CRE Loaded

Commercial vs. Open Source Software – Creating Standards For Profit

January 26, 2009 in CRE Loaded, Open Source, osCommerce, SSL Certificates by SupremeCenterHosting  |  No Comments

opensourceinitiativeThe days of Open Source seem to be fading away. Now a day, open source is not much different than commercial software. There are a number of individuals and companies that take advantage of freely available applications as a means to profit. Gone it seems are the days of the Open Source Initiative and Linus Torvalds’ vision that “open source is the only right way to do software.”

What is Open Source?

Open source began as, and in part still is, software created by a community of people who are dedicated to working together in a mutual way.

Open source normally circumscribes software that is distributed under a license that guarantees that derivative works, or forks, will also be available as source code, protects the rights of the original creator, and prohibits limitations on how the software can be used or who can use it.

Commercial vs. Open Source Software

In many cases, the difference between software created by open source communities and commercial software is the license.

For example, osCommerce is an open source application freely developed and distributed by the osCommerce community. The community also freely develops and freely distributes contributions for use with osCommerce. CRE Loaded, a fork now developed by Sal Iozzia and Chain Reaction Web, has latched onto osCommerce and the community contributions like a leach, sucking all the communities hard work and sweat into his pocket. CRE Loaded once was a free open source application, that was until David Graham, a former CRE employee and now dean of the osCommerce University, suggested that it be sold. With CRE Loaded v6.2 came the dawn of a new era. CRE was released in three flavors, a free standard version, a $150 or so Pro version and a B2B version snatching $300 out of your palm. All three versions came with the same bugs that v6.15 did with the B2B and Pro versions promising support. Based on the CRE user forums and emails I received from end users, support for the application was poor or non-existent leaving many users wanting their money back. None of this sounds like what Linus Torvalds envisioned.

Creating Profit For Standards

For testing purposes, I recently installed Eos Online Merchant and found that the Eos “development” team had added code that overrides the original osCommerce and CRE Loaded code that allowed the end user to choose between using, and not using SSL [Secure Socket Layer]. By default, CRE Loaded and osCommerce does not require the use of SSL. Eos does and I asked David Graham why Eos would force the use of SSL and in short, Eos is creating standards. They cite FTC laws that don’t exist and payment card standards [The PCI movement] that have yet to be implemented. Suggesting that there are laws or security reasons for forcing the use of SSL is wrong. Telling an end user that name, address and phone numbers should be encrypted when transmitted is just plain dim-witted. How many of us have a mail box? How many of us have our name, address and phone number printed in a phone book? Has anyone ever used the Internet to find the name and address of a person using reverse lookup directories… and found that info on a reputable website that is Not using SSL?

One of the Eos dev team members, Inetbiz, insisted that name, address and phone numbers that are collected by a website are required to be encrypted by SSL – although both he and David Graham have used CRE Loaded for years and I have never noticed any complaints from either about SSL in the CRE Loaded forums. That might be that they had no control over CRE, and considering Inetbiz provides hosting services including the sale of SSL certificates, I am not surprised by the sudden move to forcing SSL in Eos Online Merchant. Create a new standard, force the purchase of SSL certificates and maybe it will catch on and no one will complain? Well I did and they did not like it. I don’t feel bad about it though. Much like CE Loaded, Eos Online Merchant is poised itself to fall flat on its commercial face. I think that is what happens when you take an open source application, add greed and indifference, and expect the world to follow you like the pied piper.

Just because you make it does not mean they will come

I am 100% for the development and distribution of open source applications. The likes of Joomla, WordPress and osCommerce are a few examples of what I believe open source should mean. Sure, there are people that create paid templates, add-ons, plug-ins and contributions for these applications – not unethical. There are just as many that do the same for free. What I find unethical is the type of thing that some forks of these applications are doing. I find it unacceptable that a fork would create standards and suggest that there are laws or security reasons for forcing something onto an end user merely for profit – the end user should be in the position of making their own decisions, not the developer. I find it disconcerting that groups of people feel comfortable taking an application, changing little of it, only to turn around and profit from it. I myself have a version of CE Loaded that I use on my hosting website. I do not openly develop or distribute the application – I have no time to support it. I modified the application to suit my needs. I removed the bugs for the features I did use. I do offer it to my hosting customers and will support its use by my hosting customers, but I don’t expect them to pay me for its use.

