Open source ERP 'most active' SourceForge project

IDG News Service - Open-source ERP (enterprise resource planning) software may represent a small chunk of the overall market, but as a concept it has clearly gained a critical mass of adherents.

Two open-source ERP suites, xTuple and ADempiere, were listed as the two "most active" projects Wednesday on SourceForge, which bills itself as the world's largest Web site for open-source software development. Projects WebERP and OpenBravo also made the top 20.

XTuple probably has about 500 active participants in its open-source community, and roughly 25,000 people "who have raised their hand somewhere along the line," said xTuple CEO Ned Lilly. There have been nearly 400,000 downloads of xTuple software, he added.

The "single hardest thing to pin down," however, is the number of companies using the suite in production, Lilly said. XTuple, based in Norfolk, Virginia, has 200 paying customers. Lilly's "best guess" is that there are actually between 7,000 and 10,000 installations of xTuple up and running around the world.

Lilly also maintains the "ERP Graveyard" blog, where he chronicles the fate of vendors and products swallowed up via acquisition. The trend has hit open-source ERP too, evidenced by Consona's recent move to purchase Compiere, maker of an open-source suite. Consona has said it plans to continue supporting Compiere's open-source strategy.

But overall, it's "a good time to be in open-source," Lilly said. "It's still the case that the technical guys find us and fall in love with the product and community," he added, but business users understand the model much better than in the past. "It's almost happened overnight that we didn't have to explain open-source to people anymore."

Open-source ERP has its advantages, particularly when the software in question has an active community and forum like xTuple's, said Ray Wang, partner with analyst firm Altimeter Group.

Read more