Talks at foss.ir: How to Promote Open Source In Iran and Role of ADempiere
Today I was at a meeting at foss.ir office. It was my first time and I was kind of surprised when I met the head, Mr. Ebadi; I was expecting a somehow old know-it-all guy but he was young. Later on I realised that it's an advantage that he's young: he's active! No offence to the older ones but it's just the norm, you know!
Before starting the talk another member joined us: Mr. Maddahi; another young motivated person.
It was almost a long meeting; we talked about 3 hours and the main topic was how to promote open source in Iran. They have alreay been active for about 4 years but mainly concentrating on the open source backbone software specially Linux.
So let's go to the summary:
Promoting open source software requires both enough enthusiasts to work on open source projects and enough jobs for them to make their ends meet. So it's a two-way movement: grasping and motivating enthusiasts while convincing and motivating the entrepreneurs to use open source software.
Fortunately there's little problem in finding enough enthusiasts in Iran as the talented young generation always attempts to seek new ways to explore the underlying mechanism of amasing softwares and what would be better for them than the open source world.
But about the entrepreneurs: here -and I think everywhere- they are mostly businessmen or business owners usually with little technical knowledge -they know how to run a business not how to run PostgreSQL on FreeBSD for example- and since the open source movement in Iran is young there's a broad mis-perception about open source for businessmen. When you talk about open source, what comes to their minds is a software with mysterious terminals and lots of weird commands with telegraphic outputs. Thus the first step to motivate them is to correct that wrong perception and that can be carried out by showing them how open source may come to their help and how they can reduce their costs using it: by showing them open source business software.
When it comes to business software, one of the most expensive and most fundamental softwares enterprises need is ERP. Here, each year thousands of USD are spent to just buy the license of a commercial ERP still less implementation and supprt services which are mostly banned by vendors because of the sanctions.
But there's an alternative to commercial ERP: open source ERP. It will be amasing for entrepreneurs if they know that they can reduce their costs and not worry about future customisations, features -specially regarding some weird business processes specific to Iran- and upgrades by using an open source ERP and having local experts for implementation and support contracts.
In order to show them that open source is the way to go, an Iranian community will be formed around the most active open source ERP in the galaxy: ADempiere! This community will work as normal in ADempiere SF and collaborate with others in forums and SVN while trying to concentrate on localisation for local business. By the time, through conferences, meetings and seminars entrepreneurs will know about how advantageous open source will be to their business and start to think about using ADempiere as their ERP of choice and that will be the time when serious open source job opportunities -besides existing Linux administrator ones- will emerge. At that point, entrepreneurs will understand that open source is not only terminals and command lines but an endless ocean of opportunities for business.
But how to do that? It starts by writing some conceptual and introductory articles about ERP and open source alternatives. Then when there is enough understanding about the topic, ADempiere will be introduced. Some workshops and demo sessions will be held to speed up enthusiasts getting familiar with the software. After that there'll be periodic workshops and small conferences to direct the efforts and make collaboration easier. After some progress in localisation, demo sessions to entrepreneurs will start and ...
It's a long way, isn't it? But we have to start walking, right now!
Thanks to nice foss.ir guys it was really a productive talk.
Will update upon any further events.