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Frequently Asked Questions

About xTuple

Renaming a company (we were formerly known as OpenMFG) and launching a new brand is not something anyone should undertake lightly. But with the expanded line of products and services, and a broadening of our target audience to include companies who might not do much actual manufacturing, the time was right in 2007. We were looking for something exciting, that speaks powerfully to the possibility for exponential growth in the key business metrics that are important to our customers. Double (2x), quadruple (4x), quintuple (5x) — xTuple. There is also, we confess, a bit of a geek-insider joke (there always is, with software companies). In computer science and mathematics, a "tuple" is a name for any two or more points of data you wish to analyze. In fact, in database circles, rows of the database are often referred to as tuples. So it's ex-tuple, from the database. Get it? Read more in About xTuple.

VARs (partners) are more important than ever. There is a temptation with open source solutions to think you can do it all by yourself — download, install, setup, and have the business running on the new software in no time at all. It's easy, right? Just read the documentation, follow the basic steps, and you're ready! That sound you're hearing is the gnashing of teeth by experienced ERP professionals around the world. There's a widely-publicized statistic that over 80% of ERP implementation projects — in companies of all sizes — fail, and often spectacularly. We're software people with a strong product, so we like to believe that software choice has a lot to do with the failure rate. While it certainly plays a significant part — despite everything we say about rising commoditization of software — not all ERPs are created equal. Many get worse over time. Simply put, the human component of an ERP implementation is by far the most important, i.e., developing and following an established project plan, with strong buy-in from management and strong leadership of the overall project effort. Business process assessment, data migration and entry, configuration and setup of hundreds of details that support observed and desired business processes — these are the things that xTuple business partners have been doing for decades. Whether you're considering PostBooks® or one of the commercial Editions of xTuple ERP, xTuple HQ works with our partners to combine the right resources that fits your goals, and your budget.

How Open Source Works

Part of what a vendor has to be comfortable with in the open source software world, especially if they're pursuing a dual-licensing model such as xTuple, is competition between the free and commercial versions. Fundamentally, we believe it will come down to how well we do our jobs managing the PostBooks® community. If we're unresponsive, don't give a good sense of overall roadmap and guidance, or needlessly antagonize community members, there's a good chance the project will be "forked" — and maybe someone will start a PostPostBooks project. But our hunch is that there's a much bigger interest in expanding PostBooks® horizontally — into adjacent markets and with modular add-ons — than in trying to duplicate the tested and battle-hardened functionality in the commercial Editions.

This is our favorite question. There are lots of ways, and the most important is working collaboratively. If you've got the technical expertise, you can write new functionality yourself. You can pay one of our development partners to do it. Or you can sponsor new features directly with us. Sometimes, it makes sense to put together a consortium, where several customers split the cost of developing something new. This worked extremely well for the CRM module in version 2, and the Returns and Service functionality in version 3. Typically, a simple feature request in the Issue Tracker is the best way to get started. If we decide that a more detailed specification is needed, there is a template to use as a starting point. The best part? When you work with us to add new features into the product, you get exactly what you need, implemented into the core system — ensuring that your investment will be future-proof, rather than a one-off customization. Read more on Features in our History, expecially about our "Feature Mob" events and "Greatest Hits" Volumes One and Two.

Many elements go into localizing an ERP system. First is language. Each xTuple ERP client loads a translation file at runtime, so one user can see the application in US English, for example, while others see it in Mexican Spanish, Simplified Chinese, etc. Please visit our Translation and Localization webpage to see the current status of the many xTuple ERP international translation efforts.The other major element of localization is the accounting, tax, or other local business requirements of a particular market. You might have a look at our wiki for an introduction to our multi-layered tax functionality. Perhaps the best place to start would be a discussion in our International Forums. We welcome your involvement in Translation and Localization.

xTuple includes powerful tools to help you deploy an ERP solution that meets the exact requirements of your business. For most major functionality, we prefer to include the solution in the main, supported product, so no one has to worry about maintaining custom software. But sometimes an extremely narrow requirement exists, perhaps a unique business process that needs to be mirrored in the software. These situations are good candidates for a scripted approach — custom screens built with the xTuple ERP Screen Builder and Qt's implementation of JavaScript — called "extensions." Customers can develop their own screens and scripts, or they can have xTuple-trained partners do the work for them. If a customer engages xTuple HQ to develop custom screens and scripts, we certify them for the current release of xTuple ERP only, as minor tweaks may be required to keep custom scripts working 100% in future versions of the base product. If xTuple does that tweaking, it requires a separate services engagement, and the same rule applies for custom reports built with the integrated OpenRPT report writer. In both cases, the skills required to build and maintain these custom elements are fairly common — standard SQL for database reporting, and XML and JavaScript for custom screens. xTuple partners — serving customers who do not have these basic IT skills in-house — are a great resource. Our goal is not to maintain a multitude of customized enhancements, but rather to have as many people as possible using the tools to provide this last 1% of the solution. See Extensions on xTuple's GitHub wiki.

