What does Open Source mean for SonarSource ?

by freddy mallet|

    SonarSource, founded more than a year ago, is a Swiss company that leads the development of the Sonar platform. Obviously Sonar and SonarSource are really tight together : Sonar would not be where it is today without SonarSource, but the other way around is also true. Like any company making business around an Open Source product, we often get the question on what Open Source means for us and what is our real commitment towards it.

    The short answer to this is a single word : LGPL. The is the license we chose from inception of the project instead of an ordinary GPL license. Why ? Because we believe that to make Sonar an extensible platform rather than just a tool, we need a license that fits both Open Source community and Commercial companies needs. To make sure people are going to invest in a platform, it should belong to its active users. With this choice and to keep its leadership on the platform, SonarSource has therefore committed to continuously invest in Sonar.

    The longer answer refers to the idea of an Open Core by Jason Van Zyl. Jason describes what are his four principles and we fully adhere to them :

    • The Open Source product you provide to users must be great: the Open Core should stand on its own as something truly useful without any additional commercial add-ons. The software must perform well in a production environment.

      This is so true that many Sonar users don't even know the existence of SonarSource
    • The Open Source product you provide should go through an ungodly amount of testing and QA. Testing and QA on the Open Core are the cornerstone of quality and should not be reserved for commercial versions of your product.

      The Sonar core is covered by about 1'300 unit tests and 150 integration tests (most of them are selenium tests) which are executed by two continuous integration server. Of course we run Sonar on Sonar on a daily basis and we do performance profiling before every release. SonarSource's plugins are extensions of Sonar, not a kind of professional packaging : they fully depends on the quality of the core.
    • The Open Source product you provide should be architected such that all commercial features are plug-ins to the Open Core.

      The Views, Master project, PL/SQL and Identify plugin are fully based on Sonar extension points and nothing more.
    • The Open Source product you sell should have completely open pricing. If someone cannot clearly see what your pricing is and what the difference is between your open and commercial versions, you likely have a predatory and opportunistic pricing model

      I believe it is the case.

    With the the adoption of LGPL and the respect of those four principles, you can definitely Come in, we're open !.