[kwlug-disc] OpenSource Me!

Insurance Squared Inc. gcooke at insurancesquared.com
Fri Dec 19 15:39:58 EST 2008

Well in terms of the support, I'd be building it primarily for our 
office. So I'd be using it and developing it for use within our 
offices.  So bugfixes would get done anyway. 

In my niche, I don't expect to have a lot of folks take up the banner 
and work on the code.  It'll be me or nobody.  This won't be an 
opensource project so much as my making the code available free.  I 
suspect that happens in small niches like mine - it's not going to go in 
front of anyone who even knows what opensource is.  They'll only see 
free or not.

In terms of using something else, I did reasonably extensive checking 
around earlier this year.  The only thing decent and opensource was 
Sugar, which I'm now discarding.  All the other pro level packages are 
closed source.  Trust me, starting from scratch isn't what I want to do, 
as I noted, I've declined to take on this project in the past.  I'm only 
doing so now because I need it.  So since I'm building it anyway, I can 
keep it internal, opensource it, or charge for it. 

Paul Nijjar wrote:
> --- On Fri, 12/19/08, Insurance Squared Inc. <gcooke at insurancesquared.com> wrote:
>> Pro's to putting it up opensource.
>> - I don't have to support it (and support wouldn't
>> be any fun at all  given my market)
> False. False false false. 
> Unsupported apps are unloved apps. Either you will be supporting this
> (with bugfixes, releases, etc) or it is going to fail. When choosing
> potential applications to use I always look at whether the app is
> being developed/maintained. If it isn't then it is immediately
> suspicious. 
> You may get lucky and have the project adopted by other people, but
> don't count on this unless you are willing to put (non-billable)
> effort into it as well. 
>> What say you?  What would you do as a business person?  If
>> I did go GPL, 
>> how would I maximize and other potential benefits from
>> doing this?
> If I was in a competitive market I would definitely choose GPL over
> more permissive licences like BSD, because any licence that lets my
> competitors take my code and fold it into proprietary products is a
> fools game. 
> One big pro that you might get is that people will write plugins and
> scripts that will allow the app to be used in ways you never dreamed
> of (such as importing the datafiles from your overpriced competitors).
> And then there are the improved quality arguments, but they only apply
> if you have a reliable userbase, and you only get that if you are
> willing to see the project through (or convince somebody else that
> there is a market in this). 
> If I was designing a system I would do it so that it is easy for
> others to customize without having to understand the whole codebase.
> That will maximize the opportunity for others to contribute to your
> project without needing to devote their lives to it. 
> I would also consider cross-platform compatibility from the ground up.
> Maybe you really want this to be written in a way that somebody can
> install the application on a Windows server. Doing so might be icky
> but it could increase your userbase quite a lot. 
> Similarly, you may want to avoid tying yourself down to MySQL by
> writing with database abstraction in mind. 
> Mind you, I am not in a competitive market, so I really don't know
> what I am talking about. But these are my thoughts based on my open
> source experience and decision making.
> I am not certain that your decision to abandon all other CRMs because
> they are too complicated is the best way to go. There are a lot of
> social advantages you get by contributing to existing projects rather
> than starting from scratch. 
> - Paul
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Glenn Cooke
Insurance Squared Inc.

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