Odoo Enterprise & Community: Shit Decisions

Lots of shit for over 18s

If by chance you came to this post looking for the first time about Odoo on the internet and you are new to this matter. I must clarify that Odoo is the name of an ERP software, but Odoo is also the name of the parent company that leads the development and commercialization of that Software. Odoo has two variants: Enterprise and Community, like many other open source systems. This post expresses my opinions on decisions that have been made by the company, which affect the software and everyone involved.

There are decisions from Odoo (Inc.) that I don't agree with, or they are very smart, or there are things that they don't report, or I'm too dumb to understand them. But when something smells like shit, looks like shit and tastes like shit... it most likely isn't a chocolate bar.

I had the idea to make this post, but I did not want to launch it without having elements to refute or opinions to contrast. Surprisingly, I found the elements I needed on the official blog of the company (1), I do not know if you read the blog of Odoo (the company) I read it from time to time.

The Date

The first thing that stands out in the article is the lack of a date (and an author) and I searched for them on purpose. I wanted to see if the information was recent, but since there is talk of Odoo 13 I thought that it should not be too old. However, the introduction was like something I had already read before, so I had to investigate further.

Right click + View Page Source and... ¡Voilà!

<meta name="description" content="Together, they are stronger"/><meta property="og:type" content="article"/><meta property="og:title" content="Odoo Community &amp; Enterprise"/><meta property="og:site_name" content="Odoo S.A."/><meta property="og:url" content="https://www.odoo.com/blog/nuestro-blog-5/post/odoo-community-enterprise-532"/><meta property="og:image" content="https://www.odoo.com/web/image/12039413/ian-schneider-66373-unsplash.jpg?access_token=077e6cc0-a72b-45a0-b836-bd1d2e1307fd"/><meta property="og:description" content="Together, they are stronger"/><meta property="article:published_time" content="2019-03-14 17:51:11"/>FAITH OF ERRATA: I must rectify this part, according to a colleague in Telegram the modified_time value is not what I interpreted and it is always updated when the user renders the page, so you can ignore everything that is in red. Maybe I was lazy to write :)<meta property="article:modified_time" content="2020-08-01 19:44:12.269729"/>

And... today is August 1, 2020, don't FUCK me it's TODAY! I don't believe in fate and that kind of thing, but if I were to believe, this would be the first test. My laziness to write just disappeared. It is 15:47 Bogota time... Let's do it...

According to the source code, they took an entry from last year and updated it to talk about new issues. That is acceptable, but it did "disappear" the previous article. I really wish I could contrast. Also, tell me ... don't they have copywriters in the company?

Straight to the point

The first thing I realized was that I had already read that article before. The first 4 paragraphs speak of the well-known story: the company was on the verge of bankruptcy in 2015 and they had to make drastic decisions in order to keep it afloat and blah blah blah. Interesting, but something doesn't smell good.

What strikes me the most is the disguised use of two words "proprietary apps" says it like this verbatim. I mean, they start by talking about proprietary software.

Then comes a video, published by Fabien in 2017 (2) where they boast that the "enterprise" strategy began to work for them since 2015... A record, apparently. I find frustrating the lack of more related details, but with Odoo we are already used to the lack of valuable information, not even technical. And the best example of this is that the rest of the posts on the crowded blog are full of endless repetitions of the same thing. As if the only goal of that litany was to improve the SEO of the page.

After the video, the explanations come and the first thing that stands out is the obvious:

"A key decision in the design of this pivot [euphemism for the big change] was to avoid creating two conflicting products [of interest?] (Odoo Community vs. Odoo Enterprise)."

Immediately they began to explain what, from the beginning, begins to give me a sting that I will drag myself later.

“we made Odoo Enterprise depend on Odoo Community. That way, the success of one drives the success of the other”

What I understood is that the community version gives visibility to the enterprise version, that is true and then they argue:

“and Odoo Community benefits from a part of the improvements made on Odoo Enterprise”

😕

The reading continues with some explanations about the internal policy of the company to decide which characteristic goes to each version. But trying to explain that, they reveal why they want each of the versions: community is the bait and enterprise is the fisherman.

So far I'm only breaking up the article, with some comments on my interpretations between the lines. And I think that when you need to justify yourself so much, it is because something smells ugly, the classic case:

— I thought you loved me! Why are you doing this to me?

