time ago.

So yes, there are undoubtedly many forces at work here, but:
a) they are not likely reading this thread so I'm not talking with them
b) Clint is the one who chose to say what he said, in the way he said it

So I deal with the person taking the action.

If we all just owned what we did and stopped blaming someone else for the choices we make, we could solve a lot more issues a lot more quickly.
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wiku

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Clint, I have a lot of respect for the work you have done for/with the product.
But no matter how you and the company spin it: you are leaving the community out in the cold.
A community that I think was critical in making the product what it is today.
Your company is now going in a direction where you throw away your differentiator and compete with solutions where you are too little / too late.
I wish you good luck. Unfortunately: without me.

PS. Do you have details of the "surveyed tens of thousands of Sugar Community Edition users". I have not seen that survey and I would have been glad to share my thoughts.
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Vincent

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I thought most of the SugarCRM developer community rejoiced when licensing was changed to AGPLv3 in 2010?
http://developer.sugarcrm.com/2010/04/11/moving-to-the-agplv3-for-sugar-6/
You can see from the comments on there, even Greg Soper was happy :-)


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Mike Bruns

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I'd like to go back to the last part of Clint's original post: 

"We welcome your input on how you would like to see us deliver these next solutions for the two audiences.  Over the course of the months ahead, we look forward to defining and introducing the next era of CRM leveraging your feedback."

Here's my input as a potential purchaser:  I own a 10-person manufacturing/engineering company, trying to grow.  I think a CRM is a good way to improve our sales processes and our customer service.  6 of us (the front-office and engineering side) would use the CRM system.  A month ago, I wasn't involved in the CRM space and had never heard of SugarCRM. 

I use LAMP as much as I can in my business, but I'm not a purist, I use commercial software where I need to. I use Quickbooks Enterprise on Windows for accounting, tax, customer, vendor, and payroll functions.

Using Clint's definition, I'm a new user looking for an relatively inexpensive CRM system. I'm very comfortable with technology, so I'm fine hosting the solution internally (on Ubuntu under the free VMWare ESXi product). I can't pay $2520/year for a CRM solution. I'm not saying it's a bad value, just not to me.  I installed Sugarcrm CE in about 30-minutes. The fork in about 10.

Working through the math, I'm paying about $15/user/month for Quickbooks Enterprise. I'm paying about $10/user/month for Wrike, the cloud based Project Management system we use. I can't pay $2500/year for a CRM system. My profit level doesn't support it. And for me, I'd value it at free-$5/month if I host it myself, and $5-$10/user/month for a cloud-based software.  $35/month is too much for me. $70 is out of the question.

If money was no object, I'd go with SalesForce. It has most of the market, bigger community, no maintenance, and a partnership with Intuit. With Sugar's pricing virtually identical to Salesforce, there's no reason to go with Sugar.  
  
=====================================
So to me, my choices are:

Salesforce: Market leader, but outside my budget
Sugar Pro: Follower, but same price as Salesforce
Sugar CE:  End of Life, not an option
Method CRM: Not enough information
Suite CRM: Installed and seems to work OK, not sure of long-term future.  Similar/better features than Sugar Pro/Salesforce Pro.  

=====================================

From a license perspective, I don't have enough information to make a conclusion. I take Clint and his team at their word that they are abiding by the letter and spirit of the Open Source licenses (GPL/AGPL).  If the company did 99% of the development, Sugar can do whatever they want. I look at open-source as take and give. If you take what others have contributed, you're obliged to give your changes back to others.

If Sugar Corp took a significant amount of work from others, but is now using fine-print to avoid giving their changes back, to me that's distasteful and dishonest. If others didn't have much to give, going closed-source is fine.

=====================================

Bottom line for Clint & Sugar, please come up with a pricing model for someone like me. I absolutely understand 'price discrimination" and that you feel CE is cutting revenues. For me,  I don't need support or hosting, while it would be nice, it's better for me to do it myself.

I'd like to to give Sugar some money for a solution that fits my needs. My BATNA is SuiteCRM for free, hoping they'll add functionality going forward.
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Ramblin

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Although vendors prefer a monthly fee for service arrangement, many of us do not - especially for an on-premise system.

Give us a reasonable, on-time fee (say $50) for installing an on premise system that:
- is not neutered to the point where it has limited use
- has a modern-user-interface
- is a quality product (ie we are not being asked to continually fix bugs)

Why do I say this?

If I help someone install an "entry-level" system (which is what CE is supposed to be with its out-of-the-box feature restrictions), it is usually for a small business or an NFP.  I help them out, they get it working and I am no longer involved.

