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Personal Ticket Tracking System for Admins?

Cliff posted more than 8 years ago | from the to-keep-track-of-it-all dept.

Bug 154

sirfunk asks: "I am a student and part-time system admin for a few local businesses. Most of the businesses I work for do not have me come in regularly, I'm sort of on a on-call, fix-it-when-it-breaks schedule. I'm wondering if anyone out there has come across a personal ticket-tracking system, that would allow my businesses to submit tickets with their problems and priority. The primary requirement would be that the user interface (for my businesses) would be very simple. I've checked out Bugzilla and Trac both of them look way overcomplicated for my needs. Any ideas?"

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154 comments

One or Zero (3, Informative)

joe90 (48497) | more than 8 years ago | (#14822476)

One or Zero works for me - http://www.oneorzero.com/ [oneorzero.com]

Re:One or Zero (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14822950)

It's not OSS, you fucking Republican asshole. WHat the fuck is wrong with you? Jesus H. Fucking Christ.

Re:One or Zero (1)

cbiltcliffe (186293) | more than 8 years ago | (#14823288)

From the OneOrZero site:

The OneOrZero Task Management and Helpdesk software is licensed under the latest version of the GPL.

We encourage you to embrace open source development and what it stands for. Please read the license and help support this movement.


What exactly is your definition of OSS?

Technically ... (1)

A nonymous Coward (7548) | more than 8 years ago | (#14824439)

OSS is Open Source Software, the GPL is for Free Software.

However, lawyers apart, it certainly fits the standard Free Source Software definition most people use.

Re:One or Zero (1)

kahanamoku (470295) | more than 8 years ago | (#14824188)

Hmmm... I read and re-read the author's question 6 times over, and am yet to find a reference where he/she specifically asked that the program be OSS?

P.S. Apologies for feeding the troll

One or Zero looks good. (0)

Futurepower(R) (558542) | more than 8 years ago | (#14823291)

Quote from the One or Zero web site: "The OneOrZero Task Management and Helpdesk software is licensed under the latest version of the GPL."

-
Cheney's company is building [nytimes.com] prisons [halliburton.com] for the U.S. government.

Re:One or Zero (1)

Sven The Space Monke (669560) | more than 8 years ago | (#14824279)

Here's another vote for OneOrZero. I'm a sysadmin for a small 3 location retail company, and it's great. Simple enough that it takes almost no training to use, and it does the job. It looks really professional, too.

Source (1)

Neil Blender (555885) | more than 8 years ago | (#14822485)

Forge

So (1)

BoomerSooner (308737) | more than 8 years ago | (#14822688)

Helpful...

Re:So (1)

Neil Blender (555885) | more than 8 years ago | (#14822748)

Thanks, I know it is. Because if you go there and search for 'ticket', there are more than a dozen high activity ticket tracking projects in the first 20 results.

Re:So (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14823620)

so how about if you name one that you've had some personal experience with, with your commentary about its pro's and con's, instead of just giving an arrogant "look it up yourself" answer such as "look on source forge"?

as to the actual question, using a prebuilt system might not always be the best answer. developing a very simple PHP+MySQL ticketing system may be the best result, as you will have only what is exactly pertinent in your scenario. in a couple of my past experiences we felt it was easier in our situation to build something basic from scratch rather than extensively custom tailor a pre-existing system.
however, i did check out the link mentioned in an earlier thread, http://www.oneorzero.com/ [oneorzero.com] and from the demo it seems like it could be a very well rounded tool, which i will be looking into.

Dedicated Email Address (2, Interesting)

Alaren (682568) | more than 8 years ago | (#14822499)

Seriously, use a dedicated email account. Call it "workorders@yourdomain.com." Sounds oversimple, perhaps, but I think it would be more than sufficient for your needs as described.

If you need something more robust for tracking and database purposes (I don't know how you run your business, but this one primary reason for ticketing systems), it will by necessity be more complex for your users as well.

Re:Dedicated Email Address (1)

conJunk (779958) | more than 8 years ago | (#14822518)

Seriously, use a dedicated email account. Call it "workorders@yourdomain.com." Sounds oversimple, perhaps, but I think it would be more than sufficient for your needs as described.

100% right on. email is the way to go. they come to you, you can look at them easily (and anywhere), and you can easily respond if the fix is a simple one they can do themselves

use a different address for each of your customers: joes.garage.support@example.net; keep it real simple, and everyone is happy

Re:Dedicated Email Address (2, Informative)

tsstahl (812393) | more than 8 years ago | (#14822685)

I'll second this second.

I'll even give you a gmail invite if you need one.

Just tell your folks to send you a news story email: how, what, where, when, why.

Every one of your clients has email in some form. If they don't have an email address, call Wharton for a case study specimen.

