Thursday, January 28, 2010

Getting Open ERP latest stable code

Simple and easy:

Create a directory. System must have Python and Bazaar...

bzr branch lp:openerp


You will then get: client, server, web, addons, addons-extra and even the addons-community stuff !

Easy, official, enjoy !

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Changing grub default booting kenel on Ubuntu 9.10

Hm, I am having some trouble with the Vaio (still makes fan noise) but now it does not boot properly by default.

I think this is due to a software update... So my solution right away is to boot the previous version which is still on the disk....

  • vi /etc/default/grub
  • change GRUB_DEFAULT=0 value to 2 (kernel variation are installed by 2 - normal & safe)

  • run "update-grub" 
  • you can reboot then

To check the kernel used -> uname -r.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Open ERP back from the technical training

So I am back from my Tiny technical Open ERP training. This finishes our upgrade to the Silver partnership.

Yes we are Silver partner ! And we did it by the rules (meaning I am having some troubles about the partnership program...)

I learned a lot during these 5 days concerning the customization of the product, how to extend it and how it works. This was a worth attending class ! Well the subject is difficult and sometimes the throughput was high. I need now to find time to consolidate that knowledge...

It seems the same trainer does the functional training. I suppose it must be good too - for sure better than the one I followed last year.

The course lacked real exercises and a complete doc. Although again their trainer (Olivier) has written a very handy memento for programmers. It should be available soon through Tiny... But I don't know yet what will be the format and if it will be free...

The logistic of the course itself was terrible (the first day, the room was damned cold, staying seated in a cold room is a pain and I am sick since Wednesday), the restrooms were non operational and locked until Wednesday (we had to queue in antoher part of the building), etc etc. It seems this was the last course given in their offices in Grand-Rosière and that they will move to a more confortable and professional location... I ope not too far however...

The other attendees were very nice thus making the class enjoyable if not comfortable...

On the Tiny web site but also on the SUN site you will find announcement of the partnership between Tiny and SUN. See

This will of course gives great visibility to Open ERP.

Technically speaking, it means that there is now a branch of Open ERP built on top of SQLAlchemy (a Pythin based ORM). This makes possible to support MySQL instead of Postgress. Functionally this has little value (sorry to say so). Please also note this is nor the official trunk nor the stable version !

In theory, all databases supported by SQLAlchemy will work (I should avoid the term 'supported' because in fact nobody knows what will be effectively supported at this stage). Commercially, this will could be a good selling point. But when... I think.... Ideally... We can get the same support for Microsoft stuff (SQL Server and IIS). That would  make very much sense as the commercial target of Open ERP fits very well with the Microsoft Small Business server ranges...

Anyway, for the first time I took notes using Freemind. So I have electronic traces of my training... I will try to clean and pack a few things on the blog in the coming days...

Monday, January 18, 2010

Python IDE - switched to PyDev

Last week, I wanted to prepare to my OpenERP technical training. So I was ready to buy one licence for Wingware. I don't mind paying for a licence, but I don't like their activation limit. I am spending my time installing new pcs, real and virtual one. Will I have to negociate with them exta-keys?

So I decided to give a try to Eclipse 3.5.x. Installing Eclipse is fairly easy, specially on Ubuntu 9.10. Adding PyDev ( took me only a few minutes.

The net result is an excellent IDE probably exceeding Wingware. Very stable and with a bunch of nice features. The ultimate test: debugging OpenERP ! Yes it does without a problem.

So clearly, it is better than a text editor (although gedit is not that bad with plugins) a bit less user friendly than Netbeans (my point of view), yet an excellent tool for programming Python & OpenERP.

I hope later one this week to be able to add Bazaar support to it...

In my class today, I think almost the half of the students have Eclipse on their machine. Kind of standard !

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Open ERP - various news - events - plugins - next release

First the Tiny partners event has been rescheduled  to March 25.

Before that, there will be a community event open to all interested parties.

From what I understand this will correspond to the next release (at least announcements) - either 5.2 or 6.0?

I also got a contact with Axelor the new commercial plugins will be officially released and available for purchase end of this month.

There are 3 plugins :
Outlook : Sync of calendar, contact and tasks + possibility to link messages to OpenERP objects - like a contract...

Word :  Mail merge with objects.
Excel - Business intelligence.

The plugins will be sold either separately or in a bundle per pack of 10 / 20 or 50 licences with an included subscription and e-mail support.

The price information I got seems affordable to me (but I don't want to publish it before they do), there will be a free evaluation version.

