How one vendor learned to stop worrying (about open source) and love Microsoft
Aras still happy with decision to open source its PLM software on Windows
Computerworld - Aras Corp. was a small, struggling software maker that stirred up a hornet's nest early last year, when it made a pair of seemingly contradictory decisions.
First, the Andover, Mass.-based company made its expensive — we're talking up to a million dollars for a single license — product life-cycle management (PLM) software available on a free and open-source basis.
Second, rather than trying to curry favor with the mainstream open-source community by making even a vague commitment to port its software to Linux, Aras said outright that it would continue developing only for Windows. And instead of distributing its wares through a mechanism such as the GNU General Public License, the company decided to use one of Microsoft's so-called shared-source licenses, which at the time had yet to be accepted by the Open Source Initiative (OSI) as legitimate open-source licenses.
The reaction, unsurprisingly, wasn't favorable. For example, Dave Rosenberg, an open-source executive who at the time was a columnist for Computerworld's sister publication InfoWorld, described Aras as a "shill" for Microsoft's efforts to burnish its open-source image. Aras denied that, although the company later disclosed that it had received an "executive sponsorship" from Microsoft's open-source group.
"We knew this had the potential to be inflammatory," said Marc Lind, vice president of marketing at Aras, in an interview last week.
Plenty of other open-source proponents were also running their software on Windows, though perhaps not in such a bold fashion as Aras did. That includes vendors such as SugarCRM Inc., Terracotta Inc. and MySQL AB, plus OpenOffice.org and Mozilla Corp. with its Firefox browser. Even Linux standard-bearer Red Hat Inc. gets about half of the sales for its JBoss application server from Windows users.
Thanks partly to Microsoft's financial support, Aras held on, and the controversy around it was short-lived — an indicator, perhaps, of how much open source has been transformed for many companies from a grass-roots social movement into simply a more agile way of bringing software to market.
Although Aras recorded less than $20 million in sales last year, the company's enterprise subscriptions — now its only revenue source — grew 180% last year. That number of new subscriptions was "over plan," CEO Peter Schroer said. "Our investors are very happy with that." Meanwhile, the company's expenses became a fraction of what they were in the past, thanks to Ara dumping all of its high-paid salespeople.
- 15 Non-Certified IT Skills Growing in Demand
- How 19 Tech Titans Target Healthcare
- Twitter Suffering From Growing Pains (and Facebook Comparisons)
- Agile Comes to Data Integration
- Slideshow: 7 security mistakes people make with their mobile device
- iOS vs. Android: Which is more secure?
- 11 sure signs you've been hacked
- The Benefits of IBM: The Savings of Open Source Download Now
- Is Your Big Data Solution Production-Ready? Read "Is Your Big Data Solution Production-Ready?" now, and discover best practices and actionable steps to implementing a production-ready big data solution.
- Pay-as-you-Grow Data Protection: IBM Tivoli's Full-featured Data Protection Suite for Small to Medium Businesses IBM Tivoli Storage Manager Suite for Unified Recovery gives small and medium businesses the opportunity to start out with only the individual solutions...
- Streamline Data Protection with IBM Tivoli Storage Manager Operations Center IBM Tivoli Storage Manager (TSM) has been an industry-standard data protection solution for two decades. But, where most competitors focus exclusively on Backup...
- Webinar: Building a Big Data solution that's production-ready Big data solutions are no longer just a nice-to-have.
- Meg Whitman presents Unlocking IT with Big Data During this Web Event you will hear Meg Whitman, President and CEO, HP discuss HAVEn - the #1 Big Data platform, as well... All Open Source White Papers | Webcasts