xtuple-online-xchange-open-sourcexTuple is a small open source company with big plans. A prime example: The maker of enterprise resource planning (ERP) software has launched an xChange Online App Store for customers and channel partners. Here's the scoop, from The VAR Guy.

The xTuple xChange, launched June 2, features a growing list of "snap-in" tools for xTuple's ERP applications. Initial options include:
  • a Point-of-Sale (POS) package, which adds retail cash register management capabilities to xTuple.
  • a Batch Manager to proces  resource-intensive jobs separately from the ERP application, in addition to handling all outgoing email messages and transaction documents.
  • Dozens of custom reports contributed by community members.
  • Scripts to connect xTuple ERP to the osCommerce shopping cart software,, Drupal content management system and Yahoo! Merchant Solutions Websites.
There is no cost to list, and all submissions are reviewed by xTuple product experts.

Real Partner Opportunities?

Admittedly, xTuple isn't a channel powerhouse. But the open source ERP specialist quietly has been building a partner program.

The VAR Guy spotted Danielle Kerner, director of xTuple's partner program, at the SMB Nation show (designed for VARs) on May 1, 2009. And xTuple landed on the Open Source 50 -- a report that tracks the most promising open source partner programs -- back in December 2008.

Ned Lilly, president and CEO of xTuple, says channel partners are embracing the xTuple xChange. A prime example: Vancouver-based Yellow Dog Consulting offers its wireless barcode solution on the xChange.

Hits and Misses

Of course, application exchanges have had hit-and-miss results.

A case in point: The VAR Guy expected Red Hat Exchange to emerge as a massive channel opportunity when the exchange launched in March 2007. But in reality, Red Hat Exchange doesn't seem to have a major channel following so far.

And now, Red Hat is partnering up with Synnex to launch the Open Source Channel Alliance -- which aims to train 15,000 Synnex VARs on open source solutions.

Meanwhile, Canonical has built an online store for Ubuntu and a few applications certified for that Linux distribution. But so far, those efforts appear very limited.

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