There seem to be many free desktop applications for project management out there. Funny enough, most of the ones I encounter seem to claim they are also “open source”. The average user normally doesn’t care whether a product is open source or not since they won’t be developers after all. But it is good to keep in mind that most open source products have a developer community that is comprised of dedicated, often fanatic =) folks that will work hard on improving the product in their spare time and you can also benefit from that ideal.
Here is a short list of desktop project management software that is, open and free:
Online project management tools (free with some limitations) are now an easy thing to find since the Web has was labeled “Web 2.0”. Normally they include file sharing with version tracking and milestones. I have been pleased with Basecamp, but there are many similar products that are very similar and bring different features to offer that might be worth looking at. Many of them have applications available for mobile devices as well, making project managing accessible virtually from anywhere (where there is an internet connection):
Well, you get the idea… too many options… and prices are similar.
Some people also use wikis for managing projects collaboratively due to their ease of use for quick edits, attachments, ability to have multiple users contribute at once. Timelines, milestones, file sharing, to-do lists, project design documents, etc. Can all be easily maintained on a simple wiki.
Many companies use internal wikis on their servers with different permission levels.
You might also want to take a look at pbWorks’ plans (former pbWiki), the free account is good enough for most people managing small projects. Right now they have a limit if 20GB for file storage, etc.
The most interesting idea are actually team project management engines that you can simply install on your own Web server and keep total control over them (Basecamp clones). While you could pay activeCollab for access to their installation files and support, there are many free and open source options to explore before committing to purchasing anything :
ProjectPier – a php-based clone of Basecamp. Extremely similar look and feel.
DotProject – Although it looks more “raw” than others and certainly doesn’t bring the latest “Web 2.0” look and feel out of the box, this project has a lot to offer including a ticketing system for bug submission and other support requests.
Collabtive – This server-side project management is very easy to install on your server. A little problem I found is that out of the box you can only share files up to 8 MB and I wasn’t able to find information on whether this can be changed or not.
Content Management Systems (CMS) like Drupal and Joomla are also so flexible that they make it possible for you to tweak them and add certain modules to a point where they work like (or better than) famous Web-based project management systems out there (aka Basecamp, GoPlan, etc).
OpenAtrium – Project Management based on Drupal.
ProjectFork – JoomlaPraise’s Joomla-based project management server-side portal (more hyphens, please?).
TeamBox – Ruby on Rails and open source team collaboration suite.
Other open source Web-based project management software that you can install on your server can be found on this post by nixCraft.
You might also be interested in free open source ticketing systems. And here you go:
A list from, well, Open Source Help Desk List.com.