[Ilugc] Re: avsap and indian financial accounting software

Kenneth Gonsalves lawgon at thenilgiris.com
Sat Jun 17 10:46:38 IST 2006

i am cc-ing the lug on this as i feel it is an important topic

On 15-Jun-06, at 5:02 AM, Raja Subramanian wrote:

> Hi,
> I attended the May (or was it April?) ILUGC meeting and was very  
> intrigued by
> your arguments that India needs open sourced applications  
> specifically created
> for the local environment.  I had a look through avsap recently.

my thesis is very simple:

1. By far the most succesful open source model has been the 'sell it,  
free it' model. This means that an application has been built for a  
specific customer and tested in practice and then opensourced. Very  
few successful open source applications are the 'scratch the itch'  
type where the developer feels something is needed (or he wants to do  
it). The important examples are koha and sql-ledger. (Although not  
succesful, avsap falls in this category as it was originally written  
for a wholesale merchant in the local bazaar and was in production  
for two years before it was released.)

2. In any field, there should be many competing applications  
available, as it is only in a competitive environment that a  
succesful application can be developed

3. There is huge demand for customised applications in india - some  
examples, online bus booking, supermarket billing, hotel booking and  
billing etc etc. Take a look at the crappy stuff KPN travels has  
purchased - couldnt we do better?

4. This demand is being serviced mostly by customised applications -  
the indian market is not very keen on readymade packages. Example is  
nestle, which gives its distributors a package that drives them  
crazy. (I had adapted avsap to mesh into amul's whole sale system)

5. So if you want to make a successful opensource application in  
India for any purpose, first find a customer, get him to pay you,  
build it to his satisfaction and then maybe generalise it and release  
it under an opensource license

> I would like to understand the FOSS accounting packages situation a  
> bit
> better.  Thank you for taking a few moments to go through this:
> I'm not an accountant by any means, and I don't understand how Indian
> accounting is different from that in any other country.  And why  
> are the
> hundreds of financial accounting packages available on  
> freshmeat.net or sf.net
> unsuitable for Indian consumption?  What makes Tally so special or  
> different?

A large percentage of Indian firms etc want to manipulate accounts -  
tally is excellent for this purpose - no other FA package caters to  
this need

> Is it feasible to identify an existing FOSS accounts package and  
> customize it
> for Indian practices?

This is scratching an itch. Do you have a customer? if you do, you  
will find it easier to write an app from scratch than to customise an  
existing package. We think and do business differently from people in  
the west. (This is not chauvinism, it is my experience at the grass  



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