Friday, January 08, 2010

Some JPA for a tiny library management app

I am part of the parents comittee of my kids school. Among our projects we are trying to setup a small library for kids.

I like helping the community but  these projects are challenging because we run on a nearly zero € budget.

So I proposed myself to manage the book catalog. I built a year ago a small Java app for printing stickers with barcode (an opportunity for doing raw printing). Now I am working on the application to mange book leases.

I took this opportunity to use JPA for building a Swing desktop application. The databasee has been designed directly with MySQL. I imported the schema and Netbeans (6.8) generated the persistene unit and the Java classes. Good but the generation was a bit disappointing. Foreign keys (many to one) were not implemented as reference to Java objects, so I had to code this myself.

What I like with JPA is the feeling to be isolated from the DB specificities without being tight to one JPA provider. I switched just to try from Hibernate to TopLink to EclipseLink, it works great.

Building Java Swing application is rumored to be a pain. With Netbeans it is relatively confortable.... You can drag and drop components on forms as you do with Delphi or VB.

The interface builder is doing something very nice. By looking at how you position components it deduces rules you would like to see respected. Nice, things get properly aligned and are well adaptative when you expand windows. Conceptually that's perfect.

Yesterday, I was almost finished with the app, being able to lease out and log book returns... Unfortunately I tried to fix a couple of glitch in the status bar of the app. What I did? Don't know. The net result is that after three hours of work last night, my entire layout collapsed and the app is basically unusable at this stage...

No partner meeting at Tiny

There was an announcement last year for a partners event. A few partners complained about the sort notice (calling in December for January...) and the fact it was still holidays in some countries. I checked early in the week. The event is postponed to an undefined date.

It is a nice team of people but they still lack a bit of organization.

I subscribed to the next technical training. So next week I will be back to OpenERP and Python...

Wait and see...

First week almost gone already... - recovering OpenOffice file

Well seeing the first week almost finished is a pain. I have some much to do (this week, this month, this year...) and have the feeling of having done so little...

Early this week a friend sent us a corrupted OpenOffice file. When trying to open it  we got 'The file xxx is corrupt and therefore cannot be opened. Should repair the file'.

Well accepting this just opened a blank document. So repaired, yes, but empty...

OpenOffice documents are in fact zipped structure so I renamed the file to and unzip it. At least I could grab the content of the file (content.xml).  So the next step would have been to clean the xml tgas get the content...

I stopped there and tried something else. May be you will think I am sick. I opened it with Word 2007. Word also detected something wrong BUT the recovery was... perfect... So it  seems the odf parser of Word is pretty good !

Saturday, January 02, 2010

The lost decade for IT? Best wishes for 2010 !

As we celebrate new year and also the start of a new decade, a lot of reviews article flourished on the net. There, you may rank your favorite gadget, technology or fashion device. Other articles review historical events or political trends, many follows the Top xx scheme.
So far, the best I saw is is on Der Spiegel online The Lost Decade - What the World Can Learn from 10 Years of Excesses). It is worth reading and basically shows 2000-2009 as a lost decade marked by 9/11, wars (against terror), the regression of civil rights, the lost of brilliance of democracy, the cut between real street and Wall street… this is a worth reading article. So what about me and IT ?

Personal changes
For me this decade has been astonishingly short. Obviously these dramatic changes in the global geo-politic context have taken some mental energy and promoted a kind of day to day survival attitude. The arrival of two kids also changed a lot my priorities and way of living. Much less travel and more home based work have been my new standards. The Internet with VPN connections made this possible.

Professionally this decade has been Java based. I enjoyed the language and I enjoyed even much more not being dependent of a single vendor like I was with Delphi. However I continue to think it would have been possible to make much more, much better with a bit of effort and much less arrogance from the Java camp and its historical steward – aka SUN. Announcing less and delivering more that would have been great!

Internationalization – productivity
This decade has profoundly changed the economic landscape with globalization. Nearly all sectors have seen their organizations changed as China, India and a few other countries entered on the global market. There is no reason why one can earn his life here and not there. I remark otherwise that the price reduction related to off-shoring is sustained by lack of productivity improvement. Nor the methodology camp (e.g: UML) nor the agile camp provided a serious relief. Moving to dynamic language on the argument to save time on compile is far from what I call productivity improvement. There is still a lot to go to improve software developer productivity.

Google but not the semantic web
On the side of the best invention that changed my day to day life. I cannot forget Google. Yes, I Google a lot. Error codes, product numbers, technologies, bugs  etc There is no day for me without Googling anymore. Truly a good thing, I think. ..

