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CentricCRM to go open source next week

CentricCRM will be moving key functionality to an OSI-approved license next week, bending to pressure (both positive and negative) from the open source community. This move is good for CentricCRM and good for open source. Here's why.

There has been a lot of fuss kicked up lately over the definition of open source (kicked off by Michael Tiemann), and the OSI's role in defining that term. Word on the street is that CentricCRM will be launching a significant piece of code (Team Elements) under Larry Rosen's Open Software License early next week. This is fantastic news for CentricCRM, as well as for open source (OSI-approved open source).

Why for open source? Because Team Elements is cool and very useful technology. It's a 100% open source, Java-based "Enterprise 2.0" product. It ties together discussions, wikis, blogs, RSS, issue tracking and trouble-ticketing, project management, document management, and federated search into a single, unified application running on a relational database.

It's also useful for open source because it uses an interesting new, OSI-approved license that appears to be a great fit for the SaaS world. I hadn't even heard of the OSL as of a week ago, but I've spent some time with it and really like what I see. It has the attribution element to resolve some concerns that Zimbra, SugarCRM, SocialText, and others have had. And it covers distribution of software as a service over the web.

And I think it's a coup for open source because it's another example of the power and allure of open source, as measured against the Open Source Definition. My own company resisted this move at first, but have been exceptionally grateful for our eventual decision to move to the GPL. Free and open source is about free markets, and last I checked, there's lots of money in free markets.

One note, btw: I know that CentricCRM is not going fully open source across its product line. Not next week, anyway. But we should continue to encourage the company to make this move. I'm happy with good intentions and sincere steps in the right direction. So long as those steps continue.

UPDATE: I've talked with the management team and had it confirmed that other projects within the company are being considered for LGPL and GPL releases. CentricCRM seems to be on the right track.