5 open source help desk apps to watch

If your help desk software is giving you trouble, there are some open source options available to help ease your pain – without the high cost.

In this instalment of CIO's five open source applications to watch we take a look at help desk software, which is the basis of incident response and IT service delivery.

RT: Request Tracker

RT is a ticketing system which enables a group of people to manage tasks, issues and requests submitted by a community of users. The RT platform has been under development since 1996, and is claimed to be used at thousands of sites around the world. Written in object-oriented Perl, RT manages tasks like the identification, prioritisation, assignment, resolution and notification for applications including project management, help desk, NOC ticketing, CRM and software development.

URL: http://bestpractical.com/rt/ Licence: GPL

Help Desk Software

Help Desk Software (also Freehelpdesk) is feature-rich help desk system designed from the ground up to meet the demands of help desk staff and their users. It is a Web-based system that can accept new calls from your users directly into the system. Calls can be tracked and searched to enable faster response times. Help Desk Software has been updated to support PHP 5, but development pace has slowed since mid-2008.

URL: http://freehelpdesk.org/ Licence: GPL


OTRS (Open source Ticket Request System) has features to manage customer telephone calls and e-mails. The system is built to allow support, sales, pre-sales, billing, internal IT and help desk functions to react quickly to inbound inquiries. OTRS is a Web-based help desk and ticket system that provides a set of features to help service organisations to manage requests more efficiently. As a framework, it is the basis of OTRS::ITSM, an ITIL-compliant IT service management solution. It supports MySQL, MS SQL, PosgreSQL, Oracle and DB2.

URL: http://otrs.org Licence: AGPL


A Web-based help desk application written in Java using the Hibernate and ZK libraries. Triage provides interfaces for handling tickets with notes and solutions, full-text search indexing, and allowing for plug-ins which can generate tickets from external sources (for example Asterisk, OpenNMS, Nagios, and e-mail). The initial development is being done on Linux, using the Eclipse development environment. The idea is that as a technician enters a new ticket, the application will present them with previous tickets/solutions which may be related and be able to present a quick answer. This way, knowledge is not lost and can be easily leveraged even with new personnel in the IT work force.

URL: http://code.google.com/p/triage/ Licence: GPL

PHP Help Desk

PHD Help Desk is an application designed for the registry and follow-up of help desk incidents. A registry of incidents allows classification in two levels (type and subtype), the state of the incident, a description, ticket assignment and priority, historical registry, and an audit. Information can be reported in consultation format, to give reports or export the information for later processing in a database or spreadsheet.

URL: http://www.p-hd.com.ar/eng/index.php Licence: GPL

For more articles in this series, be sure to check out:
5 open source security projects to watch
5 open source network management projects to watch
5 open source virtualisation technologies to watch
5 open source CRM systems to watch
5 open source VoIP softphones to watch
5 open source billing systems to watch
5 open source office suites to watch
5 open source IP telephony projects to watch
5 enterprise open source wiki apps to watch
5 open source project management apps to watch
5 free project management applications you must try

Copyright © 2009 IDG Communications, Inc.

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