— Darling, it is not what it seems, I can explain...

Get comfortable in your chair, this is just beginning.

Then they say that the objective is to maintain a balance between both versions, which sounds nice, and to argue they put another example:

“If it's a high value, niche market: Odoo Enterprise is more suitable (it will not bring millions of users, as we can sell the feature easily)”

And to top it off:

“If it's a mass market with existing opensource software, we prefer to release our module in Open Source [community] (we won't generate a lot of revenues, but we can attract millions of users to Odoo)”

They don't need anyone to sink them, they do it by themselves.

Again the previous philosophy: you are bait and I am a fisherman. And if that were not enough, they say something very bitter to read by anyone who is interested in the philosophy of free software or open source.

I paraphrase it this time: When it's a competitive market, flooded with other solutions, the community will takes care of. And when there is a fat slice, whoooooooo's it for?

You GUESSED! For the fisherman, who else would it be?

So far it was quite enough to argue my opinions, I even thought to cut this entry, to not make it too extense. In fact if you are in a hurry, you can go down to the conclusions now. The article is longer, but I promise you much more "fun". (take the heart pill first)

Next, they put an example of two applications from each of the platforms that supposedly show the previous point and I remember that the article in 2019 did something similar with two other apps.

eLearning & Certification, are for community. Of course! To compete in the market that is almost exclusive to Wordpress + Learnpress among others. While Field Service Management is for Enterprise, in her own words “it is 5% of all companies and also easy to monetize.” Again, the easy stuff for us (Inc.) and the difficult stuff for you (community). 

Now I think I understand why e-commerce still exists in community, it's for us (community) to "fight for" that market share, directly with Woocommerce. Okaaaay...

Sharpening the teeth (them) and closing this post (me) before I have a heart attack (not worth it)

The “friends” of Inc. Who, according to their own video, went from bankruptcy in 2015 to recovery of more than 60% for 2017. They tell us that in 2014 they had a "whopping" of € 7.4m in fundraising (they were not so lonely as it seems) and I interpret, that from that same year they invested almost everything in Odoo 9. And it seems to me, that this version already brought the advance of the change of strategy that I analyze here (nothing else has justified the change of name and the deletion of the word Open). They want us to believe that the decision to change was in 2015, but it seems obvious to me that it was not. Therefore, money was spent (invested) in the new system, the new strategy (including marketing) and thus try to make, the community and users, believe that they did it due to "force majeure".

According to Wikipedia (when you search for openerp you are redirected to Odoo): (3)

“In 2013, the company won a Deloitte award for being the fastest growing company in Belgium, with growth of 1549% [well understood, it was over 1,500%] over a period of five years. In 2014, the company was renamed Odoo, to diversify from the term "ERP" [and Open?]. In 2015, Inc. Magazine ranked Odoo among the top 5,000 fastest growing private companies in Europe.”

I don't know who edits that specific page on wikipedia, but if my company's page were featured on the wiki, I would make sure my employees kept it up to date.

I do not have an MBA, but it is very difficult for me to understand that a company that was founded in 2005 with a growth of 1549% for 2012 (4) that also receives awards and donations, is about to fail three years later and that in the same year 2015, the year of the alleged bankruptcy, this company received another growth award in Europe. As I remember, the last world crisis was in 2009 and we have the first crippling pandemic now in 2020. (I didn't say it, it was Chumlee)

LGPL, the stone in the shoe

I skip the part where they argue about the modules they released for community, take your alms my faithful servants! But they don't talk about the super modules that Don Enterprise kept.

Below are some “we will stop...” paying grandma and grandpa's rent . Still alive, without signs of covid19 and without the need for them to die.

And later, they inform us thatwhere work will be done in locations is only for Enterprise, I quote: “In the case of locations, the only way such an investment is to make it in Enterprise”. Obviously, there is a large slice of the pie there.

As if that weren't enough, the embarrassing article ends up mocking the entire community, including the venerable OCA, and I quote:

“We do not "close" open source codes. You [you, us, the community... obviously] will always be able to fork and maintain the Odoo 12 [or any other that "we will stop..."] Payroll if you need it (or adapt it to Odoo 13). What’s in LGPL remains in LGPL.”

