"The reason why we're making the announcement now is that we're nearing the end of the longest engineering cycle we've had in our history," Roberts said, noting that the last major release of Sugar Community Edition, version 4.5, shipped over a year ago. "If we were going to change the license, now is the time to do it." He added that the response to the decision from SugarCRM users has been extremely positive. "It's nice to adopt a stronger, superior license and get very positive feedback," Roberts said. "It's a good day."
Roberts described SugarCRM's licensing issues and run-ins with the OSI as "a very long and complicated story," which is now over. "I prefer to look ahead than behind," he said. Roberts welcomed OSI's recent decision to include attribution in open source licenses. "In the end we landed in a really good spot for OSI, FSF and open source software."
He sees the FOSS movement as getting stronger and becoming more mainstream technology. "Open source has actually become a threat to proprietary established software companies who'll fight as hard as they can to defend their turf," Roberts said. "They'll use patents as offensive weapons, and it's good the FSF is pushing back against that." To his mind, open source remains "a work in progress," but it's one where the organizations and the processes are getting better, he said.
SugarCRM currently employs more than 120 staff and has more than 1,300 paying customers for its software, according to Roberts.