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Sugar 4.5 Gets 'AJAXed' - InternetNews.
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Sugar 4.5 Gets 'AJAXed'

With the 4.5 release of its open source CRM package, SugarCRM is capitalizing on its growing popularity in the space, with downloads doubling from 400,000 to 800,000 in six months and a Microsoft partnership highlighting its growth.

Sugar 4.5 is the eighth release since the company launched in April 2004 and comes six months after the last major release.

"Prior to Sugar 4.5, Sugar has always been a very fast lightweight HTML-based application written in PHP," John Roberts, CEO of SugarCRM, told internetnews.com.

"We've taken it a step forward in 4.5 with the AJAX layer that makes it really customizable from an end-user perspective.

"We've completely AJAXed pretty much the entire user interface so you can drag and drop components to fit what makes sense for you as an individual," Roberts added.

The new release is also the first SugarCRM release since its partnership with Microsoft earlier this year.

Sugar 4.5 offers a Windows-optimized version that will run on Microsoft's SQL Server.

As a result of the partnership, Sugar 4.5 is also available under a Microsoft Shared Source License.

But Roberts stresses that SugarCRM is still be offered under the same Mozilla Public License (MPL) derivative that it always has been.

Windows users represent 35 percent to 40 percent of downloads for Sugar, though Roberts noted that not all those users may be installing it for production use.

"We're big Linux supporters, but at the same time what's really important is to listen to the requests of our community. SQL server was a high priority," Roberts said.

It's really about providing choice.

"It really doesn't hurt us to provide a Window-optimized distribution and provide it under a Microsoft Shared Source license," Roberts said.

"If people would prefer that why not give them that option? Open source is all about removing barriers not creating them."

SugarCRM is also now in the process of removing barriers for third-party developers to profit from its platform.

Sugarforge is the SugarCRM community site where developers contribute and share their enhancements and add-ons efforts for with SugarCRM.

There are currently some 220 projects listed on the site. SugarExchange.com, which is in beta, goes a step further and helps commercial developers by offering a forum where code can be sold.

"SugarExchange is focused on how we can create a revenue stream for developers and as a company hopefully that will benefit ourselves," Roberts explained.

The effort is different than Salesforce.com AppExchange, said Roberts. He claims that SugarCRM does not charge partner fees, offering a more open environment.

It is SugarCRM's openness and commercial open source model that helps to set it apart from its proprietary peers.

"Commercial open source -- the model seems to absolutely be working for us," Roberts said.

"Look at all the improvements in 4.5 and how many of them have come from the open source community and the forums. We wouldn't see that if we were a proprietary company building everything in a black-box environment."