Another tale of Open Sourcery

Martyn, from Severn Delta Ltd, emailed me saying he had an Open Source story to tell. I’ve had this in my inbox for a while now, but have finally got round to publishing it.


I own 50% of a manufacturing company in Bridgwater. When we bought the company out of receivership in ’03 we had no systems at all. Our former parent company was running a character based ERP system called MAX on Unix and a Windows file serving network.

So day 1 (ish!) we set up two RH servers and installed samba, sendmail, apache etc on one for file print intranet and email and the Linux port of MAX on the other.

See this post for some other detail.

We have not been able to find a “right-sized” ERP solution for our needs to replace the ageing character based system (which had been “sunsetted” by infor in ’05). We also needed some form of CRM package to mange the growth of the company once we had moved into our new building in ’05.

So…. we decided to develop our own system in combination with an open source CRM package from a company called Senokian Solutions ( called EGS.

EGS is PHP/Ajax based and runs against PostgreSQL. It also has its own development framework based on MVC that allows you to add modules. EGS 2.0 core has CRM, Project Management, Ticketing modules and a framework that allows for integrated e-commerce apps and site content management. It is free and open source.

The tools on which the system is built are:
Linux (Ubuntu)
Smarty Template Engine
EZ pdf
XML/SWF Charts

In November 2006 I took on a developer, Dave Easeman, to help code the accounts/ERP system as I specified it – we are now 99% of the way through – although I guess we will never finish the project! We are about to go live (Jan 1st) and then the aim is to polish everything up in Quarter 1/2 2009.

See here for a link on our blog

Maybe what I’ll do is update you as we progress to “go live” on Jan 1.


Martyn Shiner
Financial Director
Severn Delta Limited

Thanks for the story Martyn, it’s very encouraging how companies such as yours (i.e. not some global enterprise with billions of dollars in the bank) are able to deploy, manage, run and develop their own IT systems using FOSS. This is a great example of just how flexible and accessible FOSS really is.

I love this quote (from the first blog link):

I will never buy a Windows based PC ever again.

Are you listening Bill?

That was written in August last year. I’m interested if you have managed to stick to that goal Martyn?

Good luck with your deployment. I genuinely hope it goes well, and please do keep us updated on your progress. You seem to have a similar tenacity to Adrian Steele at Mercian Labels who has also been blogging about their own migration to FOSS. And they also developed a core application from scratch too – for them it was a CRM/MIS app.

Tags: , , , , , ,


  • Martyn says:


    Thanks for sharing our story – I’ll keep you posted as the deployment progresses.

    …and no, we haven’t bought any windows PCs – just Dell “servers” without OS, which subsequently had Ubuntu installed on them and are used as development workstations.


  • Socceroos says:

    Very encouraging to hear! The company I work for is at a crossroads for deciding whether to migrate to FOSS. These kinds of success stories help alleviate any fears I have.

    Martyn, I hope you told Dell what you planned to do with those servers (putting Ubuntu on them). Because as they see more customer demand they will start selling Ubuntu servers as a product. And this would help Canonical a lot!



Leave a Reply

XHTML: You can use these tags:
<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>