James Dixon’s Blog

James Dixon’s thoughts on commercial open source and open source business intelligence

Archive for April 1st, 2009

Alfresco (Open Source CMS) Adjusts Business Model

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It looks like Alfresco has changed back to the ‘open core’ model judging by John Newton’s blog.

Just over 2 years ago Alfresco used a modified Mozilla Public License for its open source code and provided enterprise extensions for its customers. Then they switched to a dual-license (commercial / GPL) model with no enterprise extensions. Now they are moving to a position closer to their initial one.

This does not mean that Alfresco does not know what they are doing. It is merely an indication that they are one of the pioneers in a new business realm and are refining a model that works for them. I think John does a good job of defining the principles used to distinguish between open source and enterprise features. There is also no mention in John’s blog about switching away from the GPL V2 license that they use, and there is also no mention of introducing the attribution clause they had before.

The attribution clause is interesting: Alfresco, SugarCRM, and Pentaho all started with attribution clauses in their licenses. They have all since dropped it. Ironically the  Common Public Attribution License (CPAL) did not exist at the time. All those companies are now operating a open core with enterprise addons and commercial licenses and so are MySQL, and Zenoss, Zimbra. All of these companies except Zimbra have a GPL core, Zimbra still has an MPL-based license with attribution clauses.

Maybe the best options for the single-vendor commercial open source business model are getting clearer. Hopefully I’ll find some time soon to update the Beekeeper Model.


Written by James

April 1, 2009 at 7:29 am