xTuple provides a complimentary (FREE) generic 2-year license key for single-users of our core offering — PostBooks® — upon submitting a simple registration form. You're also provided instructions for updating the license in order to log into your xTuple database. Effective Tuesday, September 1, 2015, qualified companies who need two to four (2-4) concurrent users will still receive a free license key with our compliments, whether or not they choose to engage commercially with us. Requests for five (5) and more concurrent users require purchase of a commercial license to the software. With our special community discount offer, though, you could own a commercially-licensed 5-user PostBooks® system for the low price of just ONE (1) user. Our goal is continual improvement of xTuple products, from the free and open source versions to the commercial Editions. Product registration provides us the opportunity to learn more about the individuals, the companies and the industries using the application in order to continue developing a business management solution with our customers' needs in mind. It all starts with xTuple PostBooks® – the completely free and open source product baseline, of which everyone has access to the full source code. Companies who want additional vertical functionality also have commercial open source software license options with full-feature packaged Editions. See CEO Ned Lilly's blog post about our PostBooks® policy.

Licensing and Payments

xTuple's license manager (in the commercial Editions of the software) counts only concurrent users connected to the database. While you'll want to set up accounts on the system for all of your named users, from a licensing perspective, we only count the ones connected at any given time. As a general rule, allow for one (1) or two (2) seats more than you think you need — to allow room for growth and unencumbered usage at peak times in your business. The license manager also distinguishes between internal xTuple users connecting via the xTuple client or another xTuple GUI tool (CSV import, xTuple Connect, etc.) and external connections to the database by other programs, including any Web-based systems, database tools, and other custom applications you may need to connect to xTuple through the APIs. For all on-site commercial Editions of xTuple, there is a five (5) user minimum purchase (although there are no minimums in the xTuple Cloud service). For every internal xTuple user license you purchase, you receive an external license at no additional cost, e.g., if you buy a five-user license, you can have up to ten (10) concurrent connections to your xTuple database, of which up to five (5) can be via the xTuple client. More on License Options.

Software maintenance — access to all upgrades, major and minor — is included in the annual license, similar to a subscription. You are licensed to use the software as long as you are current on your payments (paid either annually or monthly). If your account is more than 30 days late, you may be in default of your license and support agreements. More on License Options.

The perpetual license is a one-time purchase of the then-current version of the software. Software maintenance is priced separately — currently at 10% of the current per-user license cost, and required for at least the first year. Direct support from xTuple is another 10% in addition to maintenance, which is a prerequisite for support. More on License Options.

Please don't. You won't have access to vital support from xTuple — or any certified partner — if you're not current on maintenance. And, it's far more expensive to get back on, if you've gone off maintenance. Not only must you make up all of your back payments, there's an additional penalty, which starts at 50% of the amount owed. For example, if you missed paying for two years of maintenance on 10 users, and maintenance was priced at 10% of $3,600 (or $360), then to become current, you would pay the following:

  • Back Maintenance owed: $7,200
  • Penalty: $3,600
  • Total Due: $10,800

Was it worth it? Just to avoid paying $3,600 per year (or even $360/month) for the software that runs your business? (Note: Assuming your two-year old data was in a pristine state and didn't need any consulting services for clean up — which does not happen in the history of software.) If you're worried about cashflow, take advantage of our monthly billing option. There's rarely a happy ending to a broken maintenance agreement. Contact us on License Options.


Your account would be in default, and xTuple is within our legal rights to remove the software altogether. Contact us on License Options.

To receive your complimentary generic single-user license key for xTuple PostBooks® Edition, please fill out the PostBooks® registration form, and we will provide you with a new 2-year license and instructions for updating the license in order to log into your xTuple database. If you request a key for multiple users, have questions, or are interested in a commercial PostBooks® license (which includes unlimited access to our customer support portal), the xTuple Sales Team will reach out to you from your form submission. We also provide a guide to assist beginners with downloading, installing and using open source business management software xTuple PostBooks® for the first time. Effective Tuesday, September 1, 2015, requests for five (5) and more concurrent users require purchase of a commercial license to the software. With our special community discount offer, though, you could own a commercially-licensed FIVE-user PostBooks® system for the low price of just ONE (1) user. See CEO Ned Lilly's blog post about our PostBooks® policy.

Partner Program Info

The PostBooks® Edition of xTuple ERP is available as a free version of the software — and many of our partners make a good living by delivering professional services and support for PostBooks®. There are also commercially-licensed Editions of xTuple ERP, and partners earn commissions on sales of those products. Other xTuple products and services — such as training classes, network services, even hardware appliances — are commissionable as well. Some partners provide those things as part of their own offerings. With this range of opportunities, xTuple partners have a solution for a variety of business needs and budgets. As one of our partners once told us, "we have the best of both worlds!" Learn more about the xTuple Partner Program.

