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How to Install Odoo (Because Odoo Won't Tell You)

OdooOdoo is an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system with a freemium model.

If you are running an organization, you could use Odoo to handle all your accounting, inventory, CRM, invoicing, etc.  It’s really designed to be a single-stop app for businesses and includes document management, chat, etc.

These kind of products trade best-of-breed for deep integration.  Sometimes that works, sometimes it doesn’t.  If there’s some aspect of the suite that you really drive hard – CRM for example – then Odoo is probably not going to be able to compete with SalesForce.  However if you have typical needs or plan to extend things to meet your needs, using a broad ERP platform can be helpful.  In big businesses, ERP is often a seven-to-nine-figure line item in budgets.

No one is paying nine figures for Odoo, but it’s pleasant enough (you can try it on their site).  It’s written in Python and has a large community.  You can self-host for free or they will host it for you SaaS-style for a monthly fee – the typical model.

I was looking for a simple double-entry accounting platform and Odoo looked interesting.  I played with the online SaaS. If you use only the accounting module, you can run there for free forever.  This is because general ledger accounting is only a small part of what real business want.  Anyway, I decided since it’s potentially sensitive data, I wanted to host it locally.

And that’s when I went to war with Odoo.

Odoo is a fine product, but it suffers from many products like it:

  • They like the FOSS/fremium model but are for more interested in the premium side of things (not surprising)
  • Documentation is not their strength
  • It’s obvious that at various times, various passionate volunteers have jumped in and wrote detailed documentation, but it’s very uneven.
  • The docs haven’t been maintained.  For example, they refer to Postgres 9.

Oh, and also they don’t read GitHub issues.  If you have a problem, you’re expected to pay up and engage their support services.

Anywy, it’s impossible actually install the product following the docs.  So welcome Internet users finding this page via a frustrated Google!

Here’s how to install Odoo.  I used a virgin Debian 11 VM to do this.  After apt-get update, the final Debian version was 11.4.

apt-get update
apt-get -y upgrade
reboot (may not be necessary)
apt-get -y install postgresql
su - postgres and in Postgres:
exit and go back to your root shell
wget -O - https://nightly.odoo.com/odoo.key | apt-key add -
echo "deb http://nightly.odoo.com/15.0/nightly/deb/ ./" >> /etc/apt/sources.list.d/odoo.list
apt-get update
apt-get install odoo

Note that you’ll need to change the 15.0 in the future.

Some key pains I’m saving you:

  • Ignore all the nonsense about using pip to install things or you will experience pain.  The packages mentioned were long ago moved into dust and you’ll just blow things up if you start sniping in pip packages.  Everything you need will be installed automatically by package managers.
  • You’ll be tempted to create a database, but don’t.  Odoo insists on creating the DB itself.  The ‘odoo’ user must have the CREATEDB privilege.  This is a very odd choice and it is documented nowhere.
  • After Odoo starts, watch /var/log/odoo/odoo-server.log for errors.  Assuming nothing big, connect with your browser to port 8069.  Just saved you a half hour of gooling because amazingly the docs never tell you how to connect to the instance you started.





  1. Angelo:

    You’re right.
    Thanks for the quick installation documentation. With this, I won’t die trying. I will test it in one instance.
    It would only be necessary for this ERP to have a container version.

    September 5, 2022 @ 9:56 pm | Reply
    • There is a docker version. It’s a buggy product in my experience – random errors like “couldn’t populate test data” and python exceptions in the logs.

      Also, the licensing is whack. You can run the accounting module on their site for free, but not if you self-host, but you can run every other module for free if you self host. I wonder if the “community edition” is just there to give them some fuss cred rather than actually intended for use.

      September 6, 2022 @ 6:47 pm | Reply
  2. haha:

    eh, so sorry to say but your post is even more crappy than odoo itself.

    August 11, 2023 @ 4:02 am | Reply

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