Top 5 Open Source Desktop Project Management Tools

The Free or Open Source (FOSS) platform offers a variety of project management software. Here are reviews of the top-ranked, popular and free desktop project management tools to give you an overview of free project software and their product features. One obvious benefit of using FOSS is overall low maintenance cost as compared to commercial software. The PM software reviewed are OpenProj, dotProject, Open WorkBench, GanttProject and jxProject.

OpenProj

OpenProj is a Java-based open source project management tool developed at Projity by Howard Katz, Marc O’Brien and Laurent Chretienneau in 2007. In 2008, the company was acquired by Serena Software, and development has ceased thereafter. In May 2016, Serena was acquired by Micro Focus and has become one of its subsidiaries. In 2012, the original creators of OpenProj forked the abandoned code and developed ProjectLibre, which was initially released in 2012.

Features Closely following proprietary software Microsoft in features, OpenProj offers a similar User Interface (UI) and the same project development plan. Version 1.4 is the last stable release and includes features and tasks that are the open source version of commercial software Microsoft Project. With the greatest resemblance to MS Project, OpenProj, is the free software option which offers similar features, except for the price. However, it is no longer compatible with MS Project. Technical Requirements   It is a Java-based application and is rather tacky on Windows, but works perfectly on Linux and Unix as well as Mac OS platforms. It supports 10 languages and is included in Open Office program’s European version. Advantages

  • Well organized and covers essential business requirements: CRM, HRM and financial management as well as workflows that can be set up for approval.
  • GUI is intuitive and easy to use.
  • Scope for collaborative work and functioning are good because of advanced feature tools.
  • Clean, uncluttered and non-confusing work scope.
  • OpenProj does support graphic view of Work Breakdown Structure.

Disadvantages

  • No resource leveling.
  • No export to spreadsheet.

Link to OpenProj | Twitter | Facebook

dotProject

Written in 2000 on the PHP platform, dotProject’s latest stable release is 2.1.8, released on July 27, 2013. It has a GNU GPL and supports all types of OS. Developer team includes Gregor Erhardt, Benjamin Young, Adam Donnison, Karen Chisholm, Eamon Brosnan and Ivan Peevski. dotProject is currently available for download at Sourceforge.

Features Since it is one of the best maintained open source project management application, it has an intuitive browser-based interface, and offers an entire spectrum of sophisticated project management tools and features for multiple users. Task Management features include Task Description, Assigning, Scheduling and Duration of the task. It allows nodal user permissions, discussion dashboards, Gantt charts, contact lists, file checkout, reporting, and user-based or list-based task features. Technical Requirements   dotProject works on all operating systems and is therefore highly appreciated for its agility across all platforms. This allows teams and multiple users or companies using various operating systems to work collaboratively on dotProject. Advantages

  • Easy to use interface.
  • USP : Appending files to projects and tasks enabled with a file repository.
  • Multiple users can work collaboratively.
  • Issue Tracking becomes easier.

Disadvantages

  • One downside is it is not a stand-alone application and needs to be on a web server to work.  Advanced technical expertise might be required for installation.

Link to dotProject

Open Workbench

Open workbench is a highly evolved project management open source software with a focus on scheduling. It was first developed in 2004 by Niku, and later acquired by Computer Associates in 2005, along with Clarity PPM.  It is regarded as a top alternative to MS Project.

Features In terms of open source project management software, Open Workbench offers various features, such as split-screen window that proves to be an advantage especially when the project sizes are exceedingly unmanageable. Each screen attempts to bring in highest-density of relevant information at one instance, helping you manage display and obtain relevant information. Key factor is its advanced capability for scheduling. Technical Requirements   It is a desktop tool for project planning. It works on Microsoft Windows 2000, Windows XP, Vista and Windows 7. Open Workbench will work only if you have Sun JRE, version 1.3.1 and higher. You will also need Clarity package to create a centralized database for collaborative work within the enterprise. The latest stable release, version 1.1.6, was released on March 3, 2008. Version 1.1.4 is available at Sourceforge. Development has since been discontinued. Advantages

  • Dual scheduling options are available. Schedules can be planned and managed according to effort and whenever scope of project changes, user can schedule based on duration as well.
  • Resource leveling aspect is a major deliverable you can arrive at when you use this PM as it will calculate the number of hours each resource will work per week to reach the target number of hour for completion of task.
  • Ideal for power users with features added in partnership with itdesign GmbH.
  • Includes various monitoring views for comparing virtual and target.
  •  Provides great task matches for project leader.

Disadvantages

  • Not enough reporting features.

Link to Open Workbench

GanttProject

Developed in Java as a compact, high-performance Project Management tool, Gantt Project, strictly follow Windows’ feel and appearance; and have limited function features. This proves to be its advantage as it blends MS Project features but with maximum use features.

Features Gantt Project is a GPL open source software that offers project scheduling as a its main function. Working on desktop-client architecture, this file based project management tool allows not just scheduling of tasks, but resource management as well, through resource load charts. It supports MS Project, PDF, spreadsheets and HTML. Technical Requirements Supports Windows, Mac OS and Unix / Linux systems and is available in 30 languages. Advantages

  • Excellent and easy to use with great UI.
  • Simplified Gantt-chart ‘drawing’ features.
  • Allows great scope for Baselining.
  • A great number of reporting options.
  • Data exchange is seamless across spreadsheet applications.

Disadvantages

  • Main feature that one would want on this is a clear feature for resource leveling and critical path visualization.

Link to Gantt Project | Twitter | FacebookjxProject

jxProject is Java-based, no-cost application that can be used on any computer. Though an open source software, it is partially monetized through advertisements at the top of the webpage. Users who seek a version without advertising can purchase a serial number priced at $20.

Features jxProject is a feature-packed open source project management tool. Its software features include Gantt chart, resource leveling feature and also includes time and work-fixed tasks. Where jxProject is truly successful is its multi-platform feature, allowing cross-platform collaborative work. Overlay of Gantt charts, work schedules for resources, ability to bring-in calendars for each resource to support resources and millions of tasks. You can use the drag-and-drop feature with ease to move and carry tasks as well as resources into tasks. A unique in-built constraint resolver allows looks to optimize resources, definitely helping project leaders to gain greater efficiency and cost-effectiveness. Technical Requirements   jxProject supports Windows, Linux and Solaris platforms. Several users have also scaled it to Mac OSX and found great success with it. Advantages

  • Successfully supports several tasks- finish to finish, start to start, resource along with lag details.
  • Excellent report optimizer that tracks gaps and reschedules.
  • Excellent accuracy: Great speed (in milliseconds).
  • Unlimited links allowed for every task.
  • Overlay tasks and resources as per schedules.

Disadvantages

  • The advertisements banners are distracting.

Link to jxProject


To know more, we recommend taking a look at this 35+ best project management tools review from Time Doctor.

Jose Maria Delos Santos

Jose Maria Delos Santos

Jose is a subject matter expert and member of the writing team for Project-Management.com and Bridge24. He has written hundreds of articles including project management software reviews, books reviews, training site reviews, and general articles related to the project management industry.

2 Responses

  1. Avatar David Farris says:

    Thanks for the great article.

  2. Avatar Auderus says:

    Very nice work, I will look for your reviews in the future

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