No. xTuple is designed to meet the needs of small- to mid-sized businesses who are not likely to have a programmer on staff. And we're not going to force our partners into programming if that's not their business. xTuple ERP is purposely easy to install, because it has to be, and xTuple provides our partners with unlimited technical support through all phases of the customer engagement — from demo to decision-making to project planning to piloting to implementation to operation, and all points in between. However, if you do enjoy digging deeper into the code, there are many additional revenue streams to be realized in developing new base functionality, whether sponsored by a customer, custom screens and scripts, and, of course, custom reports with the embedded OpenRPT report writer. More on the open source xTuple Community.

xTuple is operating system/platform-agnostic. Both the client and the server software run on Windows — as well as Mac OS X, Linux, and even other Unix systems. Mobile, too. You — and your customers — can mix and match however you like, leveraging investments in existing technology without having to buy all new systems. That of course frees up more money for you. Who uses xTuple?

Yes. Open Source systems are proven to be more secure than traditional software. It may be a bit counterintuitive — that a product with freely-viewable source code could be more secure than something that's locked up, proprietary, and “hidden.” In fact, with the enforced vigor and peer review inherent to open source, potential vulnerabilities are identified and fixed much more quickly and easily. In one well-publicized event, an application was open-sourced by a vendor who had been “supporting” this application to customers including large banks and the U.S. military for years. Within 24 hours of the source code being publicly available, a major back door security hole — which had been there for years — was identified and fixed by an open source developer looking at the code, for the very first time. Some of the most used and most popular softwares in the world today are open source: Google, WordPress, Magento, Bootstrap, Node.js, JQuery, PostgreSQL, Drupal (including this website and our eCommerce product) to name a few. Read the Top Ten Reasons to Use Open Source.

Support and Business Continuity

What would you — and your business — do if disaster strikes?

That is what XTN (xTuple Network Remote Upgrade Service) is all about. XTN offers three (3) levels of service. From simple Business Continuity for nightly backups, to Basic for managed installation of software upgrades and troubleshooting, to our Premium offering to include advanced database tuning resulting from user-created data problems, plus tweaks to custom reports and scripts associated with moving from version to another. When you entrust your essential business information to one database, you need to know your data is protected. Take advantage of xTuple's off-site cloud storage to prevent catastrophic business interruptions. More on XTN.

All xTuple ERP installations are eligible for XTN Services whether running Enterprise, Distribution, Manufacturing or PostBooks® Editions. More on XTN.

A copy of the backup is stored on your server, and another copy is securely sent to our data center. This ensures you will always have the latest copy of your database available. xTuple stores a minimum of the five (5) most recent backups plus one backup each week for a minimum of one (1) year. Due to network-related problems, the most recent backups may not always be consecutive by day. More on XTN.

The backup is scheduled to run during the night, and we coordinate it with other automated tasks that may also run overnight, such as the Batch Manager. We setup SSH (Secure Shell) encrypted tunnel. For added protection, one backup per week for one year is also stored. More on XTN.

Peace of mind. Protection of critical business data. There are numerous backup and upgrade options available, and knowing that you have access to your backups at any time, along with the added protection of off-site storage is the ultimate business continuity / disaster recovery plan.

xTuple handles the restore of your most recent backup to minimize down time and data loss. We can also stand-up the restored database in the cloud immediately upon notification, if there is a problem with your on-site server. Notify xTuple of your system crash!

If your company has an xTuple Support Contract, you can reach the xTuple Support Team either by telephone or by opening a support ticket on the xTuple community site. Each xTuple Support Contract specifies two "named support contacts" — the people at your company who are eligible to contact the xTuple support team for help. If you are not a named support contact and need help, ask your question(s) of the named support contacts at your company. They will either know the answers to your questions — or they can contact the xTuple Support Team to help get you the assistance you need. Note: Web-only support is included for xTuple Cloud customers and also customers who have purchased Commercial PostBooks®. Web-only support allows for one named support contact per company.

Visit the Community Hub for xTuple ERP where you'll find self-help resources such as xTuple's Next Business Blog with tracks focused on Business, Operations, Technology and Web/eCommerce; Forum, our online meeting place where ideas and views on topics ranging from announcements to how-tos to internationalization can be exchanged; Issue tracker for bug-reporting and feature requests; Frequently asked questions; Developer Zone with documentation such as Product Guides, Demo Guides, details on how to download and use the software; links to xTuple's GitHub resources; and xTuple University.

Support options vary from free community resources to paid expert consulting. Contact the xTuple Support Team for help to find out which selection is right for your business.

Product Questions

Want to compare xTuple Products and Prices? Use the xTuple Pricing Calculator to easily compare your options — by numbers of concurrent licenses, software edition, hosting and payment plans. Evaluate product features between editions and modules. Also consider support and consulting preferences for business setup and continuity.