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


  1. I'm confused. Where is ION Installed and is it using .NET technologies there is limited informaiton on what platforms its certified to run on. You mention it has been certified for Jboss & Linux was it re-written again since 2010? An insight would be great.


  2. All fine questions for Infor. As I am a bit of an Infor skeptic, and suspect that ION is little more than a generic abstract box of tools that would be used for a lengthy professional services engagement, I'm probably not the best one to ask.

  3. I did an analysis of ION more than two years ago when it was described as the "way forward" after Infor had acquired some 20 software packages that it had a nightmare supporting. Then is was described as the UBER DB for application serving that would support every industry sector. I won't go into my deep analysis other than to point out why a customer would want db functionality that it would never use, e.g. wholesale vs manufacturing. But even if they could do this UBER DB what about interface support to the different industries and segments? Now I just checked it website and as usual Infor throws out a bunch of jargon without really saying much. Much less than two years ago.