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Report from the FOSE Conference

From: Stanley A. Klein
Subject: Report from the FOSE Conference
Date: Wed, 20 Mar 2002 18:48:54

FOSE is the Federal Office Systems Expo, an annual trade show held at the
Washington, DC Convention Center.  There are apparently some free booths
given to user groups and other non-profits.

After some email exhanges with Derek, I tried to get GNUe a booth, but we
got a late start and they never responded.

Today, I cobbled together a one-page, one-side flyer (text below) and went
to the show.  The Northern Virginia Linux Users Group (NOVALUG), which had
the only booth devoted to free/open-source software, was gracious enough to
allow me to leave copies of the flyer at their booth.  I went to a copy
shop, had some copies made, and took them to the NOVALUG booth.

However, I also did something else.  There was an area (called the
Enterprise Solutions area) run by the General Services Administration (the
Federal Government's lead agency for information technology procurement)
and I went in there, spoke to two people about GNUe and gave them some
flyers.  One of the people I spoke to was the Director of Business
Development for the GSA IT Acquisition Center, who said he would pass the
information along to the program manager of the E-Government Initiative.  I
also spoke to people at the Chief Information Officers' group booth and at
a booth devoted to the NASA "Seat Management" program.  In both cases, the
people there said they would pass the information along to others.

The text of the flyer is below.  I modified some material from the Mini-FAQ
and the FAQ, and wrote a new section on "What is Free Software".  I
couldn't find a usable document on the web site and didn't poke around in
CVS, so unless there is already one I just didn't find, I hope this will be
a start on one.  I will try to do a version that preserves the formatting
and send it to neilt or someone for uploading to the web site.

Stan Klein


        GNU Enterprise 
        Free Enterprise Software for business and government

What is GNU Enterprise?

GNU Enterprise (GNUe) is a set of integrated business applications and
tools to provide automated support for accounting, supply chain, human
resources, sales, manufacturing, payroll, inventory, purchasing, finance,
planning, sales order entry, customer support, forecasting, and other
business processes.   GNU Enterprise is both free software and a modular
architecture of a type of software is sometimes referred to as Enterprise
Software.  Many proprietary commercial Enterprise Software applications
exist (i.e. from manufacturers like SAP, Manugistics, PeopleSoft, etc.)
that provide similar functionality. 

More information and access to resources can be obtained at

What makes GNUe different? 

GNUe is free software and built around open standards for the most popular
computer systems in the world. It is also designed from the ground up as a
modular international system utilizing the latest in object technology.
Object technology means that parts of the overall system may be improved
and capabilities added without monolithic or system wide changes.
International design includes capability for multiple currencies, languages
and international support. 

What is Free Software?

Free software provides users the right to receive full source code and the
freedom to support, maintain, modify, improve, and redistribute the
software without asking permission or paying a fee to anyone for use of the
intellectual property.  Users are free to maintain and improve the software
themselves or to contract with anyone for support, maintenance, or
improvement.  There is no need for "software escrow" (a common protection
against a proprietary provider discontinuing support for a product or going
out of business).  GNUe is protected by the GNU General Public License
(GPL), which provides that any redistributed improvements or derived works
must be offered with the same user freedoms and rights to source code as
GNUe itself.  The GPL protects software from becoming included in a
proprietary product having restrictions on user freedoms, and creates what
Lawrence Lessig has described as an "Innovation Commons".  

For more information, see and

What database does GNUe require? 

GNUe 2-tier works with a wide range of backends, such as PostgreSQL, MySQL,
Oracle, DB2, Sybase, Interbase, SAP-DB, and ODBC. GNUe n-tier (GEAS)
currently works with MySQL and PostgreSQL relational databases.  The
internal structure of GNUe GEAS is object based but stores information in a
standard SQL92 relational database. It is anticipated that GNUe will
interface to any SQL92 (odbc, oracle, sybase, interbase, etc) standard
relational database. The API design does not limit the storage to RDMS. 

Is GNUe Usable now?

The short answer is yes.  Forms works in 2-tier mode directly with an SQL
database for custom applications.  Prepackaged applications are still in
the development stage.  Multi-tier server is still in development.  Reports
and GNUe Forms Designer are also in advanced stages of development.

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