This private Boston software company Aras, supposedly was an existing proprietary PLM app vendor with real existing customers, that changed to an free open source model, meaning the software license cost is free for new customers. Existing customers get free maintenance for a certain time frame.
The article claim Aras now makes its revenue from annual maintenance fees.
It said the app is only available on Microsoft (MS) infrastructure (Windows OS & SQL Server database). Since MS is so huge, I wouldn't be surprised if Aras gets some corporate welfare subsidies from MS, if nothing else for MS to point out a successful example of their involvement of open source.
Obviously it would be better if Aras also supported a LAMP open source infrastructure software stack, but this is still a good step IMHO.
I think this trend for open source business app software would be good for customers, and for the "real work" departments of a software vendor (software development, consulting/implementation, customer support, etc. Too much cost, time, & effort is wasted in an app software sales cycle.