The Training and Learning Event from the Odoo Community Association (OCA) in 2020 was held online on 15 and 16 October. Amongst the 28 talks, many focused on how-to build, develop, test and use a range of Odoo features and tools. A few talks focused on the OCA itself, like "The Future of the OCA and its Governance", and "OCA: from the point of view of Odoo SA" by Fabian Pinckaers, CEO of Odoo.
As you probably know, around 2015 Odoo, introduced two editions, Odoo Enterprise and Odoo Community. Odoo's 2-edition-move was accompanied with some other changes (license, pricing). Changing the business model to "Open Core". An Open Core, keeps a core set of apps open, while Odoo Enterprise has extra modules, not available for Odoo Community, extra community modules can be combined with Odoo Enterprise.
The OCA is responsible for the quality, visibility and legal status of community modules and organizes their maintenance. Some very inspired people are involved in the OCA. However the OCA could use more visibility, members, sponsors and the community modules could use more contributors and maintainers.
The open source part of Odoo is usable for many organizations, also thanks to the extra community apps. Without the OCA many community apps would not be updated when a new version of odoo community is released.
In Fabian's presentation he starts by saying he loves the Community edition and that he sees the OCA-members as colleges from a different department. Fabian also spoke about the 2015 business-model switch. Fabian was and is convinced that 'Open Core' was needed to finance the Odoo eco-system and secure its growth.
The eco-system in his view consists of everybody related to the product, the services and the resources (see above image). OCA contributes on all 3 levels. Other than programmers there are also partners, teachers, users, marketeers and even accounting firms that are part of this eco-system. Everybody having different perspectives and expectations.
The eco-system works because of several principles: Everyone is profitable, interests are aligned, the software is modular and freedom and independence make it so that everybody can focus on their own responsibilities. These principles allow frictions to be reduced even if competing projects of the OCA and Odoo S.A. exist, such as open-upgrade versus Odoo upgrade services. Odoo has a rich eco-system and both editions, Enterprise and Community make sure that everybody in the market can be addressed, according to Fabian.
It is true that the quality of Odoo improved significantly and in 2020, it is a great product. A real competitor to proprietary software. However, for long term success, a flourishing open source core, in the product and services will be needed.