Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Codeplex hosting links to non-open source projects

Imagine my excitement to see the new Sales Performance International (SPI) Accelerator finally released on Codeplex (http://crmaccelerators.codeplex.com/Release/ProjectReleases.aspx?ReleaseId=31556). Well a pdf pointing to it, at least.

I thought it a bit strange that I had to register with some mob called Mondo to get the software but there it is. The zip file you get contains an installer and some pdfs but that's about it. As it turns out the free version is a 3-user version with the full version coming at a cost.

So, here's the problem. The CRM Accelerators are created as 'springboards' for further development. To quote the accelerator home page (http://crmaccelerators.codeplex.com/):

'all samples are supplied with full source-code so they can be extended further to meet specific customer requirements'.

Moreover, the requirements for hosting a project on codeplex are (http://codeplex.codeplex.com/Wiki/View.aspx?title=CodePlex%20FAQ#Requirements):

  1. You must choose a license for your project (license resources: Open Source License page on Wikipedia)
  2. It must be an ongoing project (no "abandoned" projects)
  3. It must have source code (no non-software projects)

The codeplex page (http://crmaccelerators.codeplex.com/Release/ProjectReleases.aspx?ReleaseId=31556) has no source code, so I emailed Mondo asking for the source code and got the following response from one of their directors:

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Leon,

Thank you for your question.

Our vision is to begin to drive sales effectiveness through day-in-the-life activities of sales professionals and managers by combining sales process, the supporting methods and tools, overlaid in a CRM system with formal training and informal knowledge management.
We sell the accelerator (full version) through a community of dedicated partners, but decided to make a free version with limited functionality available to the Microsoft community to generate excitement and awareness around the Microsoft accelerators.
There are Sales Performance International, SPI, (the company that owns the Solution Selling ® methodology), intellectual property rights that we have to respect and we have an R&D investment that we have to protect. Thus, unfortunately, we can’t provide you with a copy of the source code.

Please let us know should you have any questions.

Thanks.

---

I replied asking if the placing of the add-on on Codeplex is some sort of oversight and got the following.

---

I see your point. However, the decision was made and driven together with Microsoft who is hosting the site. I think it is a great opportunity for companies who want an introduction to the Solution Selling ® process and the MSCRM accelerators in general that they can download a whitepaper that talks about the opportunities in this area. The software itself is not available for download on the codeplex site – although the whitepaper is. To download the software you have to register for your trial copy at the Mondo website (www.mondo.dk/dk/freemssa)

If you are interested we can talk about an arrangement for the Accelerator for you and your organization for for example extending it or otherwise modifying it.

---

So the point of view of Mondo and, by implication Microsoft is that the 'project' being hosted on Codeplex is the whitepaper and not the software and therefore it is fair use. This being said, even the whitepaper has restrictions on its reproduction as stated at the end of the document.

Addendum 23 August 2009:
After community feedback, Microsoft has decided to move the SPI accelerator from CodePlex to a new home:


See Microsoft's Reuben Krippner's comment below for the details. I think this is a great testament to the attitude of the modern Microsoft culture, considering and responding to the concerns of a passionate community.

5 comments:

charliem said...

Thanks for following this up.
It does indeed seem that Mondo have been able to use the Microsoft Accelerator process "to generate excitement and awareness" of their product.
I wonder if Microsoft will be extending the offer to other ISVs?
Charlie

Leon Tribe said...

Other ISVs? If this line of argument is upheld, any industry now has an opportunity to peddle their wares on CodePlex as long as they provide some information along the way.

The danger, as I see it, is the possibility of CodePlex being flooded with advertorial pdfs making it difficult to locate open source development projects from 'whitepapers'.

charliem said...

Thanks to your push and other profile raising actins this has now been pulled from CodePlex. Lets see if they can square the circle and get some of the content properly released.
Charlie

Leon Tribe said...

The aim is to link to the add-on from another Microsoft page which will be happening in the next few days I believe.

This is a win-win for all I think. The SPI add-on gets promoted and shows what can be done with CRM, its makers protect their IP and CodePlex remains a site for open source projects.

Kudos as well to Microsoft for listening to the community and reacting.

reubenkrippner said...

Leon, you noticed something that is inconsistent with how we’ve posted the Sales Performance International (SPI) CRM Accelerator on CodePlex. For that, I can only say…you’re right. In hindsight, there was an issue that you’ve helped uncover and we’ve taken steps to remedy.

Indeed, the SPI Accelerator does not contain code. The SPI accelerator is focused around clarifying options for customers who wish to leverage the Solution Selling® sales methodology within Microsoft Dynamics CRM. SPI are rightly protective of their Intellectual Property around their sales methodology. It was vital to respect their IP from a legal standpoint but still provide valuable guidance to partners and customers. Many customers (and partners) are not aware that they have options (in some cases at no cost) around Microsoft Dynamics CRM supporting their chosen methodology. Unfortunately, the objective for this accelerator is contrary to the focus of CodePlex as you have correctly pointed out. To address this issue, we’ve moved the SPI Accelerator from CodePlex to http://crm.dynamics.com/solutions/sales-performance-international-accelerator.aspx.

The accelerator program is all about unlocking additional value for customers who have made an investment in Microsoft Dynamics CRM and in this regard the SPI accelerator is very much in the spirit of the program.

Additionally, for the sake of communicating why the Sales Methodology Accelerators were on CodePlex in the first place, the reason is simple. It was the home of all the other CRM Accelerators and we simply wanted to keep all the CRM Accelerators together in the same “home.” In hindsight, this was probably not the best choice.
That said, please note that our other CRM Accelerators do indeed contain open source code, etc., as indicated on the CRM Accelerator description page. Our intention with the CRM Accelerator program has been (and continues to be) to provide more value to our customers at no additional cost.

Thanks for pointing out your concerns in how we posted the SPI Accelerator. I hope it’s clear that we meant no confusion, and that our steps to rectify this situation are good indicators of our commitment to representing Microsoft, and more specifically, the work we do everyday – the right way.

We will be posting similar accelerators to http://crm.dynamics.com for Miller Heiman and Target Account Selling in the coming weeks to provide similar value for customers who require support for these methodologies.

Thanks for your contribution to our community and keep providing feedback around the accelerator program so we can strive to further improve!

Kind regards,
Reuben Krippner
Senior Product Manager – Microsoft Dynamics CRM