Open source had always been free. Free to modify, free to distribute. Adding greed into the mix does little for the open source community. Supporting the open source community does not mean that you should bend over for the developers. There are a slew of ways that one can support the open source community without having to know how to code. Participating in community forums is just as important as those behind the scenes writing the code. Helping to keep open source free is the goal…

CRE tells community to get Fucked

October 26, 2008 in CRE Loaded by SupremeCenterHosting  |  1 Comments

Not long after posting my previous message, Sal the “Evil Greedy Overlord” banned me from the forums once again [truth must hurt]. This was after he acted like a child and replaced my forum avatar with a picture of a troll with purple hair just because I have the temerity to tell the truth. Just today, a new forum member contacted me via our web sites contact us form and brought my attention to CRE’s new business model… telling the community, their client base, to get F@#$ed.

You would think that considering the downward spiral that CRE is in, they would refrain from treating those who are using the application [and any potential users] disrespectfully. Below you will find two recent posts by CRE employees.

The following was posted by maestro:

i find it completely dis-heartening that so many outside the CRE “CoRE” can so easily get into such pissing contests, no matter who started it, and then have the balls to use the very forum they seem to detest to tout “Their New Cart” i dont mind it being done of course, everyone is entitled to it. Just seems to me if you want your own cart version you should start your own forums too and stop bashing the very foundation that so many of us have not only helped to create, but have profited from over the years! If you dont like the way CRE is handled/run/managed then apply for a job and DO BETTER! or get F@#$ed! it would also be respectable to completely 100% cease and desist using, developing for, and profiting from any CRE based code, especially if you insist on “slamming” that very code! Just my two cents worth on all the flaming content of this post. maestro (Gerald Bullard Jr Jacksonville, FL)

Another CRE employee, datazen, was just as unprofessional:

htimmes,

You are correct, I find it hard to believe that you alone fixed over 750 bugs. Perhaps in your 10 year old mind you counted to 750 but I still find it hard to believe that you alone have made a better version of CRE.

You assume we only use FireFox but in fact we test with the top 90% of all used browsers.

Safari and Chrome are not one of those yet but of course your 10 year old mind already knows this so I am simply repeating myself.

I have noticed by most of your 25 posts that you are not contributing to the better cause here – you are doing nothing more than trying to cause breaks in the community floor. This is simply not needed.

If you did in fact fix valid bugs, donate them to the community as we all did and still do. Help CRE become a better product. If you want to get paid for your work, apply for a job with CRE (minimum age is 16).

Quote::
Sal, During our discussion, you said you will put an end to having your staff criticize me?

Oh, but it’s ok for you to continue??? WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!

What a fraking baby!! Go cry again to Sal – perhaps he will fire me and hire you in my place!

_________________
Scott Logsdon
Software Development Manager
Chain Reaction eCommerce, Inc.

I was not surprised to see that Sal Iozzia never made mention to the fact that his employees [datazen & maestro] were acting the fool by making fun of forum members and telling people to get F@#$ed. No apology for the position someone in his employ took or for how this employees treated customers and forum members. The “Evil Greedy Overlords” only response was:

As much as I would love to never ban a forum user – it just is not possible.

I stated that I would not CENSOR anyone. And I have not. I have taken action to police the community from those that want to harm it.

I did not say i would never ban anyone again, read the post again. We are here as a community to make CRE great. To make a great open source product that is powerful and meets our needs. And to do that we need order and stability. Not chaos and flame wars.

As for censorship, you can read every word of every passionate or flame baiting post of recent days. None have been censored. We do reserve the right to edit a post and remove links to websites that are essentially spam advertisements.

Also the work in underway to reinstate forum signatures. More on that in another post.

Our problem on the forums now is a good problem to have. Sparks will fly, I have been challenged both by the community and internally within the development team, quality of our product is important to everyone. I believe that CRE Team and CRE Community will be better for this energy, this passion. As long as we always come back to respecting one another.

If you’re reading this far into this thread and still wondering if CRE is the right place for you. Well I can tell you this. CRE Loaded is hard at work making our product great. And the community is hard at work adding value and helping each other out. The volume of energy you find here is directly proportional to the value and potential everyone perceives to be in the product and in the community.

Thanks for your support of CRE Loaded!

_________________
Regards,

Salvatore Iozzia
Founder and Chief Visionary Officer (Evil Overlord)
Chain Reaction Ecommerce Inc.
Makers of CRE Loaded

What, nothing to say about maestro telling the community to get F@#$ed? Nothing about datazen calling a forum member a ten-year-old? I dare ask:

1. Where is the professionalism?
2. Who does the hiring at CRE?
3. Who is running the show?

Personally, I don’t find any of this hard to believe. If I were a nieve person I may not have believed it if I had not read it all for myself. Is it any wonder why things are so bad at CRE that end users are desperately trying to find something to replace CRE with? Can the entire CRE crew be that oblivious to what is going on that they compound the issue by continuing to treat what customers they do have left as though they did not need them?

