Flectra Community Foundation


#1

While discussing on various topics around Flectra, number of community members have shown interest and encouragement regarding a community based foundation.

I would like to know more views from community members about the same for the betterment of Flectra.

Points to consider.

  1. Foundation Principals
  2. Foundation Location ( India / Switzerland )

Re: Your Views about Flectra Community Foundation
#2

I fully support this idea. I think having a foundation can be a guarantee for the community about governance and openness and an opportunity to take part of the project.

To be transparent : I’m part of several open source non profit associations. I’m also in Odoo Community Association and be part of the brainstorming around CubicERP Foundation (CubicERP is another Odoo v8 then v11 fork, and had initiated discussions around a foundation at the beginning of the year, but they had not concluded).

So I will recycle some of my ideas here, adapted to Flectra product and ecosystem.

Why : mission, goals

One big point, in my opinion, is why creating a foundation ?

I’d like to debate some points :

The missions

To me, it should be valuable to have as a first goal to promote Flectra ERP and its development worldwide, as an open source (FLOSS) all in one business solution.
Second goal could be co-governance with Flectra HQ Team.

The goals

Promotion is large. To be more specific :

  • Community organization by creating a website (flectra.org perhaps ?), maybe community forums, if useful as there are already this Discourse space, mailing lists etc.
  • Marketing with website, promotion material, demo etc.
  • Help on community events : crowdfunding, developer meetups, functional meetups…

About go-governance, my thoughts :

  • It’s normal that Flectra HQ keeps the lead on technical and functional decisions ;
  • It should be really valuable that the foundation can organize community of users and integrators to speak with single voice with Flectra HQ, helping the company to improve the product, prioritize roadmap, maybe contribute technically to Flectra…

Financial resources

First, I guess it may have two main financial sources :

  1. Membership from individuals
  2. Sponsoring / membership from companies, with minimum contribution and multiple levels (fixed prices or maybe stepped on yearly revenue in dollars) and in return promotion on foundation website (members directory).

Mid / long term

The foundation may be able to take care of :

  • Specific distribution, with official extra addons included and maybe somme third party addons (under AGPL v3 license) ;
  • Part of documentation ;
  • Quality insurance (increase test coverage, ensure they all pass…) and help on bug-fixing ;
  • Organization of code sprints, functional and technical teams.

Just ideas. I know it’s lot of work and only a subset can be done quickly.

I set internal organization, technical propositions aside for the moment, as I guess the why and goals are higher priorities to debate.


#3

This would be a great idea. I know that is what ERPNext has done and they have gotten a really big following.

One thing to keep in mind i know that 501c v3 in the US can get 10k of adwords a month.


#4

Google Adwords grants are available for many coutries, https://www.google.co.in/grants/eligibility/


#5

Ad Words or Ad Grants ? For Ad Grants, I fear criterions to be able to be part of it may be high. For Ad Words, I do not think ERP foundation can lead to huge traffic and so Ad Words.

I largely prefer classical funding for charity with their own members and memberships. It’s also in favor fo real independence. That’s how many IT related or open source related foundations live.

What are your views about the foundation mission ?


#6

Like all other open source foundation, mission should be “Co governance” along with “promotion” in various ways.


#7

A community would be a great idea to spread Flectra widely. This could attract changeovers and newcomers. However, only if the community values friendly and supportive communication.
With co-covernance, the community could also take some responsibility for further development and dissemination.

Ten years ago I myself built up the Swiss Joomla! community as a founding member and president and subsequently promoted cooperation with European countries. Our main objective was to bring web agencies, developers and customers together and to promote Joomla!

I would welcome these main concerns also for a Flectra community.

Location of Community

I propose Switzerland as the headquarters of the community. Not because I am Swiss, but because Switzerland can cover many countries with its three national languages (German, French and Italian) and the wide spread of English. In addition, Switzerland is a high-price country, which may also make it possible to find sponsors with higher deposits.

