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Open Core: The worst of both worlds

by Sander Marechal

A lot has been written recently about so called “Open Core” software ever since Andrew Lampitt coined the term back in August of 2008. Many analysts have been critical about it, such as Richard Hillesley from The H Open in his recent article “Open core, closed heart?”. Many are also very positive about it such as Matt Aslett from The 451 Group. However, I think that most them are missing the elephant in the room: Open core is not sustainable in the long term because it represents the worst of both worlds. Open core tries to find a middle ground between proprietary software and free software, but it reaps the benefits of neither and inherits the problems of both.

Let me show you by example. SugarCRM is one of the more popular open core software products available. The company offers the Community Edition for free under a GPLv3 license but also offers a Professional and Enterprise edition under a proprietary license. SugarCRM has been around since 2004 but it is already showing many signs of not being sustainable.

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Final Judgment in SCO v. Novell: SCO Loses Again

  1. SCO's claims for Slander of Title (Count I) and Specific Performance (Count III) are dismissed [...]
  2. SCO's claims for Breach of Contract (Count II), Copyright Infringement (Count IV), and Unfair Competition (Count V) are dismissed [...]
  3. The remaining portions of SCO's claims [...] are voluntarily dismissed with prejudice, without the possibility of renewal following appeal.

Ah, what wonderful words to read. And about time too; It's been going on since January 2004. This should blast a giant hole in SCOs case against IBM since Novell is now authorised to indemnify IBM.

I suggest you hop over to Groklaw’s coverage of the final judgement. As usual it is an excellent read.

Judge Kimball Rules at Last!

Judge Kimball rules in SCO v. Novell! I haven't read it yet myself, just quickly skimmed it enough to see that SCO owes Novell some money ($2,547,817 plus interest probably -- SCO can oppose -- from the Sun agreement) and it had no right to enter into the Sun agreement, but it did have the right to enter into the Microsoft and other SCOsource agreements. Requests for attorneys fees are separate, and that part comes next. Then appeals.

[…] the big picture is this: Judge Kimball did not change anything in his August 10th order, which I was afraid might happen. So, SCO breached its fiduciary duty to Novell, converted funds, and so it has to pay. […] However, Judge Kimball accepted SCO's argument that UnixWare is the latest version of UNIX and that it was the foundation of all the other agreements, even though SYSV was also involved, or so SCO thought. He accepted SCO's argument that if SCO was wrong about owning the copyrights, and it was, then it's too bad for the licensees -- they just got less than they thought they were paying for, and that is a matter for them to work through with SCO. So if EV1, for example, wanted its money back, or part of it, it would have to sue SCO.

From: Groklaw.

SCO files motion to subpoena Groklaw's Pamela Jones

SCO in its wisdom has just guaranteed that the judges in SCO v. IBM and SCO v. Novell will have to read Groklaw. In a stunning move of stupidity they filed a motion in SCO v. IBM to subpoena Pamela Jones and they want IBM to help them get it. To quote Lamlaw:

These guys are a bunch of jerkheads. I have other words that better describe people who abuse the legal system and attempt to harm members of the public for no reason other than to engage in their illegal conduct unfettered by public opinion and comment. (Any attack on PJ is an attack on everyone at Groklaw or anyone who has ever expressed an opinion openly.)

SCO believes it is entitled to IBM's help because they think IBM actively helps Groklaw. Their evidence: A couple of blog comments, some (probably planted) editorials and the fact that IBM donated some hardware to Ibiblio, a public service internet archive that happens to host Groklaw for free.

From: Groklaw