Frequently Asked Questions

What is farmOS?

What is the farmOS software used for?

farmOS is a web-based application for agricultural management, planning, and record keeping.

Who is using farmOS?

Are there a lot of farms using farmOS?

A brief list of farms that are using farmOS is available here: Farms using farmOS. Anyone using farmOS can add their farm's name to this list.

You can also refer to the Drupal.org Usage Statistics for farmOS, which shows how many active farmOS installations are out there in the wild. Note that this only includes installations that have their "Update" module enabled.

How do I use farmOS?

How do I start using farmOS?

Refer to the Getting Started page in the User Guide.

Does farmOS cost money?

The farmOS software itself is free. Hosting the software on a web server so that you can access it from anywhere requires paying for web hosting.

Low-cost farmOS hosting is available through Farmier.

Can I use farmOS on my laptop/desktop/phone/tablet?

Yes! farmOS is a web application, which means it runs on any device that has a web browser.

It uses the Bootstrap framework to ensure that it looks good on screen sizes big and small.

Do I need internet access to use farmOS?

In general: yes. farmOS uses Google Maps for its map base layers, which require an internet connection to access. And in most cases you will want to host your farmOS installation on a web server so that it is accessible to everyone who needs to use it.

With a little ingenuity, however, it should be possible to run farmOS locally, with your own web server and locally hosted map tiles. You could be the first to try it! If you do, please share your experience so the rest of the farmOS community can learn along with you!

Who owns the data that I enter into farmOS?

You do. farmOS is not owned by any single group or individual, so neither is your data. You also have full access to the code that is storing and using that data! Why? Because farmOS is free open source software developed by a community of farmOS users.

Where can I find news?

Where are farmOS development updates posted?

Each version of farmOS is released with a set of release notes that describe all of the changes included in the release, with links to detailed descriptions and community discussions.

When farmOS is mentioned in the media, a link is added to the Press page.

Updates on farmOS development are also available on the Farmier Blog and Twitter account. Farmier is run by the lead developer of farmOS.

Why farmOS?

Why was the farmOS project started in the first place?

Eric S. Raymond's first main point in The Cathedral and the Bazaar answers this question well:

  1. Every good work of software starts by scratching a developer's personal itch.

farmOS started as a hobby project for farm mapping, planning, and record keeping. It served to fill a gap in the existing software, and provide a generalized platform that other developers could build upon.

It is now available for free as open source software.

Why open source?

Why was farmOS released under an open source license?

farmOS is built from many other open source projects - so it is only natural for it to be licensed similarly. Anyone can view the code, contribute features, and fix bugs.There is a benefit to working together on software.

What license is farmOS released under?

As an extension of the Drupal project, farmOS is licensed under the GNU General Public License (GPL) v2+.

Who owns the copyright to farmOS?

Similar to Drupal, all farmOS contributors retain copyright on their code, but agree to release it under the same license as Drupal and farmOS. If you are unable or unwilling to contribute a patch under the GPL version 2 or later, do not submit a patch.

Who owns the farmOS trademark?

farmOS is a registered trademark of Michael Stenta. For more information on the farmOS tradmark and acceptable usage, refer to the farmOS Trademark Guidelines.

Why Drupal?

Why was farmOS built on Drupal?

Drupal is one of the most widely used open source web application frameworks, powering some of the largest websites on the internet. It has a huge community of users and developers who continue to push it forward, completely independent of farmOS.

Drupal's core functionality can be extended with add-on modules. This means that new farmOS modules can be written to meet very specific requirements, and users can choose which modules they need and which they don't. For example, if you grow crops but you do not raise livestock, you can enable the Crop module, but leave the Livestock module turned off. Or if you are using a specific type of sensor to collect environmental data, you can turn on a module that is specifically made for that sensor. New modules can be written by any developer who understands Drupal.

It is also possible to build a lot of things directly in the Drupal user interface, without writing any code. The Views and Rules modules are two great examples of this. A lot of the modules that come with farmOS are built as Features, which is a module that automatically builds new modules! And we can't forget the Openlayers module, which is used to build all the maps.

Aside from flexibility, security is also a big priority in the Drupal community. Drupal sites can have multiple user logins, each with an assigned role and permissions. This allows very fine-grained access control. farmOS uses this to provide its own set of roles and permissions.

Last but not least: internationalization and localization. Drupal is used worldwide, and it provides infrastructure to translate farmOS into any language. Anyone can contribute translations, and they can be shared with the rest of the farmOS community. If you are interested in contributing a translation in your language, open an issue in the issue queues and let's get started!

Why isn't this website (farmOS.org) built with Drupal?

The first iteration of the farmOS.org site was built in Drupal, and was hosted by Farmier. Currently, farmOS.org is written in simple Markdown, built with Mkdocs, and hosted by GitHub. We decided to do this for a few reasons:

1. Keep things simple.

farmOS.org is not a dynamic website. It serves as a portal into the farmOS community and documentation. All project management, discussion, and issue tracking takes place on Drupal.org (which is powered by Drupal).

Will that change in the future? Maybe! But this works great for now.

2. Markdown is easy.

Markdown is basically plain-text, which makes it really easy to read and understand, even in its raw form. And because it is stored in simple text files, changes can be easily tracked in source control (Git).

It also lowers the barrier to contributors who want to help write documentation. Anyone can suggest changes to the content of this site, simply by forking the farmOS.org repository on GitHub, making changes to their fork, and then creating a pull request to have them included in the original repository.

3. Hosting on GitHub is free.

GitHub provides free hosting of static websites through their GitHub Pages service. Bonus!