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a little OT: a letter to _The Economist_ on GNU Enterprise

From: S11001001
Subject: a little OT: a letter to _The Economist_ on GNU Enterprise
Date: Tue, 28 May 2002 21:51:36 -0500
User-agent: Mozilla/5.0 (X11; U; Linux i686; en-US; rv:1.0.0+) Gecko/20020525

This is a long time coming, but I thought the GNUe developers might be interested.

I replied to an article in _The Economist_, "Timely technology: New kinds of software could make companies both more integrated and flexible". It's not free, but here's a "fair" excerpt:

....Yet ERP systems cleaned up only part of the IT mess, and created new problems of their own, mainly because they are inherently inflexible. They have their own way of managing the information in databases which cannot be easily changed or shared with other applications....

I replied as follows:

10 February 2002

The Economist
25 St. James's St.
London  SW1A 1HG

Dear Sir:

The observation in your article on integrated, flexible software for
business that traditional enterprise resource planning (ERP) suites are
inflexible is quite correct. Traditional ERP providers, by keeping their
methods secret and not allowing users to change them, present three main
problems to potential customers: of forcing businesses to adapt to how
the software does business, of forcing businesses with concrete
investments in data to stay with the original software provider (a
problem known as 'vendor lock-in'), and of preventing interoperability
with the solutions of any other provider.

By contrast, _GNU Enterprise_ is free software, meaning that any
would-be adopters are free to modify it and change it (or hire anyone
else to do so), as well as share those changes if they so desire. This
does not necessarily require extensive programming skills: the software
relies on a pluggable interface to define its data storage and
distribution methods. Also, the vast majority of the _GNU Enterprise_
suite is written in the "Python" programming language, considered by
many to be suitable for both beginners and experts. In effect, users of
the software do not need to be seasoned hackers to reprogram business
processes in this particular ERP system; indeed, they need not be
hackers at all.

As an added benefit to all firms, especially small ones, _GNU
Enterprise_ is available free of charge from the project website


Stephen Compall

Stephen Compall
DotGNU `Contributor' --

The only real significance of the "Halloween documents" is that
Microsoft seems to think that the GNU/Linux system has the potential
for great success.

Thank you, Microsoft, and please get out of the way.
        -- RMS, "Is Microsoft the Great Satan?"

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