CRE Loaded just got worse

October 20, 2008 in CRE Loaded by SupremeCenterHosting  |  No Comments

I could all out flame CRE Loaded and Salvatore Iozzia here today but what good would it do? I doubt very highly that it would make any real difference to the current CRE Loaded open source model. Fact is, I had plenty to say in the “Sal’s Message to the Community” thread at the CRE Loaded forums regarding past and current issues, and it seems Sal is oblivious to the opinion’s that were offered. He somehow managed to muster up enough backbone to to create the post, while flip flopping on the entire issue. The entire post looks like it was pulled out of a page from the past with many of the more well-known forum members taking a whack at Sal’s pride.

By know it is probably obvious that I am not new to CRE Loaded. I started using it back in 2003-2004 when it was still in [bug filled] version v6.15. I even did work for Sal [installations, contribution additions] while I was upstarting my hosting business. That was until he screwed me out of $500 for worked I performed and about the time that David Graham, of the osCommerce University, suggested that Sal start selling CRE Loaded. I remember having a chat conversation with David regarding sale of the open source application but was never aware that he suggested it [or I am getting too old to remember]. I gently poked David in the aforementioned thread by saying “If your suggesting that you persuaded Sal to sell CRE then, Shame on you! It was you sir who created the Ugly Monster!” His response clearly showed that he was as pissed as I… “Yeah, well, I never intended anyone to mislead the public about the GPL and its implications either. Which is why EOS itself is free and will remain so.” What? is it possible that Salvatore Iozzia could mislead the end user? Sure it is. I read posts by Sal, and his now world famous moderator Gerald, regarding the GPL license. It was clear to me that what they were trying to do was mislead the lesser informed end user that they really were not permitted to do anything with CRE… but pay for it.

Now this brings up a new question… what exactly was the end user paying for? That ultimately is a very good question. At this point, I have no idea. David Graham recently blogged about this in his post “CRE Launches New Open Source Model” and stated that “My original concept when proposing CRE Loaded commercialization was to charge a standard fee per copy distributed with a 30 to 90 day support window, following which support could be obtained on a contract basis.” Okay, so the end user was paying for support? Hmmm… having had conversations with owners of other companies that were using, or had clients using CRE Loaded, this was clearly not the case. Apparently, support was one thing that was missing from the $200 price tag for Pro and $300 price tag for B2B.

Okay, so what do I think about all of this? What was missing from the launch of the new model and CRE 6.2 was Value-Added Services. By definition, it would be the term for non-core services… services that add value to a standard service offering. This could be any number of things. Using CRE as an example, the value-added services could be Support, plugins, templates, etc. As an active supporter of Open Source applications since 2003, we offer web site hosting and hosting services for a variety of open source applications and provide value-added services such as free professional installation and free support for a variety of issues that a customer my experience while using the application. We also provide web site programming services for these applications at a nominal [and below industry standard] fee.

So my question is… why is it that Sal thought it a good idea to sell CRE when he could have offered additional value-added services at reasonable rates? These services could have been any or all of those mentioned above. Support/Maintenance contracts could have been offered to those who either do not have the experience necessary to modify code or just did not want to. Plugins, that could not be found for free at osCommerce.com, could have been developed in-house and sold in the CRE store. Same goes for custom templates. Any service or a combination of services could have been offered to the CRE end user, whom I might add would have been more than happy to pay for. However, the “Evil Greedy Overlord” could not help himself. He not only put unreasonable price tags on the open source application, he charged 2 arms and a leg for additional services that really should have been part of the “support” the end user was supposed to get.

So what have we learned from all this? Never, and I mean never pay for open source applications. The whole idea behind open source is that the source code should be free. This does not mean that everything should be free [contributions, support, templates, hosting, etc], but that the application itself should be free. Granted, the GPL license states that you can sell the code. That is correct, sir. Let’s use Linux as an example. Linus Torvalds wrote and released Linux as open source and it can be found everywhere for $0. Why is it that Red Hat is selling it then? Well, they are not selling the Linux source code. What they are selling is value-added services in the forum of features that can not be found in the original source, support and improved & robust versions.

Finally, we have also learned that you can’t trust anyone who calls themselves the “Evil Overlord.”