This is the documentation for older versions of Odoo (formerly OpenERP).

See the new Odoo user documentation.

See the new Odoo technical documentation.

License for the documentation

Copyright © Open Object Press. All rights reserved.

You may take an electronic copy of this publication and distribute it if you don't change the content in any way. You can also print a copy to be read by yourself only.

We have contracts with different publishers in different countries to sell and distribute paper or electronic based versions of this book (both translated and not) in bookstores. This helps to distribute and promote the OpenERP product. It also helps us to create incentives to pay contributors and authors using the authors rights for these sales.

Due to this, grants to translate, modify or sell this book are strictly forbidden, unless Tiny SPRL (representing Open Object Press) gives you written authorisation for this.

Many of the designations used by manufacturers and suppliers to distinguish their products are claimed as trademarks. Where those designations appear in this book, and Open Object Press was aware of a trademark claim, the designations have been printed in initial capitals.

While every precaution has been taken in the preparation of this book, the publisher and the authors assume no responsibility for errors or omissions, or for damages resulting from the use of the information contained herein.

Published by Open Object Press, Grand Rosière, Belgium

FAQ about documentation Licence

Why not use a free documentation licence ?

To achieve very high quality documentation, we are managing it as a standard publication process, with quality reviews by an editor. We also think that the documentation is worth being distributed in bookstores as printed editions on paper. It gives very good worldwide visibility for the product.

When working with professional editors, like Eyrolles, they ask for copyrights on the (translated) content so that they can easily invest in mass printing and distribution of the book. To take this risk, they need protection on versions of the book that is not compatible with the GFPL.

Do you accept contributions from everyone to modify the book ?

Our goal is to accept most of the contributions and contributors. So we provide written authorisation if you contribute significantly.

But we must keep control of the book content to ensure: * Editors' rights are not infringed * Incentives like paid authors/translators rights are not infringed

The errata section is public on the wiki. Everyone can contribute in this section. Then an author can review modification proposals and apply them in his or her own way.

Why is this a good approach ?

The documentation of OpenERP is one of our biggest priorities. We currently have the best documentation amongst all open source ERP systems but it's not enough and I am sure we can do much more better.

Writing Good Documentation is Complex

For years we have tried to develop community based documentation on a wiki where everyone contributes. With OpenERP we have a strong community but, after years, the community documentation still does not reach our expectations:

  • Deprecated compared to new versions of the software,

  • Original authors do not maintain what they write / contribute,

  • Appears like we assembled different pieces of unrelated documentation,

  • Sometimes contributions come from people that do not understand the software well enough,

  • Not end-user oriented,

  • Some have experience only in food industries, others services companies, others manufacturing, etc.

As a result we decided to review the way we will write and maintain future documentation about OpenERP and Open Object.

The Process

Most of the best open source documentation has been fully written in one try by only one or two people / authors. After that, the community improved the content with small improvements here and there.

So I think we'd be better to focus our resources on some good individuals rather than a global community. But writing a complete document (or even a complete chapter) can take a long time (we took about 200 hours to write the OpenERP book in French, 280 pages). So we need incentives to motivate these contributors / authors.

So, we decided to manage all documentation about OpenERP like any other book edition. We will set up an editing chain with the following actors:

  • The editors: will work with authors to review the quality of the book and will distribute in a range of countries through webshops and real bookstores. The editor also defines author contracts and the graphics, charts and style. He will manage the collections (set of books).

  • The authors: everyone can write his own chapter(s) and propose them to the editor. The editor will make a selection of chapters to publish complete books.

  • Re-Readers: will re-read books before publication and work with the editor to achieve a high level of quality.

  • Translators: will translate a particular book to their mother tongue based on the English version.

Editors will be different according to the countries/translations of the book. For all French countries, we already contracted our preceding books with Eyrolles. For the English version, we will create our own company edition to keep the rights on the text so that we can publish it online for free.

Now, we have our incentives for authors and translators:

  • Getting monthly revenue through author rights based on monthly sales,

  • Being published in bookstores with our worldwide distribution channel.

Having established that, this should leverage individuals effort and promote contributions on writing good documentation. As people will be published and paid for their good work, this should promote new authors and translators.

Books are sold in bookstores in different countries and languages, which allows us to remunerate the full edition chain through author rights. It will help us to motivate authors and translators to write more chapters, and improve existing ones.

We had to find a good middle point between selling through bookstores to remunerate authors and publishing online to provide a free version. So, most of our books (depending on the contract we have with the editor in the related country), will be published online some months after their official publication.

Our goal is to create many different books for different domains: technical books, marketing management, services companies management, openerp for accountants, ...

Book writing will be our main documentation process. At each new version of OpenERP, we will release new versions of the different books. The editor will organise this and will get revenues for this.

In addition to this, we use a community wiki for all others documentations that are not directly related to the software or for documentations that are "per module". For our main knowledge management system, we use Launchpad Answers, where you can ask questions or reply answers.

The Role of The Community

This documentation writing and maintaining process tends to emphasize individual efforts from authors and translators. This does not means we think the community is less important for writing documentations. The community remains very important for different reasons:

  • The community provides authors and translators because everyone can request to be an author for one or several chapters, no need to write a full book.

  • The editor needs readers that will review the book before his official release.

  • These readers will be chosen amongst the different contributors in the community.

To improve the quality of books versions after versions, we will extensively work on errata in the wiki. Community will be able to propose improvement through the errata section.

Allowing everyone to contribute in errata instead of directly in the content allows us to keep into control on the quality of our documentations.