So let's say the person running that NFP puts the monthly fee on their credit card and in a year, the expiry date on their credit card gets renewed.  The monthly fee stops getting paid, SugarCRM disables the system and I get this call, a year later saying "Your system stopped working!".  I poke around for hours trying to figure out what is wrong with the system and ...

And don't tell me that an email went out to the company warning them this was about to happen.  Often times, the company had "cousin George" looking after things for a while and he is no longer around so any email to him goes unnoticed.

So please, I understand that in this new business model, SugarCRM (and others in the software space) would like customers to go on a recurring revenue subscription, but for many of us who went Open Source in the first place, that is a model to be avoided.
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agc

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I am implementing SuiteCRM for a large telcom en Chile. They are super impressed at what they get for no cost, and had no hesitation when they saw Sugars pricing model and relative lack of value for money.  If memory serves me correctly, Stanford University will soon be users of SuiteCRM too
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Yaletown

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As a long term supporter of SugarCRM, it worries me to see Sugar's position on open source, and also the current actions in the marketplace.

Just back from Cebit, I see partners and clients that are very concerned about the position re open source by SugarCRM. Germany is very sensitive to this in particular. I see competitive products such as the free startup edition from 1CRM which seem poised to take the place in the market previously held by SugarCRM open source, and I am concerned that these new SugarCRM policies maybe be detrimental to the future of SugarCRM, it's partners, and their clients - and I ask them to reconsider for the good of the entire ecosystem.
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grenness

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What happened to "Sugar Express"?
http://www.zdnet.com/blog/open-source/sugarcrm-launches-express-edition-that-comes-with-onsite-and-c...

And will there be any information/presentations/discussions regarding the status and future of CE and SugarCRM's continued/discontinued Open Source support on SugarCON? Or will it be hushed down - like what seems to be the current communication strategy (I haven't found too many responses/follow-ups on this topic from the Sugar management, have any of you?)
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madmat

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That was their "Atlassian"-Phase, I guess it's dead?
Now they're back to "Salesforce"-Mode, completely loosing their very own and promising way.

With big vendors like SAP offering real ERP for 50€/month there is not much room for messy PHP/MySQL startups in that market.
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Marco Pierobon

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This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled
Sugar's plans for the community edition.


What are the plans of Sugar for the community edition? Right now it is one version behind and it is not so advertised on the homepage. Is it going to disappear or will it receive an update to version 7 soon?
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danelige

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I represent a start-up biotech business and as such one potential corporate client for SugarCRM. As such I believe that our opinion on the decision to no longer support the CE should be representative of the start-up tech companies' thoughts and thus resounding to SugarCRM's management. 

We chose the CE because given the specificity of our business we needed to introduce a significant amount of custom coding and needed to host on our own servers for security reasons. We are also a small business and costs were a huge concern at this stage. Even so, at no time would we not have paid SugarCRM a fee for their support or products to the tune of say $100/mo or so. In other words, we did not expect it all to be free and, in fact, during the customisation process employed many paid developers from the Community and then posted back the solutions into forums to help others. 

Why? Because we bought into the concept of Open Source and the core idea of Community. People helped us to customise and innovate and we helped "back". We are in the business of helping people and the Community nature of SugarCRM just stood out so clearly from ALL other options - be it SalesForce or others. 

So lets summarise: a) we were small and poor but we would have paid and b) we nurtured the Community by paying developers and posting the work we purchased back into SugarCRM for free, and c) Community was a selling point of SugarCRM and its infinite "customisability" as well - a HUGE selling point too. 

Having invested more than a year designing a special product for our company based on SugarCRM we found out that you have a) decided not to support the Community any longer and b) that you use cheap corporate lingo and slick corporate communication tactics to weasel your way out of telling the truth and keeping things "flexible" for yourselves and that c) coincided with you getting some financing from investors (Why did you take that money if you KNEW that it comes with strings attached? you could have asked the Community to donate and you would have raised $10mio in a month!). 

So bottom line: you have severed your connection with us as a company and our growth will not benefit you any longer unless you stand fully behind an open-source product and invest significant effort into supporting it. The Community was your Investor for years and by migrating to new Investors with a new set of covenants is good old fashioned breach of trust. And that raises red flags for any company that would consider a long term future with you. 

I hope you make the right decisions now and start being attractive again to us, the tech start ups and other companies that are a) small and growing at 25%+ b) need customisation and c) have a "Code of Principles" based on community and trust.

