In the last ERPNext Conference, we announced that we are in the process of establishing the ERPNext Foundation and shared some of the thinking behind the why. We are just about to get started.
ERPNext as a project has grown quite well in the last year. We estimate there might be one thousand companies across the globe actively using ERPNext and there is already a community of more than 2000 users on the forum. ERPNext is fast becoming one of the most popular open source ERP projects world-wide.
Open source ERPs in the past and present have seen their sponsor companies controlling the direction of the project and their commercial interests taking over the community interests. We want to take a different path. We think that ERPNext will only succeed if is run independently by the community. By this we mean that there is an independent non-profit that has resources to push the product in a direction that is collaboratively decided by its members.
How is it different?
Let us take the example of Odoo. The community organization in Odoo, does not have an official status and even though they maintain a fork, it competes with the official Odoo fork. Since the resources behind official Odoo fork is a lot more than the community fork, it is developed at a faster rate and is far more popular.
How the ERPNext community will be different is, that the community will be "official". Most of the revenue from the partners (services providers) will go to the community. Also the community will have the domain name "erpnext.org". The following assets will be controlled by the community (Foundation):
- Github organization https://github.com/erpnext
- The community forum: https://discuss.erpnext.com
- The community portal: https://community.erpnext.com
What will the Foundation do?
The foundation will have an Executive Council that will
- Decide the priority, sponsor features and manage the execution of those features by inviting bids and awarding contracts on those bids
- Maintain forks of community apps (like 3rd party integrations, domain extensions etc)
- Promote / advertise independent service providers
- Collect leads via erpnext.org and share it with the members
We are proposing that initially there will be two types of memberships.
- Gold member: The Gold membership will be $5000 per year and the member will automatically become a part of the Execute Council. If there are more gold members than council seats, then the gold members will nominate 5 members to join the council
- Individual member: The Individual membership will be $100 per year and the individual members will nominate 3 members to the Executive Council.
Two members will be reserved for Frappe Technologies (at least for the first 3 years). All members will be listed in a special page and will be given priority listing on the community portal.
We will start collecting leads / inquires from the erpnext.org site and these leads will be shared with all the members. So there are already two great incentives to become members.
Conflict of Interest
There are two main sources of conflict of interest.
- Between the Foundation and Frappe Technologies: Since Frappe is giving away a good chunk of the revenue there is good faith. The brand "ERPNext" is currently registered with Frappe and will remain so. Frappe has already given a No-objection Certificate (NOC) to the Foundation to use the brand without any license. So the ERPNext brand can currently officially be used only by the two organizations. Since the ERPNext brand represents years worth of effort and investment by Frappe Technologies, we think at the point it makes sense that the ownership remains with Frappe.
- Between Foundation and Executive Council members: Since the foundation will be actively sponsoring jobs to the community, and if an organization belonging to a council member is bidding for the job, then that council member should not be allowed to be part of the decision on who to award the job. Also the Foundation will never offer services (like hosting, training, etc) that will adversely effect revenue of the community members.
Who controls the code?
The way it is done currently seems to be fine. The team of core committers, right now (Anand, Nabin and myself) will be incharge of accepting new changes in the code. If we find new developers who start contributing and have shown responsible behaviour, then we will be happy to add them.
Either ways if the Foundation is unhappy with the way the frappe/erpnext fork is maintained, they can always start their own management under erpnext/erpnext. Let the best team win!
I am ready to sign up as a founding member
If you are ready to be a part of this awesome Foundation, just drop in a line at firstname.lastname@example.org
. We are in the process of registering and we will always maintain a page for founding members (regardless of whether you renew or not). This opportunity is only available this one time and this is something you can probably share with your grand children!