"We are at the end of the beginning in commercial open source these last four years, and open source is clearly in the mainstream now," Roberts said.
SugarCRM founders in 2003 started questioning the proprietary lock-in of software, he said. They left their jobs in 2004 and began SugarCRM, Roberts recalled.
"We founded [the] Sugar open source project before we even incorporated the company," Roberts said. The founders, who also include Clint Oram and Jacob Taylor, decided to post code in an effort to write software in a public venue, said Roberts.
Roberts cited five forces shaping technology: ideas, willpower, and the Internet; belief in the intelligence of crowds, consumerization of IT, cloud computing, and the global language of sharing. "It's exciting, and for me, it's clear that this journey we started on four years ago is real and there really isn't any stopping it," said Roberts. "The best thing I like about it is its focus on innovation," he added.
A user of SugarCRM, Eddie White, director of Mania Technologie UK, which makes manufacturing equipment, uses the product as a database for marketing, customer care, and field service support.
"The investment was very cost-effective in terms of overall license costs," White said.
"We've been able to create a global database of customers and contacts," he said.
Mania is looking to integrate its Sugar installation with its other systems, such as stock control and sales order management systems, White said.
The biggest hurdle to deploying Sugar has been getting users who had been used to doing things another way to embrace it, according to White. "It's been easy to use; it's just a question of getting people to change their work practice," he said.
While Mania did examine the source code of SugarCRM when doing administrative-level customization, it did not make any changes to the code. The company may do this when it expands use of the product for customer care.
SugarCRM announced on Wednesday stack installers that provide a simplified, wizard-based installation for Sugar Community Edition for Solaris and OpenSolaris.
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