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SuiteCRM - the SugarCRM fork - Part 1

We have been on this journey with SugarCRM since 2005. We first joined the support forum in 2006. Globally, we're among the top 10 supporters on the forum - we have earned our stripes. We have been with SugarCRM as they grew. First, with a compact, not very functional and often very, very buggy code base. They made rapid, iterative releases of new versions to the community to test, to report and fix bugs and to help in the community forums. "Release early and release often". It felt like an open source project.

Through 2005 to 2011. The project grew in momentum. The code base increased and functionality improved to the point where it was comparable with the best. The quality bar was raised too - the adage "many eyes make bugs shallow" proving itself.

And yet we were always troubled by SugarCRM's "Commercial Open Source" slogan. We knew  that there was no such thing. It was either open source or it wasn't and in SugarCRM's case, for all the editions apart from Community Edition - it wasn't.

But we could forgive SugarCRM. It was like dating a promiscuous partner - the sex was great but there was always the probability of an unhappy ending. SugarCRM were releasing great code to the community, they were doing it regularly, we could see real momentum in the project and sincere engagement with the community.

Those days have gone and the unhappy ending is here. SugarCRM now has nearly zero engagement with the open source community and is developing all the code behind closed doors. Release 7.0 will be here soon and there will be no release of code to the community. There is no date for release of any 7.x to the community. There is no official commitment to make any release of 7.x to the community.

The reason given is "testing". They want to make sure the code is hardened before releasing it. This would be comical if it weren't so tragic. They have a huge community willing to test the code for them. But they choose to do it behind closed doors using methods that are closer to Microsoft's development practices than they are to Linux's. These methods are slower and less comprehensive than using the community. For the simple reason that there are fewer people engaged in it. I would be surprised if the test team was greater than 10 or 20 people. There are thousands in the community willing to assist - but it's not going to happen.

SugarCRM may release some code to the community in Q3, 2014. This is a long journey from the days when new code hit the repository every week. SugarCRM no longer has any use for community projects or open source, they are intent on competing at the top end for the enterprise dollar. To all intents and purposes SugarCRM as an open source project is dead. The investors want their money back.

SugarCRM was the biggest open source CRM project on the planet. They have a community of hundreds of thousands. The code has been downloaded millions of times. Community Edition was more than 95% of the deployment base. There are millions of production instances of SugarCRM out there.

SugarCRM may no longer be interested in open source but that is no reason to let the project die and every reason to fork the project. It needs new life and it needs community engagement and it needs commitment.

Welcome to SuiteCRM - the SugarCRM fork and open source alternative to SugarCRM Professional Edition.
Workflow - Adding a Custom Action Part 2
SuiteCRM - the SugarCRM Fork - Part 2


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