martes, 4 de octubre de 2011

Developing countries NOT in the OpenERP agenda

This is a segment of the letter from Doctor Christoph Larsen, in April 2011, who was working in Rwanda and asked OpenERP for the upgrade scripts and OpenERP refused to give them to him. Dr. Larsen gave me his permission to publish it, so the community knows his point of view.

When Dr.Larsen sent me the mail, I started the migration to GNU Health in the Tryton environment. And no, this is no FUD, this is the reality of was has become of OpenERP.

[..] Please do realise that our group speaks an entirely different language: We do not target the profit-making market, and regarding the combination of OpenERP's Medical module, the underlying OpenERP backbone for health facility management and Bika Health, we are actually talking LDCs = read: Least Developed Countries. There is no money for any such partnerships, warranties and the like. People out there are haoy to learn from each other, and you will be surprised how keen they ARE to learn. BUT: A few thousand Euros for warranties (imagine a governmental multi-user installation!) - no way!!! In fact, I can tell you from my very own experience with various East and Central African governments that such upgrade path is an exclusion criterion in public tenders. Many governments, after having been burnt by numerous First World approaches to software expressively demand full and complete ownership, which includes control over the upgrade path. I cannot blame them, because, contrary to common belief in the West, there is no money left on the table, if we charge less for more. Instead, something might actually - in the end - arrive at the bottom end, for the patients' and grassroot's benefit.
A different market altogether. I would be delighted to see OpenERP provide the script, and with capable people like Luis, various other groups, the South African Bika team and myself, we might well figure out a beautiful and lively howto, how to go from verison 5 to 6, and further on. As you talked of 7 emails, by remote control, only, it is certainly easily doable! This is not a request for free services, but for transparency, and, yes, NO lock-in. At present, the Rwandan biomedical equipment management data are, in fact, locked in, into version 5. You may understand that this, and your change of policy, does not make such end user institutions happy. This also has serious consequences for users of the Medical module. It is utterly unthinkable that users (especially those in poor settings) cannot upgrade to a new version, and risk losing all they last version's data, without dishing out a few thousand Euros.Your input and an, as I most strongly believe, urgently required reconsideration of your strategy, are highly welcome.
With best regards,
Dr. Chris H. Larsen

Quite sad, isn't it ? Of course, no answer from OpenERP.  Clearly, developing or Least Developed Countries are not in the OpenERP agenda.

Luckily, we have now a much more robust Health system, official GNU Package, that is 100% free and community-based. If your center is stuck with OpenERP, please contact us and we'll be happy to help you out in the migration to Tryton.

 About GNU Health

GNU Health (formerly known as "Medical") is a free (GPL license), Health and Hospital Information System that provides the following functionality :
  • Electronic Medical Record (EMR)
  • Hospital Information System (HIS)
  • Health Information System
GNU Health is part of GNU Solidario. GNU Solidario is a NGO that delivers education and health to emerging economies with free software.

Main site :

Governments and Institutions hosting GNU Health through their portals :