In this part I have to laugh so as not to cry.

BUT....

“But we will stop maintaining the open source payroll engine as of Odoo 13 [replace it with any numeric variable greater than 13]. Instead, nos centraremos we will focus on building a complete payroll app [any future app that replaces any previous app] and develop countries localizations in Odoo Enterprise. If you, or the Odoo Community Association, want to maintain it, feel free to do it; it's LGPL.”

Yes, of cooooourse, they were supposed to "starve" in 2014 for doing just that and now they suggest that we do it. How much love!

I just understood why the modules stopped being called what they were called (I mean the technical name) and now they have others. I think it is because the license did not allow them to "close them" that way. Now, although they retain the same functionality, they are no longer, in theory, the same. In Cuba we have a popular phrase for that: "It is the same dog but with a different collar."

Everything has more logic, since they started to make those "mysterious" name changes, the "Apps" part, within the ERP, is full of the same functionalities as before, with "cooler" names and instead of the button "Install” we find the so abusive and hated “Upgrade” button. (5)

What will be left for Odoo community version?

Friends, we have all witnessed the loss of value of the Odoo Community. And today we are in the middle of the funeral of the system that was the only viable and complete ERP alternative for small businessess.

At this rate, unless they change their minds, community version will cease to be an ERP, to make way for a compendium of the "extra" that the old ERP had. Do you remember the slogan “Odoo much more than an ERP? We will stay with the "more" only, not the "much" and much less the "ERP". We will have a CMS that does not compete with any other, which is more uncomfortable to fill than any other, whose only attraction today is having an integrated ERP behind it. And we will be only the “sandbox” where Odoo Inc will experiment in our databases, riddled with back doors so that they can take our best ideas, to give it a “niche” name and get the most out of it.

The first and biggest loser is the user, but we will all lose with the "privatization" of OpenERP

First of all, Odoo Inc. will lose all the credibility of being “promoter” (it is already sad to go on the “tours”) it will also be lost by the creators, who became the gravediggers of one of the most disruptive open source projects of the beginning of the century. Then, the community will not give for more and the surreal obsession of one version each year will gone away.

And yes, more than one will tell me that monopolies cover the dirty floor with silk blankets... And I totally agree.

The Community version will eventually suffer from the “obsolescence” of the competition, the same way they make fun of in their article. Well, as I said, the community does not have the strength nor the coordination to maintain that system by itself. Others will gradually abandon the "ship" as they see that there is nothing else to obtain. Unless a guardian "angel" appears, with resources and intentions and does the fork in time. It would not be the first time.

And I said OpenERP in the title on purpose, because its name should never have been changed and because we should have done the Fork long before.

The Partners, those opportune Official Partners who pay a membership in exchange for the benefit of sponsoring the ERP tours (and the per diem, of course...), in exchange for some ridiculous training and absurd categories and other "little mirrors", in exchange for appearing on an ugly list of an ugly site that seems that no one ever improves (at least the part of the partners).

Really, Odoo Inc, it is shameful that they dedicate so many resources to SEO and so little to show partners better on their page. Partners should have at least one landing page each.

Partners, who to make matters worse, end up competing in unequal conditions for the Leads of potential clients where the end user, before buying Enterprise, can select between:

  1. Implement the ERP themselves (yes, sure)

  2. Select an official Partner of their own country (from the ugly list)

  3. Or... could not miss. They can select Odoo Inc (like a black hole that engulfs everyone in its path)

Partners who are de facto relegated to being Enterprise resellers for a % of the sale, pay to carry the heaviest burden of all: looking for customers, selling Enterprise and of course, to develop modules. They can make a fork of a community module today, but tomorrow, maybe tomorrow there won't be as much community.

I have my opinion (I dislike) also the philosophy of Inc. regarding the “Partnerships” offered but it is something else and possibly the subject of another entry.

Closing, now yes (only close)

You may think that I have something against Odoo or Fabien or his team, but no, they seem to me people out of the ordinary. I bet on OpenERP and I live on Odoo, I like working for that Software and I am the best "fanboy" since I worked it the first time. I think it's one of the coolest systems I've ever seen.

