martes, 17 de marzo de 2009

More about Alfresco vs Nuxeo

Edited: You can read our blog in english or visit our website.

Daniel Téllez pointed this comparison between Alfresco and Nuxeo, in the Nuxeo Group at Linkedin.
The writer, Jonas Sigurdsson, was a Software Development Engineer at Microsoft. Currently works at Gagnavarslan ehf as a Development Manager.
I found it tremendously interesting. Go ahead and read it, it's worth it:

"Here is my view of the two after some research. Note that these are my conclusions after evaluating the two platforms - not scientific facts.

1. Open Source vs. "You can read *OUR* source"

Nuxeo is a typical company backed open source project. The project has a somewhat growing community but coding activity is still mostly done by Nuxeo employees. The project is managed from a single branch and community members can submit code. Stabilized releases immediately become available. Mailing lists are moderately active. There is a general feel of openness around everything and friendly atmosphere.

Alfresco interpretation of open-source is quite confusing to me. The product comes in two flavors.

• Labs: Open source branch which is never stabilized (bug fixes are merged along with new features so you can never know if the code is perfectly stable). This branch is not recommended for any production work. It does not include all automated tests. This version is supported for testing and experimenting only.
• Enterprise: Stabilized closed-source commercial version. This version is tested and stabilized and will cost you somewhere around €16k pr. CPU (not including high availability / clustering nor WCM).

Alfresco appears to have active community in forums but I often wonder how much of it is truly "community" and how much of it is actually done by their employees or contractors. Also, I wonder if Alfresco partners are allowed to support the Labs version at all.

2. Out of the box functionality.

Out of the box, Alfresco feels much like MS Sharepoint. It's obvious IMO that Alfresco is locating the platform as "The Open Source Sharepoint alternative".

In that way Alfresco has more offering out of the box. You can see that Alfresco is venture backed company with considerable resources. Recently they have been moving in giant leaps where every new release contains massive improvements and amazing new features. Lot's of cool stuff related to collaboration and web 2.0 style application development can be found in the new Surf platform. The content repository is also extremely scalable and loaded with advanced with features like Web Project Branching, CIFS, etc.

Nuxeo feels more like a platform then a complete product out of the box. It does not give the same easily accessible user experience as Alfresco but as soon as you start diving into it you can sense that it is very powerful and well thought out. I have noticed that technical people (IT admins) tend to favor Alfresco with it's Sharepoint like portal UI and "just another CIFS file share" approach where Information specialists and Record managers favor the clean structure of Nuxeo's "Record + Attachments" approach which is more aligned with best practices in record/document management.

Nuxeo offers lots of extra features, like WSS, email integration, etc. but much of those are extensions you need to find, download and install on your own.

3. Extensibility

Both platforms are very extensible.

Alfresco extensibility is based on AOP which is very flexible although sometimes difficult to grasp.

Nuxeo has managed to keep many great ideas from their previous Zope based system integrating those ideas with a modern JEE application stack. Nuxeo is very extensible and well designed. Everything is pluggable using extension points which is a great pattern and considerably less confusing to mange in large-scale, heavily customized systems compared to AOP (IMHO).

4. Even more opinionated points...

I guess it's obvious from above notes that I favor Nuxeo. For me they key selling points are:

• True Open Source model. Truly open project and friendly atmosphere for outside contributors.
• Strong company behind the product with solid funding providing range of services.
• Great looking and solid code. Utilizing best of breed Java technologies.
• Strong design-patterns for building on the platform and credible future road-map.

There is one issue with Nuxeo I must mention since we have been postponing our work with Nuxeo while we wait for the upcoming 5.2 release. This is because Nuxeo is moving away from the Jackrabbit repository to a new SQL database based repository system. I think this is a wise decision but it leads to a period where you don't want to start a new project using the current version given how different the upcoming version is going to be. Also, considering that this is *the repository* it might take some time and minor upgrades before you will trust it for your customer's valuable data. On the other hand I have full faith in Nuxeo to deliver a solid solution here in due time.

Hope this helps you with evaluating Nuxeo and Alfresco. "

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22 comentarios:

  1. I really wonder why Nuxeo and its fans spend so much time comparing to Alfresco. IMHO it's a pure waste of time and talent.

  2. Hi Gabriel,
    First of all, thanks for coming and expressing your opinion.
    It's not Nuxeo spending time, it's Yerbabuena and Alfresco so far.. the guys @ Nuxeo are doing their hard work for Nuxeo 5.2, which looks very promising. And we get full benefit from it, in a pure open source environment ;-)

    On the other hand, we (as in Yerbabuena Software) take full benefit of the comparisons we have done. They have brought the attention to us from top 35 companies in Spain (IBEX-35) and from a top french bank (from the headquarters at Madrid).
    It has been great so far, many people didn't know about Nuxeo, and we want to show them that there's another tool.
    Especially in Spain, we can compete extremely well against Alfresco and other ECM solutions. We can provide a highly valuable product out of the box at a price 50% lower (AT LEAST) than the Alfresco partners, and we can make this commitment public and stick to it.
    Kind Regards.

