Thursday, September 27, 2012

Um, Infor did not launch an "open source strategy"

So the headline over Chris Kanaracus' otherwise accurate piece in IDG proclaims "Infor launches open-source strategy."  Various other news services, linking to that and other articles, offer variations on the theme:  "Infor goes open source!"  "Infor open source plan!"

A moment, please, to catch our breath.  All they are doing is certifying another infrastructure platform.  As the Infor release notes, " Infor ION and Infor LN are now certified on Red Hat Enterprise Linux operating platform and JBoss Enterprise Middleware solutions."  OK, great - so presumably the former Baan application, and the Java-based middleware (presumably rewritten from the Microsoft-outsourced plan of two years ago) now run on something that's pretty darn similar to the Unix and other Java middleware they used before.  Knock me over with a feather.

Then there's this:  "Additionally, both Infor LN and ION can now leverage MySQL and MariaDB" (a fork of MySQL that took off after Oracle acquired Sun, which acquired MySQL).  Does that mean the whole application can run on MySQL instead of Oracle or DB2?  If so, that would be marginally more impressive.  Or are they just being cute - you can "leverage" it by building your own tools and middleware?  Can anyone comment authoritatively on this?

Still, though, let's keep our shirts on.  They're not making any of their own code open source, as far as I know.  They're not embracing anything at all open source on the application level, because of course, that's where they make their money - and exercise power over their hapless acquired sheep customers.  As analyst Frank Scavo pointed out in the IDG article, "enterprise vendors always want to commoditize the thing in the technology stack that they don't provide. If you're an Oracle you're never going to commoditize the database. But Infor doesn't provide those [infrastructure] pieces."

In a very real sense, this is perhaps the long-awaited declaration of hot war from Chuck Phillips against his former boss Larry Ellison.

Closing plug:  If you're looking for an ERP vendor with a true "open source strategy," you might try one that has award-winning functionality, comparable to any midmarket ERP system past or present, that is available free of charge, with source code, has been downloaded over 1,000,000 times, and has been translated and localized into dozens of languages and markets by a truly global open source community.  Visit the company site at, or the community site at

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Calendar reminder: It's been 6 years. Sell!

So today's Graveyard news concerns Solarsoft, a niche company formed in 2007 by the merger of XKO Software and CMS Software, and funded by private equity group Marlin Equity Partners.  Marlin originally bought XKO in 2006, so as the title suggests, it was probably about time to get out.

Marlin LPs, say it with me:  "THANK YOU, EPICOR!"

The combined company will serve one zillion customers, offer great cross-selling opportunities for nervous Solarsoft sales people, and add strength in blah blah and blah vertical markets.  "This is great," said Epicor CEO Pervez Qureshi, looking up from his lopsided balance sheet. "This is great," said Solarsoft CEO Shawn McMorran, zipping up his suitcase.

Interestingly, Marlin had previously purchased the old Intuitive MFG software in late 2005, and bankrolled Intuitive's acquisition of Relevant Business Systems in early 2006.  But by July of that year, they'd flipped it to Made2Manage, which later became Consona, which later became Aptean.

A tale of two ERP Graveyard tours:  Less than one year to buy and flip at a market high point, versus six years to finally unload to Epicor for ... ???  Stay tuned.

UPDATE:  451 Research estimates the deal value at $90MM, exactly one times revenue.  Woo-eeee!