What's more, my developers and I do development Otsourcing for Odoo, and in practice you could reap the benefits of increased development demand. But I think that in the long run, it is bad for everyone, as I already explained.

Yes, I am upset with Odoo Inc's decisions regarding the future of the software and it seems that they are not calculating the collateral damage of their decisions. They also may not have analyzed all the edges, but I doubt that, because they surely have experts in all areas. What I do believe is that they have not foreseen how they and their official Partners will be affected. And I am writing this post, above all, because I think that it can be done differently without anyone being affected, not even the economy and the future of the corporation.

I want to express clearly: I think that the decisions to "kill" OpenERP, change its name and release the Enterprise version were not given by the possible bankruptcy but by other strategic decisions. If so, they deserve a standing ovation for their strategic genius, although I disagree. It is possible that my assessment is incorrect, so if I get more information about it or someone explains it better, I will not hesitate to acknowledge any mistake.

I believe liying is incorrect and also to wanna make everyone else look like fools, when one person makes someone else look like a fool, intrinsically he thinks he is smarter than his counterpart. Be careful, that is negative in any industry. And the more they try to justify the unjustifiable, the more uphill it will become. I did a quick search and found no complaints like this one. That makes me think that, either I am wrong or I am the first to identify it. Whatever the case, I accept the guidance of someone with credentials for it.

I also know that companies are free and exist to generate profits for their owners and everyone does what they want with they companies. But in the case of Odoo ERP software, what happens with Odoo affects millions of users and hundreds of thousands of companies worldwide. It's the "pandemic of ERPs", the odooGate...

I think that Odoo ERP belongs to everyone, it is a good that does a lot of good to many people and without affecting anyone. I invite you to think how many things do so much good without affecting anyone. All of us involved in Odoo in one way or another meet each other on social networks, we follow each other and occasionally chat. We have seen each other's faces at events and we share that common good, even if we are competitors.

After 15 years of life, with the overwhelming presence of the community version, strip it of its functionalities; either with technicalities, maromas or absurd explanations. It is little less than a crime against the people who run their businesses with the syestem, I am not exaggerating. To suggest that we may fork a "full" version and support it and make it last longer is either a joke or an irony. It is as if Google removed the search engine and invited us to search for Google results without its search engine (yes, I know there are others, but it is understood).

In Open Source and Free Software issues, decisions like these destroy an entire community, its tradition of cooperation and even its philosophy of life. The worst thing, is that Odoo Inc. can become what they have always criticized. You have more power, you should and can also do better. Example in my opinion correct, is the case Red Hat and CentOS. (6)  

But if the previous model does not work either... Odoo Inc is a monopoly and monopolies monopolize but they can also do what they want. In the IT industries there are plenty of examples of models that “give away functionalities” in exchange for other things that are later capitalized in different ways, and with that, they make lots of money without affecting users (technically speaking) and users accept, because they understand that it is a beneficial deal for them. Not that I totally agree, but if I have to choose between two evils, I choose the lesser of the two. As if that were not enough, these models increase the influence of the monopoly considerably, its market share and even its lines of business.

Anyway, the monopoly can finally say what it wants, it can justify itself, it can delete the original article, it can re-edit it and then discredit me and they can obviously ignore me. I am an aspiring solution maker, as a business I am insignificant. But as an analytical person, with critical capacity and oratory, I can debate with anyone.

As a monopoly, they can also do better... I'm sure they could do odoo, yes they can do better.

It's 23:23 on 2020-08-01

(1)  https://www.odoo.com/es_ES/blog/nuestro-blog-5/post/odoo-community-enterprise-532 

(2)  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A49uScV7lQQ

(3)  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Odoo

(4) https://www2.deloitte.com/content/dam/Deloitte/be/Documents/technology/Fast50/Fast50Press/Fast50Press2012/be_press_Deloitte_winners_Fast50.pdf 

(4)  https://www2.deloitte.com/content/dam/Deloitte/be/Documents/technology/DeloitteTechnologyFast50/Rankings/Fast50_Ranking_2012.pdf 

(4) https://www.odoo.com/nl_NL/blog/onze-blog-5/post/three-awards-for-openerp-in-2013-139 

(5)  https://www.howtoforge.com/images/featured/centos-odoo-erp.jpg

(6)  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CentOS