Home grown software company takes a squiz at open source

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Australian software development company Squiz.net today announced the release of the newest version of its MySource Matrix open source CMS, version 3.12, under the GPL open source licence.

The new version includes more than 80 new features and a series of extensions that were previously only available as 'commercial modules' under a paid-for license.

Squiz, which started life as a Web-development company in 1998 and later progressed to specialise in enterprise-level Content Management Systems, was an early adopter of open source software (OSS).

Today Squiz has around 100 staff with offices in Sydney, Hobart, Melbourne, Canberra, Wellington and London.

MySource Matrix is an enterprise-class open source CMS that enables organisations to cost-effectively build and manage large and complex Web sites and Intranets. It is used by a number of federal government departments.

Squiz has always provided MySource Matrix at no cost under an open source licence, and derived its revenues from professional support and development services.

Squiz co-founder and director Steve Barker said the company's decision to adopt the GPL is significant for two reasons.

"Firstly, it underscores Squiz's commitment to the open source development model; and secondly, it illustrates that such a model can be followed as a successful commercial strategy in Australia and around the world," he said adding that the GPL is the "purest" of the various open source licensing regimes.

Squiz also announced that it will offer a second version of the MySource Matrix product under a new, paid-for licence called the Squiz Supported Version licence (SSV).

The code and functionality for the two products will be identical, except the new SSV version will also include a bundled package of Squiz support services and some additional add-on modules. Importantly, Squiz still promise to make these add-on modules available at no additional cost to its government, education and not-for-profit clients.

"The GPL gives developers all the freedom they need to take and extend the product, whilst Squiz's new SSV licence gives organisations the choice to acquire a warranted version of the product - which is something that the GPL excludes," Barker said.

"Looking ahead, instead of licensing fees, we will continue to sell support services which include warranty, help-desk support and uptime-guarantees to organisations that need this level of certainty, whilst other MySource Matrix users can choose to develop and support the product themselves if that is what they prefer."

"The dual-licensing model, where users are able to select between open source (GPL) or vendor supported (SSV) licences for the same product, is an already proven approach. MySQL and Sun's Star Office use the same technique and have succeeded in being business friendly."

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