The best advice I can give you is as a one man operation, DO NOT get hung up on your own infrastructure. Every minute spent on your office is one less billable, or fullfillable moment of your life.

Time happens, and you won't believe how long these clients will be a part of your life. Hopefully your keyboard will eventually give way to something warm and cuddly (preferably of the same species) and you'll appreciate your sparse, ugly, but workable processes and procedures. :)

Oh yea, since this is slashdot, there is a really useful website at www.google.com. You type a question into the magic rectangle, and a bunch of possible answers appear. Google is kind of like a magic 8 ball on meth. Hopefully this admonishment is snide enough to win mod points. :)^2

Re:Dedicated Email Address (2, Informative)

Vellmont (569020) | more than 8 years ago | (#14822770)

I'd have to disagree here. The point of a form to fill out is to elicit more detailed responses from the ticket submitters. All too often if you only have the free-form of an email people won't give enough details of the problem to be able to start finding a solution. If you have fields like "what do you expect to happen", "what error messages, if any do you get?", "what do you do to replicate the problem?", "how urgent is a solution needed?", etc asks people many of the questions you're ultimately going to need the answer to solve the problem.

Remember, the people who are submitting job tickets aren't necessarily problem solvers, so they don't know what kind of information you're going to need to fix a problem. A little guidance of a form can go a long way to make the system more useable for everyone.

Re:Dedicated Email Address (1)

Bogtha (906264) | more than 8 years ago | (#14822809)

All too often if you only have the free-form of an email people won't give enough details of the problem to be able to start finding a solution. If you have fields like "what do you expect to happen", "what error messages, if any do you get?", "what do you do to replicate the problem?", "how urgent is a solution needed?", etc asks people many of the questions you're ultimately going to need the answer to solve the problem.

So stick an HTML form in front of the email, with a textarea for each question. When the form is submitted, send it straight to your email address and CC the client so they have a copy too.

Re: Form-by-email (1)

jipis (677451) | more than 8 years ago | (#14823229)

I have to disagree with the whole form-by-email thing for a few reasons:

a) You're starting to take the (IMHO overly-) simple concept of having problems emailed in and making it more complicated. As time goes on, you're going to realize that it'd be nice if the form had this-or-that capability or just a bit of functionality, etc. You're going to end up right where you started: wanting a ticket-tracking system.

b) As a local sysadmin without a ticket-tracking system and as a customer of the enterprise-wide IT dept which does have a tracking system (which only they can access -- I submit a helpdesk ticket via email using a form I designed because they always were bouncing my requests back to me with requests for more info), I feel I've seen it from both (all?) sides. The email system is bad because, as I said before, the email will never have all of the info you want. Even when you kick the ticket back to the client with requests for specific information, the information still isn't all there.

It's for this reason that one of these days I'm planning on rolling my own inventory tracker / trouble ticket / work task ticket system (where linking a trouble/work ticket to a particular inventory item is the most important part). I have very specific needs on this job that I haven't before on any of my 4 previous sysadmin jobs. If I could find something already made which took care of this, great. I haven't been able to find anything, though. Guess we're in the same boat. Well, similar, at least.

-J

Re:Dedicated Email Address (1)

Vellmont (569020) | more than 8 years ago | (#14823496)

You could do that, but like the other responder I think it's going to be a poor replacement for a real ticket tracking system. Why use a crappy form->email system when someone else has already created a fully functional system that's been designed for future expansion in mind?

RT (1)

professorfalcon (713985) | more than 8 years ago | (#14822502)

RT: Request Tracker [bestpractical.com] is pretty good.

Re:RT (1)

ocbwilg (259828) | more than 8 years ago | (#14823730)

I second that, RT is great. You set it up to query a POP account every 5 minutes and it automatically grabs issues emailed to you, creates a ticket, and sends a response to the requestor with the ticket number. It has a nice web-based front end so that your customers can log in an open tickets or review the status of cases, and it does everything that you would want from a ticket tracking system. Best of all it's open source, so it costs you nothing and you can modify it to fit your needs (though it is highly configurable without having to dig under the hood and learn perl). There is a sort of a Windows port of it if you're into that thing, but it still runs on Cygwin in part so it's not truly native.

Re:RT (1)

zamboni1138 (308944) | more than 8 years ago | (#14824752)

I third RT. I have been using it for years. Apache + mod_ssl + MySQL + Perl + RT + sendmail = a nice ticket system.

Cerberus (1)

MeanMF (631837) | more than 8 years ago | (#14822505)

Cerberus Help Desk [cerberusweb.com] . There's a pretty simple web GUI, or you can tell your users to email issues to a support mail address and it'll enter them into the tracking system automatically. There's a free version that's 100% functional, except that it's limited to a single email address/ticket queue. For your purposes that sounds like that's enough.