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SugarClint, Official Rep

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hello @danelige.  Thanks for the feedback.  You certainly represent the type of company we are helping with CRM success every day.  Leveraging Sugar for it's extensibility is core to what we deliver.  You can rest assured that there is a path forward for you with Sugar as you build for the future.
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Ramblin

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Clint

PLEASE

Stop with the PR-lingo and start dealing with us as if we were not morons.

@danelige clearly said he is NOT the kind of company SugarCRM is helping with their current business model in v7.

Stop telling us to "rest assured" when what you have done for the last 10 months is mislead, obfuscate and betray.

Your responses, including this one, do anything BUT assure us of your good intentions towards us.

You may be well intended but you are not showing it.

You may be trying to manipulate us and think you are being incredibly crafty about your presentation.  You are not.

Some honesty and transparency would be appreciated. 

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Bruno Quintana

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In my opinion, a person that is looking for the community edition is usually a developer, a developer will never pay for the commercial version, because he is not a company administrator/CEO, at the same time, a company administrator/CEO will never download the community version, because s/he takes care about her/is business, s/he will need always professional support, well configured servers, good performance, etc.

Looking forward for a sugarCRM version 7 for the community edition :)
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eggsurplus

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You'd be surprised on both assumptions. Although I agree that if something is truly critical for your business then it is well worth investing in.
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Ramblin

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I am a CEO - great title for a 2-person startup company :-)

I have been CEO of a larger company and VP of very large companies but I prefer the challenge of a smaller company so took this on.

My tech background gives me a hobbyist's ability and I have used it at the startup.  So yes, I am not the average CEO but I am not that rare either.

I did download the CE version and did install it, with a custom module I created to run events.

Forget professional support.  Forget perfect knowledge and ideally configured servers.  Too expensive.  I took a clean CentOS install, added the required modules and some custom scripting  and added SugarCRM CE.

As for good performance?  It is a two person company ... what system could NOT handle that load?

And don't tell me I risk a mission critical application going down because I did not invest in it properly.

I only installed what I could understand:
- I configured it with a whitelist on my ipTables
- I wrote DynDNS update script (bash) to feed ipTables for remote workers
- I have it being backed up nightly to a remote ftp site

It has now been running without hiccup for 4 years.

I shared the custom scripts publicly and others have used them to do the same.  (That is my impression about what open source is all about.)

And many others who hired a local consultant or "cousin George" have likely done something similar.

I've also been asked to do this for a not-for-profit and I have one installed at home that I use for personal causes in which I get engaged.

That is what the CE edition was all about.  Letting people who currently could not afford the other solutions (but who hoped to grow into a company that could afford commercial versions - if their value-add warranted it) and who needed the flexibility of an open-source solution to customize it to their needs.

SugarCRM CE was that.  SugarCRM v7 is not.

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SplendidCRM

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The assumption about who downloads the Community edition is lacking in experience.  I have personally spoken to hundreds of new CRM users and I can tell you first-hand that these users cross the full spectrum, from developers to the barely computer literate.  Whatever the skillset of the caller, we do our best to be supportive and encouraging, even if their goal is a free CRM.  Yes, we get calls from developers, but I would say that we get more calls from non-developers, even CEO level, simply because the non-developer will try and learn before he/she does, whereas a developer will learn by doing. 

To be fair, the SplendidCRM is different in that all our users run Windows whereas only 40%+ of the SugarCRM users likely install on Windows.  Also, SplendidCRM has a better installer for Windows, so that allows the non-tech user, or the SMB CEO level, to install the product him/herself.  Also, our products can be easily install on all versions of Windows since Windows XP SP2.  The trick, which SugarCRM has yet to learn, is that you have to take ownership of the installer.  You have to have a dedicated staff with the specific goal of making the product easy to install.  The installer is the first-impression a user has and it simply must work every time.  For as many employees as SugarCRM has, I have always found it humorous that the did not dedicate more staff to the installation team.  A similar statement can be made regarding upgrades.  It simply must work every time.

Switching gears, one of the benefits to offering a free version is that it provides a way for a potential user to evaluate the product.  We often encourage a potential user to download and install the free Community edition to evaluate the product properly prior to any purchase.  The free product is effectively a sales tool.

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Vincent

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Currently, the most stable and full featured version is 6.7.5 Pro/Ent/Ult
Does that version come under AGPL rules?
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johnwbyrd

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I think you're spending far too much time looking at Salesforce and thinking "hey they're doing great with that closed source model, we need to be just like them".  You are wasting your best asset (some would say your ONLY asset) which are several hundred pairs of programmer eyeballs all looking for bugs in a very complicated piece of software.

So you've got a bunch of new investors in who have decided that they need to make SugarCRM profitable, by hook or by crook.  That's penny wise and pound very, very foolish.  You can't beat Salesforce at its own game, and it's silly of you to try.  You should try to do what you have done well and to expand upon it.

