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CQC is going Open Source


Senior Member
In case you don't frequent the CQC site, it was just announced that Charmed Quark Systems, LTD will be closing down and the CQC software will be Open Sourced. You can follow all the details here. As a long time user of CQC since V1.x I'm not really sure how I feel about this yet. I guess there is alot of potential there but that is going to depend entirely on good developers able and willing to jump in. We'll see how this will play out but the potential is there to really change the playing field.


Senior Member
Wow! This has been quite the quarter for substantial CQC changes. I am definitely sorry to hear that this didn't work out for Dean and I wish him the best in his future endeavors. I am a DIYer for the simple fact that I like to take credit for projects that I complete. I couldn't imagine what it would be like to work on something for so long and have to let it go this way.

While I certainly didn't actually expect this to happen, from the previous topic: Upcoming change in CQC pricing
... yes - open source FTW!!! :(
I really hope this is the best decision for the product. Only time will tell.


Senior Member
I almost purchased CQC awhile back. I didn't like the pricing structure, and I didn't like the fact that I had to run a windows box to have it going. This is welcome news, because it's a good piece of software. And maybe, just maybe, it can be ported to *nix with Mono if it's written in .NET. The problem is finding a good core group of developers to work on it.

I just read the post above, and it's kind of sad actually. You pour your life into something for 8 years, and it doesn't work out, it's no good for anyone. He really does have some tough competition though, which are all much better funded. If you don't have the advertising dollars, and the ability to have a booth at the major trade shows doing something like that, then you're finished in commercial sector. And, in the private/DIY sector, you're also not going to do well unless the product is cheap and easy enough to set up that a monkey could do it.

I feel his pain, I've been in the same place.

One thing I might recommend to him is to release the code, but run the repository and kind of "oversee" the project. If the product develops into something where a ton of people start using it, offer a commercial paid version. The commercial version would come with support, and maybe some additional features that not everyone needs (like centralized management for installers). This is a very successful business model for Magento, Alfresco, and many other open source projects. The nice part about open sourcing it is not only do you get people to add features, but you also potentially get some really good "idea" guys.


Active Member
Wow, this is going to make it hard for the other HA vendors out there. One of the best HA packages is now free - it's gonna be hard to compete with that...



Active Member
I almost purchased CQC awhile back. I didn't like the pricing structure, and I didn't like the fact that I had to run a windows box to have it going. This is welcome news, because it's a good piece of software. And maybe, just maybe, it can be ported to *nix with Mono.

I don't think CQC is a .NET app is it? For some reason I was thinking it was written in C++. There's always Wine I suppose, I did get HouseBot to run in Wine, but it's a much simpler app. One Windows box won't kill me - as long as I can keep XP...



Senior Member

Couldn't you just raise your fees, first, to see who would bail, Dean?

In all fairness, the opportunity cost here is pretty huge. Even after the collapse, its pretty simple to get a $100K job in the Bay area, and good contractors still get at least $80/hour, some get $110/hour. Those aren't the highest paying gigs either, i know of a handful of director-level architects getting $150/hour. They *were* at $200/hour before the collapse. These are all 40 hour/week jobs, not like you only get a handful of hours/week for this.

Even at a license fee of $250/year (which no one would pay), he'd need 500 people to pay in order to come in at the bottom end of that. The only reason to have a company is if there was a better exit strategy.

Dean Roddey

Senior Member
The price was always prohibitive and kept us at the very hair edge of the DIY crowd's tolerance. And of course we had to keep it high in order to keep potential pro installers from going totally ballistic. And it's just a very small market, very small, for something this powerful. It's really on something that either professionals or serious power geeks like us would be interested in. But professionals had their own reasons for not wanting a product with lower margins and using off the shelf hardware the prices of which are publically available. And the number of power geeks is very small. As I pointed out in my post over on the forum, something like 420'ish DIY systems sold over 8 years of business, so only about about 50 a year.

And it's not about how does it cost to keep me alive. It's about building a real company, with multiple employees and resources to advertise and go to shows and all that. Realistically we'd have be pulling in $1M a year to begin being able to get to a low level version of that. That's about as likely as me dating a super-model, and given that there are probably some ex-super-models out there really strung out on drugs and desparate, probably even less likely. I can't continue to run the whole thing myself. I never get a day off. And every year as I grow the product, it becomes that much more difficult to keep up, and if it doesn't grow all the time, it's the same as dead because people will constantly complain that it doesn't do this, that, or the other.


Senior Member
Even though you are planning to open source the project, it's not like you're completely folding it up if you let it go for awhile as an open source project, and then follow the same business model as Magento or Alfresco if there is enough activity/interest in it.

It may even be possible to find an open source company that would fund the project and hire you as a developer on it since you wrote the whole thing in the first place.

I use BOTH Magento and Alfresco, and they are some of the best open source projects out there. I don't pay for the commercial version of either because I don't have the money (A 1-year license for Magento is $12k+) and my traffic level and needs don't currently justify it. But I tell you what... if I grow to the point where I need the additional features and support, I'm going to buy it. Once you invest a lot of effort into setting something this complex up, you're probably not going to jump ship unless there's something way way better out there.

Realistically, I have to assume that most HA systems are installed by pros, and not DIY guys. The DIY guys probably won't want to pay for anything, but they can certainly contribute and make the product better for the commercial/pro-installer sector. My neighbor is a technical illiterate. He paid someone $35k to install some real piece of crap HA system in his house. He doesn't care, it's a magic black box to him. He just wants it to work, and doesn't care that you can get something better for "free" because he has no idea how to set it up. You add some installer specific features to a "commercial" version, like remote centralized management for all their clients and branding, and those people will likely shell out some moola for it since they would just be billing it to the customer.

Let the DIY guys hack around with it since they don't want to pay anyway, and make some money off their work since they are still getting something in return.


Senior Member
Well, Dean, I'm sure you'll still be around, so this of course isn't good bye. I hope you'll stay in the HA industry, but that will be a long shot; you'll make much more scratch in another field. I wish you very well, Dean.

Time for you to go make some money, doing something you don't love, so you can afford doing things you love. Like everyone else. :(


Active Member
Yes that is a major issue you just can't make the product do everything as soon as you get one system nailed down and intragrated the vender changes things. It is totally frustrating. This is a tuff product to maintain and as autoamtion broadens will get harder hopefully going open source will allow more people to contribute to the product and who knows maybe you will find another channel to get some money that is a bit easer like avertising on the site or something.


Senior Member

I haven't used your product and I don't know you, but I have to really commend you. Not only for your openness about your situation, but for the fact that you would rather see your product continue for free in the hands of enthusiasts instead of just quietly letting it slip into obscurity. With the dedicated customer base and strong product that already exists, I think we'll be seeing CQC around for a long time. I predict that a lot of the Premise users will migrate over since that product will only get more difficult to support in the future, but CQC will continue to grow.

Good luck to you on your future endeavors.

- JonW

Deane Johnson

Active Member
Fortunately, Dean still has his amazing talent and should be grabbed up by a good company.

Looking at the positive side, CQC will live on as his legacy.

We are all saddened when good people don't make it. In this case, it's not Dean's fault, it a tough marketplace to make money in.