Flectra, Next Step, Delayed Release


#1

Last few months have been a great journey for all of us at Flectra. We have seen immense progress in our mission to bring a system that is genuinely “For All”.

During the time there has been a number of generous people who have tried to help us to grow with their immense contribution, be it technically or functionally or financially. On a number of occasions, people have shown their interest in joining hands with Flectra.

We have been asked and offered to create sustainable solutions and missing parts that can be the part of a true ERP solution. To support our efforts, we have thought of various ways so that everyone can contribute, including doing crowdfunding campaigns to create multiple apps. Hence the current community size is limited; we believe it will not be a right choice to go for crowdfunding campaign.

To overcome this, we have decided to take another route, which is called “Delayed Release.”

In this method, we would be introducing a couple of new modules (e.g. Marketing automation, drill down reporting, etc.) which can be purchased from store.flectrahq.com

These purchases are purely for supporting our development efforts and once efforts are compensated, same will be released under open source LGPL-3 license and package it as a part of core Flectra, leading a win-win situation for all, developers, contributors and open source community.

I am inviting the community for open discussion to know their views.


Strategy : version 2 ways
#2

First of all I am happy to read these words on creating a “for all” system.

And here are my first thoughts on it:

In principle this is a good idea and I think this would also be a good way for us as en external module developer to publish our modules as chargable until the costs are compensated and then switch to free.

This seems like a better idea than making croud founding campaigns, which needs much more PR work.

What needs to be considered is on how to inform possible customers that this module would be for free when all costs are covered. Maybe with a badge or something like this. Otherwise it can lead to disgruntled customers.


#4

we can support that part, adding up “special support badge” on store or any special indication can be developed.


#5

Thanks for keeping us informed. To me Flectra is a won in several areas : more features, great UI, upgrade path include and… 100% open source usable ERP.

100% open source business models are hard. I hope you can build a vibrant enough community which can help you on your R&D efforts, both contributing and funding them. Partnerships and crowdfunding are great ideas but it will take some time before being able to build everything on them.

Delayed release of some external addons is a good compromise, avoiding going with Enterprise proprietary edition. I wish it will be successful and allow you to move forward.

PS : I also agree with store differentiation on : Flectra official addons / others, and delayed module to be released as open source / others.


#6

I like the Delayed Release concept, the only issue is absense of transparency, that can cause some trust issues with the community. Here I second @rm-jamotion notion that there is a possibility of raising some ire among community members and potential customers.
But if this Delayed Release approach is supplemented with concurrent crowdfunding campaign with Flexible goal, which will allow Flectra to keep the money raised no matter was the funding goal achieved or not (Indiegogo for example have this option, Kickstarter does not) will make the whole process much more transparent, will provide Flectra with two funding streams instead of one, possibly making the whole funding stage to be completed faster. If this two-pronged approach is accepted, it will address almost every concern possible. Whoever wants to buy the new module will be able to do it right a way, others willing to support the cause will be able to contribute through crowdfunding campaign. The more the merrier! I don’t see any considerable downsides to this approach.


#7

1st and foremost problem with crowdfunding is to “Go to the people”, where in with the current size of the community, we are limited in that aspect.

The lesser we go to the people, lesser the success ratio / funding ratio of the campaign.

If we go with Flexible funding option, we need to still deliver the solution even if the funding goals are not met, which in any case won’t help us instead will increase a liability on our side.

Instead, we would like to build first on our own and then let community keep on contributing at their ease. This also gives option to “Late Comers / Late Contributors” where in with crowd funding, there is no such option.

Compared to crowd funding, delayed release will for sure run longer and be more accessible to everyone.

Apart from this, in crowd funding campaigns, there are always multiple level for contributions, high, medium, lower. Where in higher contributor will get some additional benefit compared to others. Where in our scenario, there are no such benefit that we can generate for high payers, as the price of the app are same for all.

Also, crowd funding requires pre-launch activities like Introduction and marketing videos, email campaigns etc, which also adds up the cost and time burden on ourside, instead we would like to focus more on development.

if it’s the matter about keeping the transparency with the “Delayed Release” funds, we are open for discussion on how that can be moderated or monitored.

For me… Crowd funding is Money First and Build Later, Success or Failure is the risk of contributor.

Delayed Release is develop first and let people choose whether to contribute / buy or not.


