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haxTuple - Hack open source ERP, win an iPad!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

xTuple, creators of the leading open source ERP, accounting, and CRM system, is looking for a few good hackers.  By "hackers," of course, we mean developers willing to get involved in source code.  The classical use of the term.

Starting Monday, February 15, we'll be turning our internal development focus to fixing and resolving bugs - and we'd like to invite our ever-expanding community of open source users to join us.  But it's not just an invitation... it's a contest!

Yes, the hacker/contributor/user - outside of xTuple staff - who successfully fixes the most bugs from February 15 to March 8, will win a shiny new Apple iPad(or other similar device if available...)

"Great!" you say.  "What do I have to do?  And, er, equally importantly, what do I need to know?"

Well, it certainly helps if you're familiar with xTuple ERP.  The PostBooks Edition of xTuple ERP, of course, is rather consistently among the most active projects on SourceForge.  If you're new to xTuple, you might want to start with a simple video showing a start-to-finish business process, all in the PostBooks Edition.

Maybe take a few minutes to review the key technologies we use.  Number one on the list is plain old SQL, the standard query language that tells databases what to do with themselves.  The database xTuple uses is of course Postgres, "the world's most advanced open source database."  (It's also the most SQL-standard-compliant, which is nice).

The xTuple GUI client is built with Qt, an open source framework for C++ maintained by a division of Nokia.  Don't be scared of the C++; Qt has powerful tools to minimize the need for nasty low-level coding.  And it also supports an implementation of Javascript, which we're starting to use more and more inside the xTuple application.

"Ugh," you might say.  "I'm going to need to set up a development environment?"  Well, yes.  But... we're making it as easy as we can.  If you're a Linux fan, try our handy new pre-configured Ubuntu virtual machine, with the Qt environment all ready to go.  Or if you're a Windows user, check out our handy Quick Start reference guide for getting set up.  If you're a Mac user and you want to develop cross-platform open source code, well, God bless ye.  Drop us a line and tell us your story.

OK.  So that's a little about us, and what you'll need to know.  Now, on to fixing bugs!  Our director of product development, John Rogelstad, has put together a handy blog of his own with the rules of engagement, timelines, and such.  If you're the sort who likes to scoop up low-hanging fruit, you might also check out his post on "accelerator key" enhancements - a great way to report issues that need fixing, then fix 'em.  Or, as John put it, "run up your numbers."

But of course, we're hopeful that people will scan the list of active issues, maybe search for terms or areas that are of particular interest, and jump in and fix things that interest you!  And even if you don't win the grand prize, everyone who fixes three or more bugs gets a handsome haxTuple t-shirt!

If you've got questions, or have problems with any of the setup, configuration, or website tools, please feel free to post a comment on one of our blogs, or ask a question on the forums.

With your help, we can make version 3.5 the best release of xTuple ERP yet!

Ned Lilly

President and CEO
In October 2001, Ned co-founded xTuple, originally called OpenMFG, with the aim of bringing the worlds of open source and enterprise resource planning (ERP) together to solve the unmet needs of small- to mid-sized manufacturers. In 1999, he was a co-founder of Great Bridge, an early business built around the PostgreSQL open source database. PostgreSQL is the core technology for xTuple today. Great Bridge was incubated inside Landmark Communications, a mid-sized media company where Ned directed corporate venture investments, mergers and acquisitions (M&A) and startup activity. Prior to Landmark, Ned worked for a regional technology group in Washington D.C. and had a brief first career in political media — television, radio and a non-partisan news wire. He holds a B.A. from the University of Virginia and an M.A. from George Washington University.