Infor M3 open source platform announcement thing

Let’s talk about the Infor M3 open source platform announcement thing.

Announcement

In 2015, Infor announced: “The latest Infor M3 solution now features an open source based Linux platform as a deployment choice to reduce total cost of ownership for customers.”

It is admirable to support open source software, so please join us in congratulating Infor.

What about free/libre software?

It would have been more admirable to support free/libre software. The open source movement and the free/libre software movement are related but distinct; freedom is more important than open source.

Supported platform

The following documentation, M3 Core 13.4 Installation Guides Red Hat Linux > M3 Core Installation Planning Guide – RHEL > Introduction and overview > Installation Scenarios > Recommendations, says M3 Core is now available as an option on “Red Hat Enterprise Linux as operating system and Postgres Plus Advanced Server as database […] If the M3 Database Server is installed on Red Hat Enterprise Linux, the Postgres Plus Advanced Server must be used.”

Red Hat Enterprise Linux

Red Hat Enterprise Linux is a commercial product. Its source code is open and provided at no cost, but it is not provided in compiled form. To use it, we have to either buy it or go through the difficult compilation and derivative processes.

As a side note, Red Hat has controversy in the community with their non-free/libre licensing and inclusion of binary blobs [1] and as such is not endorsed by the Free Software Foundation [2].

EnterpriseDB Postgres Plus Advanced Server

EnterpriseDB Postgres Plus Advanced Server is also a commercial product, even though based on the open source PostgreSQL, it is provided at cost, and its source code is not available:

Technical reason?

Besides understandably not being able to support every combination of platform, are there any technical reasons for M3 to HAVE TO use Red Hat Enterprise Linux and EnterpriseDB Postgres Plus Advanced Server, and not Fedora, CentOS, Debian, Ubuntu, Suse, PostgreSQL?

Business collaboration?

Does it have anything to do with Infor’s joint collaboration with Red Hat and EnterpriseDB for Infor LN?

Wasn’t there something similar with the Intentia and IBM alliance [3] [4], where Movex Workplace HAD TO use the Enterprise Edition of IBM WebSphere Application Server for no apparent technical reason?

What about the community?

Infor uses a lot of free/libre software on free/libre licenses such as BSD, GPL and Apache. For example, this is the (not cleaned-up) list of about 100 projects used by one of the components of M3, the Infor Grid:

antlr antlr-runtime aopalliance-repackaged asm asm-commons asm-tree bcmail-jdk16 bcprov-jdk16 commonj.sdo commons-daemon commons-fileupload commons-logging commons-math3 ctivation cxf-api cxf-rt-bindings-soap cxf-rt-bindings-xml cxf-rt-core cxf-rt-databinding-jaxb cxf-rt-databinding-xmlbeans cxf-rt-frontend-jaxws cxf-rt-frontend-simple cxf-rt-management cxf-rt-transports-http cxf-rt-ws-addr cxf-rt-ws-policy cxf-rt-ws-rm cxf-rt-ws-security decision-trees derbyclient drools-compiler drools-core ecj eclipselink ehcache-core geronimo-javamail_1.4_spec groovy-all hk2-api hk2-locator hk2-utils izpack-api izpack-tools jackson-core-asl jackson-jaxrs jackson-mapper-asl jackson-xc javassist javax-websocket-client-impl javax-websocket-server-impl javax.annotation-api javax.el javax.inject javax.persistence javax.servlet-api javax.servlet.jsp javax.servlet.jsp-api javax.servlet.jsp.jstl javax.websocket-api javax.ws.rs-api jcommander jersey-client jersey-common jersey-container-servlet jersey-container-servlet-core jersey-core jersey-guava jersey-json jersey-media-json-jackson jersey-media-multipart jersey-multipart jersey-server jersey-servlet jetty-annotations jetty-continuation jetty-http jetty-io jetty-jndi jetty-jsp jetty-plus jetty-schemas jetty-security jetty-server jetty-servlet jetty-servlets jetty-util jetty-webapp jetty-xml jna jna-platform joda-time jsr166 jt400_jdk16 knowledge-api knowledge-internal-api linked-binaries liquibase log-viewer mail maven-shared-utils mimepull mockito-all mvel2 neethi ojalgo ojdbc6 org.apache.taglibs.standard.glassfish org.eclipse.jdt.core osgi-resource-locator postgresql scripting-client slf4j-api slf4j-grid sqljdbc4 stax2-api stringtemplate tasks validation-api websocket-api websocket-client websocket-common websocket-server websocket-servlet windowsjnasecurity woodstox-core-asl wsdl4j wss4j xml-resolver xmlbeans xmlschema-core xmlsec

Does Infor contribute back to the free/libre software community? Individual Infor developers probably contribute to free/libre software with bug fixes and documentation (congratulations). But I have not seen Infor as a company officially sponsor events, fund projects, contribute code, or provide developers to free/libre software. I do not know that they do or that they do not. If you know, please leave me a comment.

Discussion

It is admirable that Infor provides M3 based on an open source platform as an option, it illustrates Infor’s commitment to the cloud and open platforms. However, the narrative is not clear as the required “open source” platform actually requires commercial products, at cost, that have restrictive licenses, with closed source code, possibly due to a business collaboration. For-profit corporations can choose to be commercial, closed source, and collaborate with partners, to fund product development and to protect intellectual property, but then the narrative should be made clear. Is there a technical reason? Is Infor misappropriating “open source”? Is Infor giving back to the free/libre software community? What do you think? Let me know in the comments below.

5 thoughts on “Infor M3 open source platform announcement thing”

  1. Great post, apart from the facts you gave about contributing to the open source community, the fact that Infor only supports it on the EnterpriseDB Postgres Plus Advanced Server also doesn’t make it cost efficient in comparison with Microsoft SQL for many customers. And that is an obstacle for many to start using it, at least that is my opinion from the market research we made on it.

    Like

    1. Hello Henrik, thank you very much for your feedback, as a customer that has done research into the matter. Let’s hope Infor has plans to support more platforms and make their narrative clear in the future.

      Like

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