We don’t get that much controversy in the open-source space so we couldn’t believe the controversy brewing about Sangoma and open-source.
We first read a piece from Fred Posner the VP of products at Kamailio about how Sangoma doesn’t get open-source. Fred makes a lot of interesting points about a post from Jim Machi, VP of Marketing at Sangoma which asks if you can outgrow your open-source PBX.
We should mention we know both of these people and respect them and their opinions a great deal but wanted to throw in our two cents.
Fred’s point is a good one – he doesn’t want FUD to be used to keep people from using open-source. McDonald’s he says, doesn’t talk down its hamburger to sell a Big Mac.
He also acknowledges that Sangoma is a for-profit and needs to make money and as such needs to promote products which make money. He also cites the fact that Jim implies you need to be a programmer, to use an Asterisk system.
Perhaps programmer isn’t the right word but there is definitely an overlap of people considered techies and those comfortable using Linux. Fred takes issue with the word techie but I consider myself one so I am not sure what the concern is.
Although open-source products have become easier to use, they aren’t as easy to deploy, use and troubleshoot as proprietary solutions on the market – if you don’t feel comfortable using Linux.
Without getting into what the right terms are, we can tell you from painful experience running an MSP where one of the decision-makers decided to install an open-source PBX at a customer site. There was an eternal issue getting the PBX to work with a locking door buzzer. It never worked right. Also, the person who was the open-source PBX guru left the MSP and no one else at the company had the experience to understand how the PBX worked when there were issues.
The MSP lost the customer as a result.
This was a few years back and things are better today but there is a difference between open-source and off-the-shelf solutions.
Having said that, there are companies that provide service and support for open-source, if you have one installed. It doesn’t have to be ripped and replaced as you grow – to Fed’s point.
Although McDonald’s doesn’t talk down its hamburger it does differentiate the larger product by calling it “Big.” That seems to be what Jim was aiming to do as well – walk the fine line between a free and paid solution.