Okay, since you seem to lack imagination on this point, let me help you.  You sell license keys to unlock advanced features of the software, including multiple simultaneous users.  Everything (meaning EVERYTHING) is open source.  That includes your Outlook plugins and plugins to other systems.

If someone forks your features and makes a version with everything enabled and does an end-run around your business model, you need to have the confidence to know that the people you're aiming to make money from want to pay to get an "official" version, which is the only way their questions will be authoritatively answered.  You need to sell yourselves as a SERVICE company.  Go look at RedHat for ideas on how to do this.  Opening a phpBB forum and leaving it unmanned is NOT the way to do it.

You start accepting source code patches again instead of just roundfiling them.  You work with the open source community instead of throwing their work away.

If you don't think I'm right, feel free to burn through that $40M until you learn this lesson the hard way.  You CANNOT build a business from screwing over your open-source contributors.  The value in your company sure isn't in the crap-ass tangle of source code that constitutes SugarCRM.  

$40M will hire a bunch of programmers but it won't buy you a clue.  Your only possible value proposition lies in the community of people working with you OUTSIDE the company.

Please get sane soon.  Best of luck, kids.
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danelige

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Good point, well made. It takes love for the product to imagine it around this generation and next and particularly value all intangible assets. $40M seem shinier to those that sell out early. 
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Christopher Grenness

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...so now suddenly it's a 10 license minimum (up from 5) when subscribing to Pro/Ent.
Once again a management decision I'm not too sure I agree with...
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Kensel

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From what I have read this is my thought:
I was just talking about implementing sugarCRM with two of my coworkers, one being a programer (willing and able) to customize SugarCRM to do more of what we would like.  We were thinking about integrating it more to our systems to provide more usefulness in what we were hoping to implement.  Doing some research I found a plugin that integrated with one of the systems we were already using and was a little exited to start the process of setting it up and starting to work on it.  after looking more into the site seeing that there was a supported platform release for 7.2.x  article in the documentation but when I register to download the community edition i get 6.5.17 that was last updated 3 months ago I started wondering and asking why.  So I came accross this article and feel said that it may not be the one we want after all.

I can't justify implementing SugarCRM if it is going to end in less than a year.
I can't justify using a product that can't be developed and customized by our programmer.
I can't justify to my boss why we would pay for 10 licences  at $4,200 when there are only 6 people in the company.

I would be more willing to use SugarCRM if itwas at lease 7.2.0 that was the CE

Maybe a crowdfunding campaign would help with costs but you might as well just setup a donation button because it did have a very good community that would have helped in many ways.  The sooner the community is happy the more people you will retain.
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James Brown

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Suitecrm?
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Ross

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@SugarClint

I am a young CEO of small business (11 employees and growing) we do real estate investing and have grown to love SugarCRM CE.  Since implementation in 2011 we have hired 2 full time developers to further customize our CRM and website to do exactly what we need.  We are almost at a point in our business where we have the budget for the latest and greatest CRM tools available via the enterprise version, but are not quite there yet.  Without SugarCRM, CE we would have never grown our business at this rate, because our business is so relationship heavy.  You and the SugarCRM team have been a huge part in allowing me to pursue the american dream and I am so grateful for that.   

I think the below structure would allow for your investors to remain happy with their expectations of huge profits and stay true to the SugarCRM brand and the open source roots that gave it life.
1.  $1,000 per download/version update for 1 production and 1 sand box license for unlimited users.
2.  Two customer service packages to purchase for CE support. 
   -  business hours for unlimited ticket requests and 1 hour of phone time per month
   -  business hours for unlimited tickets and unlimited phone time
3.  Always release updates and maintain Sugar CE as open source, but have it be 3 years behind in features, versions, and update from the commercial SugarCRM.
   -  This will be enough time to keep CE relevant, but leave users longing for the awesome new features that are available in commercial SugarCRM and maintain the confidence that there is a future in businesses and developers continuing to invest in SugarCRM.  

This is exactly like the iphone business model.  Some people think it is a no brainier to go to Verizon and get the free iphone 4s with there two year contract, while others think it is a no brainier to go to Verizon and pay $200 for an iphone 6.

This model will allow the open source community to continue to thrive and back SugarCRM while giving the user the option to be behind the times for free or pay for the latest and greatest commercial SugarCRM.

The decisions made were for profit because that is what allows the world to go round, but sometimes the cost of boosting short term profits can be the death of business if they lose sight why the brand was created and how to preserve that.  Hope this helps.