Despite its roots, open source has moved well beyond the stage where it represented a cultural revolt against the software establishment. Today, many open source companies keep a sharp eye on the bottom line by selling services as well as enhanced versions of their free-for-the-downloading community editions.
Still, there's no getting around it. The economics of open source are different. "Any CIO who considers open source to solve a critical business need will look at its commercial viability," says Ron Bongo, CEO of Corra Technology, a systems integrator specializing in open source. That's not always easy since the providers of open source CRM are privately held.