Should the community itself offer modules?

Module creation and management has some disadvantages:

  • The community needs a lot of manpower for managing modules, merge requests and issues on their modules. OCA is a good example as it should not be. 3-4 months response time for a pull request is not acceptable
  • To secure the modules, real experts are needed who validate the modules both on the code level and on the process level. They would also have to create a clear set of rules for new modules that regulates both the code and the process level. Here I have already seen many blurs or errors in the OCA modules, especially at process level

On the other hand, the following advantages could result:

  • The creation of almost identical modules can be prevented
  • A high quality of the modules can be guaranteed

My conclusion

For me a list of the planned and existing modules of all community members would be much more valuable in a first stage. This would give us a good overview of existing modules and allow us to contact the responsible person directly. Moreover, such a list of modules would also be a good marketing tool for flectra and the community.


#8

I finally could login to this discussion group …

I like the idea of a delayed releases if this provides a sound base for developement.

But there is a point that I really want to stress.

Developing, and also the decisions what what is to be developed must be a community process.

We should find a procedure how this has to be handled. Especially the voting.

We have to find a balanced way to vote. Something in between “democratic”, where every vote has the same weight

and “dictatorial” where a closed group decides what is what.

In rural Switzerland a very ancient form of democracy is still in practice.
Every one that is allowed to vote gathers on a special place. Then the questions to vote on are presented.
For each question there are two calls:
First the ones that want to vote yes, are asked to raise their hand.
Then the ones against the proposal are asked to raise their hand.
Finally the head of county (kanton) decides whether it was more yes or more no (no counting!)
And his decision is law.

Have a look at it:


it is in German unfortunately but easily to understand and very telling.
It is a video from 1989, when they voted whether women should also be allowed to vote.
The discussion beforehand was very heated, but the decision process was short.

Such a procedure is immensely important for a vivid community.
If I do not feel to be part of the process, I probably will very quickly loose interest in it.
In fact, I assume the the single most important reason why a developer would be interested in flectra is, that many do not feel that odoo takes them “seriously”.

And I did voice my impression beforehand, that as far as I can tell, flectra does not yet stand apart from odoo in this respect and MUST improve (or die).

“democracy” exists in many flavors, but is essential for an open-source project to flourish in the long hand.

robert


#9

I think ERPNext has been build a good community while I dont agree on how they have gone about things. I like red hats open governance.


#10

One of the mission that Flectra Community Foundation can do is govern the “delayed release”


#11

I agree, a Flectra foundation should be about building a Flectra community, and doing this by promoting the open source ERP software behind, helping newcomers, build resources, contribute to events…

About location : your arguments are valuable, I agree with them. Also, Switzerland already welcomes many international non profit.

Foundations addons : as you say, it only have values if addons are validated, checked… To only highlight, publicize addons there is already the Flectra store. Another idea may be tracked port of selected addons / repositories, for example from OCA, under the same license, updating them constantly from upstream repositories.

And, in the long term, a mission could be an extended Docker distribution, with Flectra Core + Extra + foundation addons.

@robert_rottermann

There are tools, like Loomio, to help electronic / remote polling and democratic decision making. I agree that the foundation should be democratic and puts into its statutes.

A great idea could be to use foundation as an opportunity to develop non profit open source addons, used by the foundation itself. ERPNext Foundation did this, with vertical non profit addons, starting them for their own needs. I cal contribute in this area.


#13

How do you imagine such process ? As at the moment delayed addons are developed and so leaded by Flectra HQ team, it’s up to you to tell community when funding is done, and maybe to integrate them into Flectra Core, don’t you think ?

That said, community may help to prioritize, crowdfund before Flectra HQ development, acting for an alternative workflow.


#14

To be Transparent to

once the community association set completes, we can discuss the process as such that giving community board access to data for verification and validation purpose. It is just our way of being transparent to community. Apart from Flectra HQ team, there could be other developers who are also interested in such initiatives, where in a view from an independent third party would be more crucial.