#8

in short words:
we drive the truck like it is…
we bring features, apps to the community
community can contribute at any time and on any place we provide!


#9

once it reach at good stage … we release it to community…


#10

@parthiv if you run In Demand type crowdfunding campaign with flexible goal, it allows you run it as long as you need, there is no deadline, so no disadvantage here.
Community size is small now, but active and I think if Tryton managed to succesfully run crowdfunding capaign with Fixed goal Flectra can do it with Flexible goal In Demand campaign quite easily, since there is no strings attached and no liability, because all you do is raising money to cover development expenses for the module that already have been developed, so it could be released under LGPL license rather sooner than later.
As for marketing and other expences they are not necessary, the community members will be aware of it anyway. Just post a link to your crowdfunding campaign in your App store, where you will be selling the newly developed module and mention it on Gitter and Telegram.
For potential campaign contributors few levels of participation will be offered, for example:
For $25 you get a t-shirt with Flectra logo and campaign slogan imprint:
“Pure Flectra Nothing Extra!” underlining the fact that Flectra is full featured ERP.
For $250 you get Official status of Sponsor for this particular module and your name will be mentioned on Flectra website plus t-shirt.
For $500 you get Official status of General Sponsor for this particular module and your name will be mentioned on Flectra website plus t-shirt. And so on. People would be happy to contribute and be recognised for it.
All I am saying there is no downside if you run crowdfunding campaign concurrently with Delayed release option. You’ve got nothing to loose. Crowdfunding will be fun, will increase activity among community members, increase brand visibility at no extra cost to you. I will be the first to buy Flectra t-shirt through this campaign and wear it :slight_smile:


#11

There are two questions I like to submit about delayed model :

  • How to display when will be open sourced the module ? What is the progression before open sourcing it ?
  • Is there a way to allow people who craft open source to use these addons in their open source product, before full funding ?

For last question, one thing may be done : dual licensing proprietary / AGPL before funding. Source code could only be available publicly for people who buy the addons (but you can’t deny their rights to distribute it under same license…). That said, it allows users who work with open source compatible license to buy these addons and use them, and protect Flectra from companies who like to build closed SaaS based upon these addons without redistributing their modifications. Then, when funding is done, LGPL can then be applied for all.


#12

With Delayed Release, yes this is slightly a “controversial” part, as if the release date / amount collected / goal amount is clearly shown or communicated, people will just wait around that time which will create a sort of “frozen” period. So it has to be kept “secret”.

For transparency purpose, it can be communicated / shown to limited people for “auditing” purpose. (may be a group of people from community or “Flectra Foundation”)

Simplest way would be just wait for app to be available as open source. Community can still build a product / project over it and can take advantage of it when it’s open sourced.

Multiple licensing scheme would create lots of confusion and frustration, even for us in managing and open sourcing it. Keeping things simple would ease things for everyone.


#13

I agree with you about risks on clear progress bar. Maybe information can be communicated to people who had bought the addon and on -demand.

About dual licensing / open source product : I was just thinking about a way to allow open source crafters to support these modules from the beginning whereas I agree, multiple licensing adds complexity.


#14

For me delayed release is a very good solution and I think croud funding is for now too much of overhead.

Maybe it could be a way to participate on not yet open sourced modules by asking the owner for participation. So a possibility on the module page to contact for participation would be nice.

Or maybe modules will be produced by community (see other thread) where community members can work together and all contributors get a fee back for their work. But this would be another discussion in the community thread.


#15

A possible workflow:

  • Topic-candidates to be implemented are collected by the community.

  • Some topics are selected in a voting “landsgemeinde” (http://www.appenzell.ch/en/culture-traditions/customs/landsgemeinde-open-air-assembly.html)

  • for these topics, PR 's are done and decided on

  • While doing the PR also a development price, and a sharing price (which should be moderate but not free) is calculated.

  • Everyone, including the partners that do the actual development, getting access to the code, pays the sharing price.

  • when the set development price is covered by the sharing price contributions, the collected money is handed to the developers according to some (how ??) predefined distribution key, and the license changes from shared to fully opensource.

robert


#16

About prioritization of features / topics, Discourse forum may be used, as well as Gitlab +1.
Community powered funding on specific topics had been tried by ERPNext foundations, with bounty program (there are online platforms to handle this, and the payment). We may take inspiration from them.

I think this is a good idea but the community may have not reached the required size yet. It may be a middle-term goal.