  3. The main reason people compare Nuxeo and Alfresco is that Nuxeo takes Alfresco's source code, changes a few class names and the copyright header and then calls it it's own. It's really quite funny to see how Nuxeo have a "great new feature" a few months after Alfresco release it.

  4. Yes so the extension points model is a copy of Alfresco?
    And having a truly open environment is a copy too?
    And having only one branch of Enterprise code available to anyone?

    Nuxeo switched to Java after Alfresco was using it, so obviously:
    -Nuxeo is built using newer Java technologies
    -Nuxeo has learnt from mistakes made from Alfresco (something which benefits Alfresco too).
    -Nuxeo was in Open Source ECM business before Alfresco was company.

    Now you go get the facts, and really.. take a look at the Nuxeo code, because you obviously haven't.

    Best regards,

  5. I've read this comparison and found it very interesting... One this I have noticed at looking at the code of both products is that as the post above mentions, Nuxeo does seem to take Alfresco's source code, rename the methods, and use it as their own. Take their recently announced Sharepoint integration - it is a blatant rip-off. For an open source company such as Nuxeo to do this is inexcusable - ripping off another Open Source product is the cardinal sin in open source...

  6. Antonio, I followed your advice an had a look at the code. Especially after reading the previous comments. Unfortunately they are right ! Nuxeo has clearly copied/pasted the Alfresco source code to build its Sharepoint implementation ! That's a clear GPL violation ! I have no words to qualify such a thing !

    It's not difficult to be cheaper when selling stolen things ! I can't believe these guys spend their time saying "we are pure open source".

    We do not have the same definition of purity and I promise I'll never look again to Nuxeo.

  7. Antonio,

    Ok, perhaps I overreacted to this subject but I'm think copying/pasting a GPL code AND removing headers and copyright is an infringement. Perhaps I'm wrong, I'm not a lawyer.

    Anyway, I'm not nuxeo or Alfresco (I'm more versed in EXO). As regards EXO: they use Alfresco code (CIFS) and they have the right to do so, but they do not try to hide it. That's the point that really bothers me.

  8. Whoops:

  9. hehehehe... and reading the code looking for differences is not wasting time ?

  10. Yes, there is *one* file which is almost similar in Nuxeo and Alfresco, and it has been committed by an external contractor. Thanks to the anonymous poster for pointing it out.

    We haven't found any other files with any consequential level of similarity, other than (which comes from the public domain - see ), and common JavaScript libraries such as JQuery, Prototype or Tiny MCE.

    Since we have a very strong policy of not copying anything that would infringe on other people's licenses, we have decided to take down the module which contains the problematic file, pending further investigation.

    S. Fermigier, Nuxeo.

  11. "Since we have a very strong policy of not copying anything that would infringe on other people's licenses"

    Yeah right

  12. Someone at Nuxeo clearly made a mistake.
    Since eveything is open : you can see it, this is not hidden.
    Of course, people that hide part of their source code, don't have that kind of problems :)

    From my experience (Alfresco, Exo or Nuxeo), each solution is very different :
    - on what they want to provide (features)
    - on how they provide it (technical solutions)

    So I don't see you point : yes, you found traces that show that someone at Nuxeo was too lazy to ripp the WSS html dialogs from http by himself ...

  13. Business & Decision Romania, as a subcontractor for Nuxeo SA France, in charge of developing some specific components for the Nuxeo EP solution, licensed under the LGPL, acknowledges that due to a regrettable mistake, some copyrighted code belonging to Alfresco, licensed under the GPL license, have been pushed to the public repository belonging to Nuxeo WSS Implementation, NXWSS. The infringed code has not been used in Nuxeo’s product in any way, as it wasn’t linked to the WSS Implementation product. The reason it was pushed in the public repository is that the developers team was comparing their own solution with Alfresco’s solution on one of the development workstations at the time of the commit. Measures were taken to remove the copyrighted code as soon as the mistake was discovered and the NXWSS functionality was not affected by this. Also, the above mentioned practice will be prohibited from now on.

    Business & Decision Romania takes full responsibility for this unfortunate event. We take matters like this very serious and we will enforce stricter rules for all developers in order to avoid such events to happen in the future. We let Nuxeo SA take the appropriate actions following these events.

  14. I agree with what has been said before:
    in a truly open environment, if a mistake like this happens, everyone can tell.

    The important thing is always improving and improving.. and learning from mistakes. And doing everything on a lean environment, such as the one provided by the Nuxeo Community and Nuxeo SAS.

    That's what services, open source, subscriptions etc are all about.

  15. Talking about services, I look at the Nuxeo partner page, and they have about 15 partners worldwide. Compare this to Alfresco which has about 150. Why is this if they have been around for longer than Alfresco and have better technology? Is it true that geerally Nuxeo engineers need to install the software themselves with the customers and thus no work for the partners?

