Friday, 18 June 2010

What does Consona's acquisition of Compiere mean?

Since the announcement of Consona’s acquisition of Compiere, many people have asked me for my thoughts and comments. What does this deal mean for the open source ERP market, the ERP industry as a whole, and for the Openbravo community? I am keen to answer these questions and share my thoughts.

First, my interpretation of the nature of the acquisition. Everything I have read and heard about it reveals that the driving rationale for Consona was to acquire the technology, and not the open source element of Compiere, and so I predict this will mean the end for Compiere's community. Am I happy about that? No, not at all. Besides the disruption that this will bring to many people, I am a firm believer that at this stage the more successful open source ERP companies there are, the better. This is not good news at any level.

My second observation is about the predictability of this end game. Compiere's business model, organization and management style - specifically in product development, sales strategy and channel management – always resembled that of a traditional proprietary vendor, rather than one suited to an open source provider. Open source must never be used merely as a marketing tool - if you don't believe in open source and invest heavily in its development, then you don't create an open source culture within the project team and therefore cannot leverage its many benefits. Open source isn’t something you can just dabble in.

But I would like to sign off with some positive messages for the open source ERP industry. At Openbravo we are as excited and positive as ever. Open source has always been and will always be the very core of our business. This dedication and commitment is what helped us lead this market. Our purpose is to improve the efficiency of businesses around the world by bringing an ERP to every company. And for this reason our ambition has always been to create the leading web-based open source ERP company. We are strong believers that horizontal ERPs are a commodity and should be free; that value is in the services and industry specific solutions; and that openness and a strong community is a requirement for building better software in the 21st century. Success with open source ERP requires a collaborative, organic approach that unleashes synergies between the community and commercial use of the product, without artificial barriers. Rest assured that we will continue making it happen.

Ultimately, this acquisition means one less open source ERP player, reaffirming Openbravo’s leadership in this market and our genuine commitment to it.

33 comments:

智宜 said...

Where did you purchase this product?..................................................

cheli said...

Hola Manel, me ha encantado el apunte, igual que me encantó tu exposición en la red innova, el problema es que lo que dices no es verdad.

Me ha hecho especialmente gracia que digas que Compiere no actúa como una empresa de software libre ya que es exactamente lo que lleváis haciendo vosotros desde el principio, con una salvedad, Compiere expone sus cartas y aunque no lo conozco por lo que cuentas las cumple y vosotros exponéis las vuestras (tenemos comunidad, una forja, somos libres, etc), con un manifiesto de por medio incluido, y luego hacéis y deshacéis según os conviene.

Como ya expuse en su día no es de extrañar que esto suceda cuando ponéis al mando a gente que viene del mundo del software privativo y que no sabe ni lo que es una licencia de software libre, ni se la ha leído en su vida, y mucho menos lo que es una comunidad libre. El caso de Paolo Juvara de Oracle y Jesper Balser de Microsoft son clamorosos, estas declaraciones de Juvara lo atestiguan.

En relación a esas declaraciones me gustaría preguntarte que licencia tienen los MP (paquetes de mantenimiento) de Openbravo. Yo he tenido acceso a ellos y he podido ver la licencia que los acompaña y a todas luces tienen exactamente la misma licencia que cualquier versión de Openbravo, la OPL que es una licencia MPL con una clausula por marca y logos. ¿Estoy en lo cierto?

Muchas gracias por adelantado por esta aclaración, y esperando que las cosas cambien pronto y que veamos que realmente todo lo que expones en este apunte se cumpla al 100%.

Un saludo

Jorg said...

You might be interested in details and background from the source:
http://blog.technologyevaluation.com/blog/2010/06/16/compiere-erp-becomes-part-of-consona/

valdis said...

In principle Openbravo is not so different from Compiere. It also use "open core" and closed modules approach. It also lacks ability to accept contributions https://issues.openbravo.com/view.php?id=11945 and our patch project http://code.google.com/p/openbravo-patches/ can be viewed as start of the ending.
Though I hope Openbravo team will be smart enough to learn from other's errors.

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Manel Sarasa said...

@cheli me alegro que te gustara mi presentación en La Red Innova y mi post. Espero que Paolo en su último post ( http://paolojuvara.blogspot.com/2010/06/consona-acquires-compiere-what-about.html) te haya clarificado también todas tus dudas. No te quepa la menor duda que tanto Paolo como todos los que estamos en Openbravo tenemos el software libre en el corazón.

@valdis we believe we are very different from Compiere. After reading my post I suggest that you read Paolo's one ( http://paolojuvara.blogspot.com/2010/06/consona-acquires-compiere-what-about.html ) in which you will see how we have pioneered the open source ERP movement. In any case, we are humans and although we try very hard to improve every day we do mistakes. I will look into the issue you refer to and derive conclusions that help us improve. Thank you for the feedback!

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Dmitry said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dmitry said...

Hello Valdis,

Sorry about the late reply but anyway I would like to mention some things that maybe will make you change your mind a bit in the topic you raised.

>It also use "open core" and closed modules approach.
You are right in a sense that we have Public and Commercial modules.
But in our case Commercial module does not mean "closed". Our Partners have access rights to the commercial source code for testing, evaluation, and demonstration purposes and End Customers retain full rights to modify and extend it for their own use. This is different from keeping commercial source code private.

>It also lacks ability to accept contributions
Once again I am in agreement with you. Finally what we can say is that we missed your request and I am sorry for that and we will follow up with it.
But
* We are focusing now a lot on the forward development. We think that this is a good thing for the project and for the community. Many new features made it into the product since then. We are constantly highlighting this during our open Product Development meetings in IRC.
* In addition to that we really try to give priority to defects / feature requests that include a resolution. These should have a file of type patch as an attachment and it will mark them as Contribution. We have documented the Contributor´s guide [1] to let people now about the rules and we try to stick to it. And if the process was not followed or something else there is always a way to escalate the request (it is not sth that normally you would like to do but really we are very open to such kind of communications).
* I am putting below just a couple of very recent contributions provided by the Community members and accepted into the Core product.
- 0013436: New extension point in shipments [2]
- 0011255: Rebuild link has no id [3]
* Finally looking historically in 2009 we fixed 400 out 520 defects reported by the Community (that is 84%).

I honestly think that the items I mentioned above make the difference.

Anyway independent of whether you agree with this or not thanks for putting your thoughts on the table.
It is a flag for us showing that we still have a room for improvements in the communications we do and in the work we do.

[1] http://wiki.openbravo.com/wiki/Contributor's_Guide
[2] https://issues.openbravo.com/view.php?id=13436
[3] https://issues.openbravo.com/view.php?id=11255

valdis said...

Thanks for response.
I believe Openbravo is in phase (and worry that also in direction) which was true for Compiere in its early stage.

I wish you luck and wise mind not to repeat it till the end. Please not forget that there are paying customers and contributors, and they don't mix.

See also http://www.compieresource.com/2010/06/compiere-open-source-failed.html
and
http://www.computerworlduk.com/community/blogs/index.cfm?entryid=3047&blogid=41

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