The Leading Open-Source ERP Vendors

At least five open-source ERP projects exist today, but just three of those—Compiere, Open For Business and Openbravo—have gained traction, analysts say. In order of age:

Compiere: Founded in 1999, this project has the most adoption and “has grown into a significant level of functionality,” says Paul Hamerman, a Forrester Research analyst. Compiere particularly suits sales, CRM and retail uses, but for manufacturing, lacks shop floor management capabilities, says Martin Schneider, an analyst at The 451 Group.

Open For Business: Part of the Apache group of projects, the first version was released in 2005. It’s best suited for online businesses, says Peter Bohnert, a principal at Transactional Data Systems.

Openbravo: First released in 2006, Openbravo is designed for customization, rather than for a specific type of industry. It’s Web-based, so companies with remote offices and traveling executives can provide browser-based access to simplify deployment and client management—attributes that won over pharmaceuticals supplier Galenicum’s COO, Erich B¿chen.

Less-established open-source ERP projects include WebERP and ERP5. Note that a few ERP applications are often considered to be open source but are not: OpenMFG, a well-regarded commercial application for manufacturers, lets licensed users access and modify the code for their own use, but not redistribute the code. Tiny ERP, a free ERP application, is nonetheless licensed and its code is not available.

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