webEdition 6 CMS Germany-based Living-e AG has announced that it is now offering its Web CMS webEdition 6 as open source. Additionally, the company decided to extend Professional Services (PS) support to end-users. Previously sold as a commercially-licensed software, webEdition 6 is now giving it all (OK, almost all) away for free -- which makes it only more interesting to explore.

Who is Living-e AG

Living-e AG is a solutions provider headquartered in Karlsruhe, Germany. It emerged in 2006 from the CMS shop webEdition Software GmbH and has been listed since in the entry standard of the Frankfurt stock market. In October 2007, Living-e took over the provider of language technology and artificial intelligence, Xtramind Technologies GmbH. In spring 2008, the company branched out to San Francisco and London by opening new offices.

What’s New in webEdition 6

The vendor offers new functions to equip Web developers and the user community with a new Software Development Kit (SDK) to facilitate the creation of applications for webEdition. There’s also your traditional versioning function to ensure that earlier versions of already processed documents and objects are stored, making them available for restore in case of loss of the current version. In addition, webEdition 6 contains an e-mail functionality based on open source PHP mailer standard, as well as an interface to an e-commerce tracking and monitoring solution by Econda. We wish we could show you some of these features, but the product demo sites are only available for viewing and not for playing around with and experimenting. There seems to be a “real” demo environment, but no username/password information is provided. Another demo site is “Unsere Demoseiten ziehen um.“ Wir verstehen, and we’ll have to wait until the move to a new server is complete.

PS for All

Newly announced webEdition PS services include ticket support during installation and operation of the software, training, project support, and other PS- and support-related services offered at an “affordable” hourly rate.

Open Source as a Strategy

Before this week (and since 2001), this CMS product was sold as licensed software. An interesting move from commercial to open source model, wouldn’t you say? While some say that pure open source is not viable as a business model, webEdition moves to bare its source code to the masses. Shedding some light on this move, Holger Meyer, head developer of webEdition says, "We are convinced that the open source approach allows the faster adoption and integration of webEdition into more application environments. Therefore, it was the next logical step in the lifecycle of our product." Heck, if even Microsoft is starting to embrace all things open source, the rest of the world will follow. Will webEdition ever make it to one of those most popular open source CMS lists? We shall see…