- Get Involved
- About Us
The following points summarize our Open Source philosophy:
We are fully committed to open source and 100% of our products are published under a Free Software License
The Open Source philosophy has deep roots within OpenERP S.A., and since the beginning the company's first priority has always been to make a fully Open Source product. Every single product feature we created has always been published under a Free Software license, even though we invest massively in Research & Development. We believe we can have a sustainable business model based on services and partnerships (see http://bit.ly/openmodel), and not based on selling commercial features on top of an "open core", like many competitors do!
While being fully Open Source, we are tolerant and understand that sometimes customers need private or proprietary software.
We have seen many cases of companies who wish to use OpenERP, but see the AGPL License as a threat to confidential information or trade secrets they need to include within their OpenERP implementation. We do not encourage such choices, but have included a provision in OpenERP Enterprise that allows customers to make private OpenERP modules when they need to (see the FAQ entries about OpenERP Modules below).
Our business model and strategy are based on a fully open-source ecosystem, so we certainly do not want to see it disrupted by proprietary software.
The unique OpenERP ecosystem combines the efforts and contributions of the community, the expertise of the OpenERP partner network, and the support of the OpenERP Publisher. This is what made OpenERP the great product it is, and we do not want to see this ecosystem split in two due to proprietary developments, so we take all precautions to prevent this. For example, while OpenERP Enterprise allows customers to make private modules for their own usage, it does not allow distributing or reselling them.
OpenERP Enterprise and OpenERP Community are the same product, with the same features, the difference lies in the services that are provided along with the product.
OpenERP Community comes with no warranties: no guaranteed support, maintenance, bug fixing, or migration. OpenERP Community is provided under the open source AGPL licence that requires you to distribute all your developments under the same AGPL licence.
OpenERP Enterprise is entirely dedicated to professional use, and includes all the required services to be used in production: support service (in English and French) for both functional and technical issues, security alerts, maintenance (unlimited bugfixing), and unlimited migrations to new OpenERP versions. OpenERP Enterprise also comes with the extra permission to make "private modules", meant for companies that need to include confidential information or trade secrets into their OpenERP system, for internal use (see the FAQ about OpenERP Modules below).
Just like every other part of the system, OpenERP Modules are published under the open source AGPL License. In fact, the nature of the AGPL License requires all OpenERP modules to be always published under the same License as the rest of the system, because they are really components of the same software.
The rule is that all OpenERP Modules need to be licensed under the same License used by the rest of the system they are based on.
If you make your own modules, they must therefore be published under the AGPL License. However, if you are using OpenERP Enterprise and need to make a module for strictly private use, a special Licensing exception is available (OpenERP AGPL + Private Use), which allows you to make a private module and not be required to give the source code to all users (see the next questions)
What we call an official module (or "certified module") is any module that was quality certified by OpenERP and was included in the standard OpenERP distribution. As of version 6.0, there are more than 160 certified modules bundled with OpenERP. The certified modules are also clearly identified with a special badge in the OpenERP Apps Library (http://apps.openerp.com).
What we call a private module is an OpenERP module that has been developed by an individual or a company and is meant exclusively for internal use. A private module is not a proprietary module, and cannot be distributed or sold to third parties, otherwise it stops being a private module.
The special Licensing exception (OpenERP AGPL + Private Use) granted by OpenERP Enterprise allows a private module to be used internally by the company or accessed remotely by other users (e.g. suppliers or customers) without having to give them the corresponding source code.
What we call a Community module is an OpenERP module developed by anyone from the OpenERP community and available for download and use by anyone. This is different from the "official modules", the set of certified modules that are included with the official OpenERP distribution, and are covered by the OpenERP Enterprise warranty. Most Community modules are available on the OpenERP Apps Library (http://apps.openerp.com)
This notion is important when comparing the OpenERP Online offer with the alternative on-site products. Community modules are not allowed in the OpenERP Online Offer, because it is a very low-cost solution. In order to guarantee all the services we provide at such a low price, we need to rely only on modules that have been quality certified by the OpenERP Publisher, and require a minimal amount of maintenance and migration work. We cannot afford to provide these services for third-party modules while keeping a low-cost solution.
Users of the OpenERP Online offer can of course use the generic OpenERP customization features for adapting screens and processes to their needs, in addition to the official modules that are provided.
OpenERP Enterprise users are allowed to ask for a special License called the "OpenERP AGPL + Private use". This is the original open source AGPL License with one additional permission: an exception to section 13 of the AGPL, allowing to make private modules without having to give the corresponding source to the users, as long as the modules are kept private and not distributed to third parties.