#15

@Yakulu i agree with loomio it is a great tool. We have implemented it a several non profits but could never get anyone at ERPNext to take it seriously.


#16

Let’s go one step further.
My suggestion is that we form a team of three people, one of whom is from Flectra HQ if possible. This committee will work out a proposal on how the community could look like. This proposal will then be published for discussion.
What do you think of it? Who would make themselves available?


#17

I’m in absolute favor of this. Apart from you, who else would you like to pick for the purpose.


#18

I clearly agree. I’d like to help here but I’m little uncomfortable right now : I have not yet decided if I fully go with Flectra or not. My customers are all in older Odoo version and I have to choose what I do with them, and for new projects. I wanted to wait for the end of October before making a choice.

So I can propose to help in these first steps, with limited time available in the next weeks. But I don’t want to take the place of someone who is more reliable, as I can’t guarantee long-term commitment.


#19

I have no preferences here. The best would be someone who has already gained community experience (preferably on the board).


#20

After some time without “noise” here, I created a landing page for the Flectra community. In cooperation with Fabien and Thomas I published a survey to collect your wishes, needs and contributions for the community.

We would be very pleased about a large participation.

Here you can find the survey:

http://www.flectra-community.org/survey/start/goals-of-flectra-community-1


#21

It might turn out to be long post, but trying to attempt placing my insight worth $0.02.

It is delightful to know and indeed blissful that people at FlectraHQ are open for communication to take forward Flectra the FLOSS way.

On deciding the path forward we must take caveats from what has worked AND what has not worked in past…

Foundation mode working has given boost to many projects from Linux to ERPNext… Unless we consider and safeguard the interest of FlectraHQ, developers and members of the community, it would be difficult to ensure the sustainability of the project.

Few more insights about delayed open-sourcing experiments with MariaDB Maxwell proxy can be followed, which was in turn helped by Bruce Perens in forming Business Source License 1.1 had gone well.

With earlier discussions as prelude on Foundation Formation, following points for consideration might be worth:

Foundation formation with minimum 3 rolling members from community and 2 lifetime membership from FlectraHQ as governing council.

It forms community/committees for Users / Developers - Contributors.

Foundation gets the show running with Conferences, Seminars, Training workshop etc… (as starting point as well for first meet)…

It forms the delayed open-sourcing licensing mechanism and builds trust circle with time and Revenues as limiting factor for functional modules and may take help from external sources and create even customized licensing for Flectra.

Initially Foundation shall represent Contributors of code and convey their concerns on architectural changes, core development, refactoring needs etc… to FlectraHQ and Later at some stage, when Community can afford monetarily and with sufficient nos of contributors, it can take Open Core development under its wings wide LGPL /existing licensing.

In no case Foundation shall involve in programs such as partner programs or app store, let that remain a domain under FlectraHQ if at all required till their sustenance.

Foundation shall reward donors/members in promotions but equal rewards to be created for Contributors i.e. equal space for knowledge, code, monetary contributors( Or else ratio between Contributors and Users would not be healthy e.g ERPNext is yet short of Contributors compared to large user base)

Foundation not to intervene in development of Functional modules, but if any module contributed towards delayed release and found to be important then would porpose and set priorities for monetary contribution and convert to LGPL (or even request members to sponsor fund with possibility to enlist them as contributors).

In consultation with FlectraHQ should provide feedback mechanism to avoid /de-list (One Model, five functions, 5$ price kind of modules i.e. which are not real contribution towards advancement of Flectra growth but are disruption by spoiling real copyright issues), and provide strict guidelines towards real functional improvement rather than mix an match of code(OR at right stage can enforce all modules to be under Delayed release mechanism)

These would be points to ponder for initial agreement only and might be worked at elaboration once initial agreement is reached and ball starts rolling…