Open Source Helpdesk Software – Part One

May 3, 2008

One of our clients has recently asked us to advise them on which open source (free) helpdesk would be best serve their business. Basic requirements are…

  • Enterprise Strength – Is capable of supporting 100’s of users in different physical locations
  • Hardware & Software Asset Register – Can also be used to track the companies IT resources for auditing purposes
  • Web Based – Doesn’t require any additional software to be installed locally, just a web browser
  • Reporting Capabilities – Produce highlevel reports for both helpdesk statistics and asset register
  • Ticket Issuing Number / Reference Number – Users are assigned a ticket number when they submit a support request
  • Ticket Priority – Users and the support team can priorities tickets
  • Knowledge Base – Users can check the knowledge base or FAQ before submitting a support request. The support team can build up KB articles from pervious support requests that have been resolved.

Using and Open Source Helpdesk List we narrowed it down to just three pieces of software. Information Resource Manager, One or Zero Helpdesk and ORTS Open Request Ticket System.

Information Resource Manager

IRM is a powerful web-based asset tracking and trouble ticket system built for IT departments and Helpdesks. It keeps detailed information about each computer, as well as a complete history and a trouble ticket system. The asset tracking and trouble tickets are closely coupled.

Our analysis…

+ Uses PHP (We prefer PHP)

+/- Version 2 coming soon but it will be written in Python (Again we prefer PHP)

+ Easy to use frontend for end users

+ Asset Register

– No CSV/Import into Asset Register

– No end user information

– No reference number is issued for submitted tickets

– Demo seemed buggy / can’t see how comprehensive the reports are

– Can’t read/map emails into the ticketing system directly

More information at…

One or Zero Helpdesk

The OneOrZero Helpdesk is an extremely powerful, yet lightweight, helpdesk package that is coded in PHP and uses MySQL for the backend. It is fast, customizable, runs on virtually any platform, and is free for both private and commercial use.

Our analysis…

+ Basic Reporting


– No email mapping to system

+ Ticketing Number Reference

+ User history

+ Time spent on ticket issue

+ Knowledge Base statistics

+ LDAP integration

More information at…

OTRS – Open Ticket Reporting System

OTRS is an Open source Ticket Request System with many features to manage customer telephone calls and e-mails.

Our analysis…

– Not the prettiest of interfaces

+ Used by some well know companies (SuSE Linux, MySQL, NASA)

+ Enterprise Strength

– Perl (We prefer PHP)

+ Emails are automatically mapped into the system

– No asset functionality

– Technical level required for installation compared to OneOrZero

+ User Feedback on issue resolution

– Ticketing Reference Number

+ Active Directory / LDAP integration

+ User history

– Demo didn’t demonstrate the stats/reporting functionality even though it’s mentioned

More information at…

Conclusion So Far

Information Resource Manager ticks all the boxes but is let down by the demo of the reporting functionality. IRM is also the only one with asset capabilities. One or Zero looks clean, simple to use but doesn’t have email mapping and is it enterprise strength? OTRS has the reputation for enterprise scalability, but like IRM demo is let down the reporting side of things.

More to follow soon!

Related posts:

  1. Open Source Help Desks
  2. Open Source HR Software (Human Resources)
  3. Open Source Auditing Software
  4. Getting Started with Open Source Software
  5. BBC Explanation of Open Source

Author: Support @ 11:33 pm
Category: Open Source


  1. Part II? Nice Part 1.

    Comment by Jack — January 30, 2008 @ 11:00 pm

  2. Nice comparison. Another resource you might try if you want to find more help desk software (both commercial and OS) is, a directory of help desk software from Capterra.

    Comment by JM — August 7, 2008 @ 3:37 pm

  3. More to follow soon!??!

    Comment by Brandon — August 13, 2008 @ 8:40 pm

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