This extra "permissive term" is automatically removed as soon as the private module is distributed, keeping the spirit of Section 7 of the AGPL. There are many analogous examples of such exceptions added to a GPL license, like that of the GNU Wget License
This special License is only available for the parts of OpenERP that were originally created by OpenERP S.A.: the server (framework), the new web client and most of the official/certified modules. The author of each module is clearly identified in the description of the module, for example on OpenERP Apps at http://apps.openerp.com. Covered modules include all modules whose author is OpenERP SA (or its former name, Tiny).
By contrast, companies that use the OpenERP Community version must respect the terms of the AGPL licence: the AGPL License requires that you allow any user of your modules to receive the corresponding source code, to preserve the true Open Source nature of the project. As such, the AGPL-covered program must include a prominent link to allow access to the corresponding source code.
The full text of this license is available here: http://www.openerp.com/legal
Note: older OpenERP client software (GTK desktop client and previous web client) are not available under the special license. In fact, any client can be used under their usual license without interfering with the license of your OpenERP system (even with private modules), as they are separate programs.
This licensing exception covers all features (modules) that were originally developed by OpenERP S.A., that is, all modules whose Author is OpenERP SA (formerly Tiny). This includes not only most of the certified modules (part of the standard OpenERP distribution) but also any Community module made by OpenERP S.A.
It does not cover third-party modules or other Community modules developed by the community, and released under normal AGPL by their authors. The author of each module is clearly identified in the description of the module, for example on OpenERP Apps at http://apps.openerp.com.
Yes, the AGPL License used by OpenERP and all OpenERP Modules requires that you allow any user of your modules to receive the corresponding source code, to preserve the true Open Source nature of the project.
This is a good thing, because by allowing other members of the community to access the source code, they will be able to give feedback and contribute improvements! This is what make Open Source projects more innovative and agile, more secure, with better quality, and all of that at a lower cost!
In all other cases, you must follow the rules of the normal AGPL License (see previous question).
In general, anything developed by a contractor is done on your behalf, and the terms of the contract usually assign to you the copyright of the resulting work, and specify that the subcontractor may not release the code without your permission. As a result, no distribution is happening, and everything occurs as if you had developed everything internally.
The GPL FAQ confirms that developing under an NDA is allowed and not considered distributing, see the related GPL FAQ entry
The AGPL license does not forbid requiring payment for the distribution of AGPL covered software, however the full terms of the License continue to apply, which means that you must provide the source code along with the software, and that anyone who receives it may freely modify or redistribute it under the terms of the AGPL. For example, you cannot ask people who receive your modules not to re-distribute it, they may do so freely. See also the related GPL FAQ.
In general, our experience is that this model does not work well, and is thus not worth the trouble. Note: Keep in mind that selling copies of an OpenERP Module is distribution, so this is not compatible with the "Private Use" exception granted by OpenERP Enterprise (see the related FAQ)
Covered versions include the current LTS version at the time of signature of the contract plus any version of the following LTS (long term support) release.
Illustration : A customer signs a maintenance contract for 20 users in June 2010 and implements OpenERP 5.0.8. He will be covered for bug fix as long as OpenERP's latest release is a 5.x.x. or a 6.x.x series. When OpenERP releases 7.0 LTS, the customer will need to migrate to a 6.x.x or to 7.0, because 5.x.x series will not be supported anymore
No in that case we will release an update of 5.0 in order to fix the bug. The general rule is that we do not want to force our customer to migrate to a new release simply because of a bug. When a bug is identified we will fix it in the LTS or the stable version the customer is using. If the bug also exist in the 6.0 we will patch both the 5.0 and the 6.0
As part of the OpenERP Enterprise service, OpenERP provides a migration service that includes everything required to technically migrate your system:
You just upload your database and your custom modules to our migration team and we take care of all technical difficulites. The full migration process is described here: http://migration.openerp.com.
This is an incredible service; no other ERP software publisher in the world is able to provide this service as part of a fixed price maintenance contract ! This allows our customers to follow OpenERP evolutions and freely benefits from all improvements and new features we release versions after versions.
In addition to our service, you may need some services from a partner; training on the new features, dump/restore of your database, tests the migrated database, activation of new features, etc. Openerp services allow to reduce significantly the costs of the migrations but customers should still plan a budget for the support from their partner during this critical phase.