On the other side, this Googling attitude reflects some failures in information organization. Web sites are very often focusing on the flashy side of the communication more than on real information organization, functionality and accessibility.

A bit more than 10 years ago, first web sites were usually built by IT departments focusing more on the web server stuff than on the message to convey on the web. Shortly after, this decade started with the raise of glossy marketing based web sites. That’s a pain and it seems to continue hopelessly. Only those sites that merged information culture, sharp technical design and sense of usability emerged: Google, Wikipedia, Amazon…

We can see in the Google success a global failure to extend the semantic web which was an attempt to build interoperability to classify information and link things intelligently…

Abandon of interoperability and of our citizen rights
The abandon of interoperability is a general and dramatic turn of the end of this decade in IT. When I started looking at the Internet protocols – that is back to 1985. Interoperability was the top subject among networkers. Asking everybody to connect to the same system / provider to exchange information (at that time messages) was considered an obscene non-sense. These were the years one of the most original IT fair / get together was called ‘Interop’.

Dreaming an ideal interoperable world made an entire industry and changed the world

From this seek of openness and interoperability, we have seen emerging the Internet, the web and all the things that go with them.

Unfortunately business centralization powered by an aggressive capitalist seek of immediate profitability has turned the focus on central, closed, non interoperable systems.  I am not writhing anything against capitalism or profit but against a closed, non-democratic, unfair short term minded approach.

Typically that’s the so called ‘social networking / twittering ‘ things. Technologically that’s nothing, functionally not that much either but the surrender is enormous as we give up our private information, liberty, freedom of speech and intellectual property to (commercial) entities.

Security acts excessively affected citizen rights but are unable to grant a risk free world
This trend is accentuated by national security laws issued as a consequence of terror acts. All democratic countries have seen their civil right decreased. In a few cases for the good (may be) but in most cases for the bad. The recent terrorist attempt shows clearly that the loss of privacy in communication has done little to improve security yet the attacks against the independent press and the non-governmental associations continue to surge. The danger is serious to lose much more than we can win.

The 'one way of thinking' dominated and pushed the press of the largest and most established democratic country to support the war in Irak while the so called evidences of the Weapon of Mass Destruction were nothing more than (poorly) animated Powerpoints.

Media decoding in the human sense need to be explained to our children but more unfortunately to most citizens and I am afraid even to a lot of professionals.

Intellectual property & centralizing trend
February first, Belgium will extend its taxes on various media storage devices in order to reward musical artists. In spite of what some says (for example Chris Anderson with its book Free), the issue of intellectual property rewarding is far from being solved. Wikipedia authors are not paid by Wikipedia, but how do they live? Somebody must pay them for what they do. Why not for their expertise? The so called free model seems to be supportable only by huge market and giant operators.  In any case the Belgian taxes looks like a tax on electricity to support gaz lamp lighters…
Until now, intellectual property protection for software had little success to establish copy protection or fight reverse engineering. The centralization / software as a service / cloud computing stuff is an attempt to keep the software source inaccessible to users.

While understandable, this is not acceptable if we cannot masterize the life of our own data. Interoperability and privacy are simply implemented with personal devices (this was the great expectation from personal computing at the end of the seventies) but are technological challenges for centralized systems.

We should not surrender or give up on that. This is a call against tyranny, for democracy and civil rights.

Reasons to hope at least to act
A few weeks ago, the Copenhagen submit closed without concrete decisions. I remarked in my surrounding some climate-change skeptics . Everybody has the right to his own opinion. But their arguments are globally not scientific but sophist. Arguments against smoking restriction and creationist are very similar. Again that’s frightening….

Ecologists are usually standing on the left side of the political scene and took global posture against the capitalist world because of devastating industries. Again that’s understandable, although observance of nature destruction by socialist and communist countries should merit serious investigation from most ecologists.

My conviction is that a new economy has to be rebuilt not by re-engineering finance but by enforcing global, multi-factors ethic decisions processes in all our economic and social behaviors. Intense analytic decisions and global transparency will be needed, there IT may help.

Independently of any arguments for or against climate changes. I am convinced that doing anything cleanly is better. Some pretend that this new ecological target will prevent business and will cut jobs. I don’t agree, new industries have to be built; they will bring new jobs and opportunities. Being able to bring wealth to all human instead of a minority will be sign of success.

Helping modestly to build the necessary network of knowledge will be, I hope, on the roadmap of my next decade.

Best wishes for 2010!

Christophe Hanon