How can SENAITE be maintained Open Source

And what you can do to keep (niche) Open Source Projects like SENAITE alive.


SENAITE [ˈsenəˌīt] was founded in 2017 by the two companies RIDING BYTES and NARALABS as a derivate work (code fork) of Bika LIMS, that took actually place by a historic Pull Request already in 2016.

Both companies contributed significantly before to the Bika LIMS project and decided to go for this new project because of unresolved naming issues and major differences how Open Source Projects should work.

Basically, the disagreement that companies building their business around an Open Source project like e.g. SENAITE, need to pay (direct or indirect), like in a Frenchise model to the name holder, for being part of it.

In January 4th 2018, the first version of senaite.core was released and Bika LIMS reached its end of life by this date.

At the time of writing, the SENAITE Core team worked on 1,555 changed files with 417,975 additions and 431,311 deletions compared to the first released version and released as well several amazing Add-ons.

How can SENAITE be (and stay) free of charge

We believe in Open Source Projects, or like Linus Torvalds once said:

“I think, fundamentally, open source does tend to be more stable software. It’s the right way to do things.”

However, building a business around an Open Source Project is challenging and this is probably because most people have no idea who the people behind such a project are and how they get paid for their work.

You already know now that there are two companies behind SENAITE, but what we did not tell you yet is how we can afford to work on a project that is free of charge.

In fact, we earn money by selling services around SENAITE, like e.g. development, consultancy, digital products like a turn-key ready Virtual Machine, ongoing support etc. – and this is also where all the new and great stuff comes into the core, sometimes bugs were fixed or how new SENAITE Add-ons were invented.

However, all of this works only if labs (a) use SENAITE and (b) people believe that it is worth to support the Project.

We believe that this is can be only possible, if the base system (core) is a solid and well-maintained piece of software, so that all of the base functionality works without issues.

Consequently, we put a lot of efforts in fixing bugs of the core, giving support to the community in our Gitter Chatroom or on our Community Site. All of these are voluntary and unpaid.

As you can imagine is that finding the right balance between paid and unpaid work is one part of the challenges, but the other one is how to communicate to the labs and the community users how they can contribute to support SENAITE.

One of the ways to support SENAITE is to order services from us (the service providers). The advantages for you (and the community) are that we always try to bring new features back to the core for the benefit of all the users and that the code meets our high quality standards.

With the support of great institutions and companies who have chosen this approach in the past (Thanks to all of them!), we were able to build this pice of software you are probably running at the moment in your laboratory.

Nevertheless, there are also other ways where each of you can contribute for the welfare of the Project and the Community, like e.g.:

Please consider therefore to support us as the service providers or to contribute by yourself to the Project, to keep SENAITE also in the future Open Source and free of charge to everyone.

Thanks for your support and for using SENAITE, Ramon

– Member of the SENAITE Community, Core Developer and Owner of RIDING BYTES