This week, significant changes at Elastix were announced, including the involvement of 3CX and the removal of key Elastix versions for download. Since those announcements, many things have been written by many people, and this has left some folks wondering what happened. Sangoma would like to reinforce its commitment to open source, this open letter from Sangoma, will provide our own clarity about how these events affect or involve Sangoma. Sangoma are a professional, global, growing, profitable, engineering-focused, publicly traded company, and this is the only reliable source of information to understand how those recent events affect or involve Sangoma. Other commentary released by other third parties about Sangoma, is not to be relied upon.
Everyone comes to open source software for their own reasons: software developers to do what they love; some to earn a livelihood; manufacturers to augment the project and sell their wares; and most importantly community members to find flexible/cost effective/well-supported solutions to their ‘business problem’ (in our case, for UC/Telecom/PBX needs). In the end, the good projects build something bigger than themselves… a community, a solution, and an opportunity for end users to utilize the project to build their own businesses. Over the course of a project many people will enter and exit those communities as their needs change.
As the primary investor in and developers of FreePBX, Sangoma actively works with many different members of the Open Source Telephony (OST) community, including Asterisk Developers, other FreePBX-based distros (including Elastix!), and many third-party hardware/software developers and manufacturers. As just one example, we have a great relationship with Digium and talk with them on an almost weekly basis, even though many consider us competitors. This may seem surprising to some, as many folks would think we might be bitter enemies. In fact, the opposite is true…we encourage and help those products to compete in the marketplace on their own merits. And this is entirely consistent with the commitment Sangoma has demonstrated to open source for many, many years over the time when we worked hard to also make Asterisk better. When Sangoma took over stewardship of FreePBX, we reiterated this statement clearly and unequivocally.
So Sangoma continues to work very hard every day, and invests many millions of dollars each year, in order to build strong relationships and to benefit to the entire open source telephony community. There is a saying that ‘a rising tide lifts all boats.’ Thus, it is usually counter-productive for open source contributors to battle with each other. In other words, there is no reason for them to fight over the same slice of pie, when there is an entire cake that no one is touching.
Their approach was no different with Elastix. For over a decade, Sangoma has been a direct supporter of Elastix, in many, many different ways, visiting them in Ecuador many times. They supported the project financially, They attended/exhibited/supported/spoke at multiple ElastixWorld events over many years, They cooperated with their distribution partners who also supported Elastix, They invested in R&D to ensure their products (software and hardware) were compatible with Elastix, etc. The list goes on and on.They had (and hope, still have), excellent relationships between the companies, in all parts of the organizations right up to the CEO level of both companies.
With recent changes at Elastix, some people/blogs/websites have made comments which claim that the removal of Elastix downloads of version 4 or MT, was in some way caused by Sangoma/FreePBX, due to concerns about compliance with GPL conditions. That is not true and They wish to set the story straight. Sangoma hold ourselves to high ethical standards, and as a publicly traded company as well, setting the record straight with facts and not rumours, is both important and required.
While it is indeed true that Sangoma pointed out to Elastix some time ago, that there was a copyright issue,They did so in a very friendly manner, with words carefully chosen to be respectful of the long term relationship between the companies, and critically, to ensure that this important relationship continued. It was a 2015 letter from CEO to CEO, and certainly did not suggest any legal action, since it was not that kind of letter at all…it was a positive, complementary letter seeking to deepen the relationship, not harm it. That letter was sent shortly after Sangoma acquired FreePBX, when they made it a priority to reach out to PaloSanto to reinforce that the Elastix Project was a valuable strategic partner to Sangoma. It was in no way threatening, did not ask for, was not intended to, and given it was 2015, did not cause any versions of Elastix to be withdrawn. Elastix decision this week to shutdown these versions is a business decision not a response to Sangoma. While it seems that these days, the number of open source projects that remain truly open source is definitely on the decline, Sangoma’s commitment to open source remains as true today, as always.
And while it is admittedly a little unusual for companies to do so, in this case, for full transparency to the open source communities that they respect so very much (and to dispel any untrue rumours or claims), the entire letter is available. They share it for those who need confirmation of the above statements, and to reassure the Elastix community that Sangoma continues to be committed to you as well as to the entire Latin America region (and would be honored to have you consider joining the family)
This page is a shorted and edited version of Sangoma’s announcement at https://www.freepbx.org/what-happened-to-elastix/ follow the link for the full version.