When I first started open source ERP Guru, I was hoping it could have positive impact on the open source ERP community and I am happy that it started to pay off – TinyERP opened its source code to the general public!.
The move was initiated by one of my readers, Raphael, who posted a request on TinyERP’s forum,asking the project team to consider again the release of Tiny’s source code , citing my blog in that forum post. A couple of days later, the source was released in an announcement published on the same forum thread.
I am very happy that I had some part in making TinyERP’s source code available. I hope my reviews of the different open source ERP solutions will cause more projects to take the path TinyERP took and publish all their source code for free,unrestricted use.
The rest of this post will answer the issues they both raised. I strongly suggest reading their comments as they provide an interesting insight into the burning issues surrounding open source ERP projects. I hope other projects’ community members will provide their insight as well.
Before I go into answering specific questions posted by Raphael and Yogi, I would like to remind everyone what is the main purpose of this site – to promote adoption of open source ERP software by small-medium businesses worldwide.
In order to archive that, we are targeting the following audiences:
- Small-Medium business owners who are looking to implement ERP and are looking for a single source of information on available open source ERP solutions.
- ERP beginners – I believe open source ERP solutions can gain huge momentum by going after fresh undergraduates or IT professionals looking to make their first steps in ERP.
- Open source ERP community members – this group includes community members of current projects, looking for an outsider point of view on their software and community. They can also learn what the competition is doing and how they fair against each other.
Currently, open source ERP Guru will not go into detailed technical comparison of the underlying technologies and architecture of the different solutions. Therefor, I will not go into the technical questions raised by Raphael regarding Python Vs. Java, for example,as it is beyond the current scope of this site – I am sure that if I will bring together all the architects and lead developers of each project into one room (I might try that someday..), each project will claim their project is the most modern,flexible,easy to use,clean,simple and robust project in the entire universe. I don’t want to get into that discussion (see the target audience).
One thing that this site will not become is a battleground between the different projects. I do not appreciate any of the comments made by Raphael in regards to other projects, especially remarks about specific community members. I am leaving the comments as-is, but any future bashing of any particular person will be deleted. I do encourage active community members to comment and enlighten everyone else with information about their projects, much like Raphael and Yogi did for TinyERP.
We need to remember that the success of any single open source ERP projects adds credibility to the entire community. I believe the different projects should cooperate and exchange knowledge as much a s possible as it can only assist in the evolution of open source ERP into the mainstream.
To answer some specific issues raised in the comments:
- ‘Your criteria of SF.NET is just absurd. What you are saying is that if it is not hosted on Source Forge is it not Open Source. I think you need to reconsider this (Yogi)‘ – If you would have read other posts you would have noticed that I provide extensive coverage to OFBiz, a project not hosted on SF.NET or any other public development platform. Your argument here is not valid.
- ‘I must say the OpenBravo attitude of putting money and marketing first before the features, the platform maturity and the true ecosystem is a bit more shocking to me (Raphael)‘ – First, I am not sure if this statement is true. Second, I disagree with you in regards to your view of open source ERP projects who raised money and where they decide to put it – I believe that for open source ERP software to become mainstream amongst SME’s, capital-raising projects are inevitable. A customer deciding to go for open source ERP solution must feel he has an established company behind him as his entire business is going to run on their software. The funds raised are also being used to make the product appear more professional – for many customers, the right packaging,project website and user interface might be more important than cutting edge architecture or clean code.
- ‘And more important a lot of those modules are done by third party actors: released under the free GPL license while in a sustainable business model fashion. No many oss ERP around with such real community success‘ – Third party add-on modules are important for any ERP solution. Opening up your platform for external development is one of the smartest things any software project can do (did anyone say Facebook??). The number of add-on modules is also a vote of confidence in that particular solution, as developing modules around a platform requires a lot of effort in learning how to use the available API’s. I might use this metric in my Activity Trends page – number of modules written by 3rd party developers.
I did not answer all of Raphael and Yogi’s questions, but despite some unacceptable bashing of other projects, they have opened the door for a discussion between the different projects.
Comments are more than welcomed.