An Open Letter to the Odoo Community

By Rushabh Mehta January 2, 2017 Open Source 17 comments

Hello Odoo Community,

I am writing to you on behalf of the ERPNext Community. If you have not encountered ERPNext, it is an open source ERP product written in Python just like Odoo and has been under active development since 2008. It has been built from scratch and has no relation to Odoo. There is also a strong community behind ERPNext, though much much smaller than Odoo.

The reason I am writing today is that as you make your plans for 2017, please keep ERPNext in your list of things to do.

Why does ERPNext Matter?

As you all know, Odoo is currently by far the biggest open source ERP product and community in the world today and is doing an aggressive job of growing both the product and community. ERPNext has been quietly building its own community and has been pushing the barrier in usability and quality and often ideas in Odoo are picked up from ERPNext.

We also know that given no competition, Odoo is likely to go down the closed path.

Monopolies are bad for the user and most of us have lived through the bad old days of Mircosoft. Innovation thrives when there is strong competition in the market. Whether is Android v/s iOS or Windows v/s Linux or RedHat v/s Debian. Like professional sport, healthy competition brings out the best in us.

The most recent example is GitLab v/s GitHub. For many years, the GitHub product had become stagnant and they stopped rolling out new features because it was the clear winner of the open source developer market. But as a strong competitor GitLab came into the picture, it brought out the best in GitHub, and we as users got the benefit.

We believe that ERPNext is already affecting Odoo by pushing it to build better user experience and keeping more stuff open source. Without a strong ERPNext, there will be no competition to Odoo and it will keep making more and more closed modules and stop innovating the product. By backing ERPNext, you ensure that as a community we get the best of everything.

How ERPNext is Different?

Though they might seem similar, ERPNext and Odoo has some fundamental differences:

  1. There are no closed modules in ERPNext. ERPNext is 100% open source and will continue to be so.
  2. Upgrades are free. You don't have to buy an enterprise license to update / upgrade your ERPNext instance for new versions that have more features, better performance and security
  3. There are no paid apps in ERPNext. Unlike Odoo, ERPNext comes with batteries included so most of the features you need are already built into the product out of the box.
  4. ERPNext is built by the community. ERPNext is backed by two organizations, a SAAS service run by Frappé Technologies and a Foundation (established recently) and is run with feedback and contributions from the community.

How Can You Get Started?

ERPNext is really easy to install on a VM with the bench utility and it comes with a fully multi-tenant production ready setup.

The easiest way to try is to sign up for the SAAS at and explore the features.

The community hangs out at the forum or on Gitter at

Do give ERPNext a spin if you already have not, we promise you that people who have tried both, usually love ERPNext!

Our fight is not versus Odoo but Microsoft, Sage and Netsuite. Having two strong products is the best way to accelerate the growth of open source. ERPNext is the only product in the open source space that can pose a serious challenge to Odoo and ensure that Odoo remains faithful to you, the community!

Lets make 2017 the year in which Open Source finally makes it big in business software, let us join hands to make this happen. If you have any questions or need help in getting started, just give a shout at and we will be happy to answer your questions!

Rushabh Mehta,

Director, ERPNext Foundation

Rushabh Mehta

Rushabh is a software developer and founder of ERPNext. He usually writes about the startup experience, open source and the technologies he is working on.

kanhaiya Kale January 3, 2017

You are right. This fight is not with ODOO or any other open source ERP. It is with Microsoft like licensed products. I hope this letter will reach to right persons in ODOO community. Let's hope for different plan from ODOO in 2017 compared to last year.

Well written and nicely placed Rushabh.

Appreciate your efforts.


Enrique January 6, 2017

Well said!, I tried Odoo and liked it, before I used Dolibarr, but when I found ERPNext undoubtedly became the best choice for me. Thank you for the great effort and clear business model, it is an example to many open source projects and organizations. I really hope you surpass all the expectations this 2017!, our best wishes from Mexico,

Sincerely, Enrique Motilla, CEO, Quad Tree SA de CV.

Ken January 7, 2017

A very passionate appeal indeed.

ERPNext is an idea whose time has come and I expect that this new year will prove crucial in this regard.

I see more interest and adoption by new consumers of this amazing application suite and the business model you have chosen is a clincher no doubt.

Best wishes as you prepare ERPNext Conference Europe 2017 perhaps we can think of (East) Africa after this @rushab

Sagar Rathi January 8, 2017

After so much of changing ERP software out there, we selected ERPNext now we are waiting for our team to migrate to erpnext which is very hard.

Ivan Gretsky January 9, 2017

Well written and all true. Odoo indeed looks better sometimes, but their commercial focus is more and more apparent. So many great open source products went this way. I really hope that ERPnext will succeed and prosper without giving up true open source spirit.

And from a developer point of view ERPnext has always looked better for me. It has a great dev docs and great community support.

Good luck to both products in 2017.

Max P January 9, 2017

I was looking at open source ERP (python-based), found the impressive looking Odoo but clearly lacking the community-spirited and clear developer documentations, apparently leaning towards more online training sessions. I was hoping to develop and integrate my own python-based apps. I found ERPNext with clearly defined developer framework and decided to adopt Frappe technologies. I hope to built on ERPNext framework.

From Singapore

James C January 12, 2017

"100% open source and will continue to be so."

Continue to be so until you are not. I've heard this before from the software you write about!!

Rushabh January 12, 2017

Thank you everyone for your kind comments

@James, I totally not blame you for not believing us, the entire domain of open source business apps are built with semi-commercial purpose. This month we will formally launch the ERPNext Foundation that will formally drive the project. I think it will be a big step towards sending a strong signal to the community.

Masud Alam January 12, 2017

A very passionate statements "This fight is not with ODOO or any other open source ERP. It is with Microsoft like licensed products." and "100% open source and will continue to be so." but we already seen some of issues already created as premium

Rushabh January 12, 2017

> but we already seen some of issues already created as premium

You seem to be mistaking this with another product. Can you give an example?

Masud Alam January 12, 2017

May be I am mistaking from another product, but I have seen this type of issues:

Rushabh January 12, 2017

@Masud, that is sponsorship for development, the feature built will be free for everyone. I hope you understand the difference!

Masud Alam January 12, 2017

OOO ...thanks for clearing the difference :) @Rushabh

Carlos March 2, 2017

I'm in !

Thomas May 28, 2017

I'm a Odoo user. I just re-discovered ERPNext and thanks to your article I will give a try. Hope to be convinced this time.

ashish July 17, 2017

Rushab, it appears the philosophy of ERPNext is no to paid apps. So my question is what is the model for freelancers/small company who are willing to work on ERPNext. What will be the revenue model for them? thanks

Rushabh Mehta July 18, 2017

@Ashish, the model will be same as any other open source project -> hosting, consulting, services, support, training, deployment etc.

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