  16. Hi,

    Microsoft has more partners worldwide than Alfresco.
    Still, I don't like their products. And they've been around for less than some other software companies.

    What you imply in your second phrase is absolutely false.

    We do everything with our customers, without Nuxeo's intervention (at all!).

    And Nuxeo's install is far easier than Alfresco's, and that is true both for the Enterprise (Proprietary) and Labs (Open Source) versions of Alfresco.
    Nuxeo Enterprise (Open Source, LGPL License) is more open source than Alfresco's most open source product.

    How much do you have to pay to be Alfresco's partner?
    Is it possible to install Alfresco Enterprise without being a partner (as you CAN DO with Nuxeo Enterprise)?

  17. I haven't installed Nuxeo so can't comment, but Alfresco's is hardly difficult - can be installed and configured in about half an hour, compare that to a few days/weeks with proprietary produts.

    As far as I know, functionality wize there is no difference between the Alfresco versions - is only the QA, Legal Guarantee, Support, Platform support, etc. and release from the GPL licence. The install is exactly the same between Community Labs and Enterprise.

    My company is Alfresco partner, and we paid around 8,000€ to be an Alfresco partner. Any integrator can implement the GPL/OSS version with no cost.

  18. It's 8.000 € more than what we paid.

    I agree Alfresco brings more value, functionality and a better architecture/technology but the propietary vendors. It is the Open source model which achieves that.
    And being that Nuxeo is far more "Open" than Alfresco, that's where it's stronguer.

    It's not only what you mention that is better on the Enterprise version. It's the access to bug fixes, which is not inmediate in the GPL version, and may take for a long time.

    I suggest you go ahead and try Nuxeo (we have tried Alfresco and we didn't like it). You decide then, and if you have any questions, just tell us!

    There are important things that Alfresco has that Nuxeo doesn't for the moment, such as CIFS.
    With new version 5.2 of Nuxeo, there's a lot of things in Nuxeo that Alfresco does not have and may include later on.

    I think the key here is choosing the best configuration depending on your clients' need, other than that it's a pointless debate.

    In the long run, I think that Nuxeo will get the recognition and may become the Open Source ECM leader, and it's not a matter of who i like the most, it's a matter of closest Open Source adoption.

    In my opinion...

    Yerbabuena Software.

  19. Guys, did you look at the market shares and not reasoned only about technicalities?

    Alfresco grows exponentially every quarter and it's now scaring the big players as well, not sure what about Nuxeo.

    And BTW, also the Enterprise version is shipped with the code (thus being open source, not free software).

    And Alfresco Community and Enterprise offer the same features and same codebase, they only test and QA the Enterprise more.

    Anyways back to an older comment, useless to compare the two products as one is becoming *the* ECM open source standard while the other is still a somehow niche interesting technical product.

    That sometimes steals code ;) ;) ;)

  20. We see the customers talking trash about Alfresco EnSterprise on and on here in Spain, I can tell you that.
    There's a lot of market share in Windows Vista, but it still is an awful product.

    You speak about market shares, and you can speak about marketing.. and there Alfresco has no rival.

    But, and it is a BIG but, if you speak about a great tool, 100% open source community and FREE (as in free beers AND as in free speach), then you have to go NUXEO all the way.

    Windows is the user OS "standard", that doesn't make it a great product... we believe the same happens with Alfresco. If you buy marketing, branding and you pay for these features, which are nothing but hot air.. then just stay on Alfresco. If you want the best product and reliable technology, check

  21. I'm not talking about market share, as, luckily, I'm not a marketing guy...

    but, from the way you speak, it comes out clear that you have a pretty poor understanding of the open source processes at large.

    It's true as you say that Vista, despite a huge market share, sucks!

    But the big difference here is that, differently from Vista, Alfresco Community is completely open source and GPL, meaning that everyone can validate its quality from a technical and end user self-discovery perspective.

    So its market share and download rates (if you want to be more tech oriented) are driven and growing because of the community, not because of some anti-competition evil marketing campaign.

    I'm in the open source since ages and

    Afresco might not be perfect, but as (perfect or not) many open source projects it has the stronger community behind and that makes it already a fai reason to go for

    And about the Enterpsise version:
    I'm an open source evangelist as all of you guys...but, in enterprise contexts you need to make compromises to penetrate.

    Just to o give you an example: at the moment I'm doing a FileNet swap out, and after evaluating Nuxeo and finding it a good product, I could just not even consider it as a viable alternative to propose to the decision makers, because it didn't even nearly have the depth and breath in terms of features and service/partner network that Alfresco offers.

    As a side note, about Spain, where I'm based: Alfresco is the de facto standard for the Spanish local and central administrations, mostly enterprise clients.

    So I really wonder on what basis you say they are "talking trash"...

    My 0.02€

  22. My open source, GPL ECM is better.

    No, mine is!

    No, mine!


    Whatever. Download, try, decide. Done.