Top 5 Open Source Desktop Project Management Tools

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FOSS platform offers a variety of project management software.  Here are reviews of the top-ranked, popular free project management tools to give you an overview of free project software -their product features and low costs (in terms of long term maintenance of project software). The software that are reviewed are OpenProject, DotProject, Open WorkBench, Gantt Project and JxProject.

OpenProj

open_project

OpenProj is a Java-based open source project management tool developed at Projity by -Howard Katz, Marc O’Brien and Laurent Chretienneau in 2007. Currently owned by Serene Software and Project Libre, it is excellent for desktop

Features

Closely following proprietary software Microsoft in features, OpenProj offers a similar User Interface (UI) plus 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 PM -MS Project. Closest to the commercial software MS-Project, OpenProj, is the free software option which offers all of the features, except for the price. You can easily save the MS Project format easily on OpenProj and allows quick generation of charts for efficient program management.

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 ten 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
  • Where MS-Project the parent, OpenProj clones does not support graphic view of Work Breakdown Structure, Open Proj does

Disadvantages

  • Resource leveling
  • No export to spreadsheet

Link to OpenProj

Update 2013-01-28: OpenProj is not developed anymore. Instead the founders of OpenProj have started a new project called ProjectLibre with a growing community which is updated often.

dotProject

dot_project

Written in 2000 dotProject on the PHP platform, its latest stable release is 2.1.5(released in Jan 6.2011). It has a GNU GPL and supports all OS. Developer team includes Gregor Erhardt, Benjamin Young, Adam Donnison, Karen Chisholm, Eamon Brosnan and Ivan Peevski. DotProject is currently with 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. Allows nodal user permissions, discussion dashboards, Gantt charts, contact lists, file checkout, reporting user based list-based task features.

Technical Requirements  

Works on all Operating System and is therefore highly appreciated for its agility across all platforms. This allows teams and multiple users or companies using various Operating systems can therefore work collaboratively on dot Project.

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

  • The one major lack would only be that- it is not a stand-alone application and needs to be on web server to work.  Advanced technical expertise might be required for installation.

Link to dotProject

Open Workbench

open_workbench

Open workbench is highly evolved project management open source software with a focus on scheduling, 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.

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 new features being 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

Gantt Project

gantt_project

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 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 toll allows not just scheduling of tasks but resource management as well through resource load charts. 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
  • Great number of reporting options is a bonus with Gantt Project
  • 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

Jx Project

jx_project

Jx Project is java-based no-cost application that can be used on any computer. Though a open source software, it is partially monetized through advertisements at the top of the webpage. Users who seek non-ad project can purchase a serial number priced at $20.

Features

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 Jx Project 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 calendar’s 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  

Jx Project 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 an d resources as per schedules

Disadvantages

  • The advertisements banners are distracting.

Link to jxProject

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