Good Lord... (0, Troll)

Saeed al-Sahaf (665390) | more than 8 years ago | (#14822508)

Does nobody at all do even a Google search before asking questions here. A ticket tracking system? Hmmm.....

Re:Good Lord... (2, Insightful)

jaseparlo (819802) | more than 8 years ago | (#14823448)

Dude, there is such a thing as too much information. Same for people above who said sourceforge. He might *find* every ticketing system on earth through one of those methods, but should he have to research, download, install (including battering himself against poorly documented and painful to implement open source installs) and test every package he finds to decide what to use?

For big orgs with a lot of technical users, RT is fine but for a small simple operation it's hopelessly overcomplicated. He wouldn't find that out without spending a week googling and reading reviews and articles

A number have people have compared the merits of just using email for a small operation, he *never* would have come across that idea by searching google

It's really not such a dumb question. The simple fact that there are so many options means it's worth asking somewhere for some aggregated wisdom. Haha wisdom..slashdot...

It's worth joining an industry group or something for questions like this. I'm in SAGE-AU, under $100/year, the mailing list alone is invaluable for finding useful professional advice, on both technical questions and organisational stuff like this. You may still get flamed with 'check the archive' replies, but the archive will either have the answer or you can explain why it doesn't and get resonable responses.

Re:Good Lord... (0, Troll)

Saeed al-Sahaf (665390) | more than 8 years ago | (#14824441)

For big orgs with a lot of technical users, RT is fine but for a small simple operation it's hopelessly overcomplicated. He wouldn't find that out without spending a week googling and reading reviews and articles

Bullshit.

MAGIC (1)

XiticiX (712612) | more than 8 years ago | (#14822515)

We use MAGIC HELPDESK here where I work. It's clunky, but it works. I would have designed it much differently.

Re:MAGIC (1)

Kymermosst (33885) | more than 8 years ago | (#14822741)

We use MAGIC HELPDESK here where I work. It's clunky, but it works. I would have designed it much differently.

I hear that if you take the MAGIC MUSHROOMS first, the interface appears far less clunky.

Request tracker (1)

secolactico (519805) | more than 8 years ago | (#14822517)

Try "Request Tracker" http://www.bestpractical.com/rt [bestpractical.com] Easy to set up, scriptable, both web and email interface.

Or do a search on freshmeat for "ticket system" or something along the lines.

Re:Request tracker (1)

outZider (165286) | more than 8 years ago | (#14822693)

Yeah, but horrible to administer and a completely murdered user interface. :(

Re:Request tracker (1)

jrockway (229604) | more than 8 years ago | (#14823123)

I'll agree that RT is lacking in many areas (but it works)... but what's the problem with the UI? The user logs in, types the text of his ticket, hits submit. Couldn't be better.

Simple To Do list (1)

nursegirl (914509) | more than 8 years ago | (#14822530)

I'm a nurse and part-time sysadmin for the nonprofit I work for (I know, I know, I agree it's a bad idea, but no one more qualified has volunteered to come and do it for free). I've been using the Backpack ToDo list [backpackit.com] . I have a Thunderbird template on each computer that has the email for a backpack page and TODO in the subject line. In the body, the submitter has to put their computer ID, the problem, and either "urgent" or "annoying". Backpack is set up to SMS me when messages come in, and then I can categorize the ToDo's and set up a time to deal with it in my calendar.

My bosses all have access to the page, so they can confirm that I'm doing the work within a reasonable timeframe, and I can check on requests from anywhere.

Email (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14822542)

Use firefox filtering capabilities to automatically filter email into your 'business' folder.

Re:Email (1)

painkillr (33398) | more than 8 years ago | (#14823426)

wow is there *NOTHING* firefox can't do?

Re:Email (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14824107)

some jackass said: Use firefox filtering capabilities to automatically filter email into your 'business' folder.

Then the next guy painkillr said: wow is there *NOTHING* firefox can't do?

To which I say, I may be old and not with it, but last I checked firefox was a web browser, not an email client, and it sure as hell can't give me a blowjob or make my coffee, two requirements of my something that can do everything. But, I could also be very very wrong.

This may be slightly off topic, but I am sure that it is just as slightly on topic as well.

Re:Email (1)

painkillr (33398) | more than 8 years ago | (#14824690)

the only part you got right is that you are indeed "old and not with it"

also summing up the 2 parent posts was stupid, the only other thing you did right was to post as an AC so that you could hide your shame

Suggestion (1)

Rac3r5 (804639) | more than 8 years ago | (#14822544)

Hi, I suggest that you try out Mantis. The company I work at used to use Bugzilla before but the interface was overly complicated and fugly to look at and nobody really ended up using it. Right now we use Mantis at work and its quite a change from bugzilla. Very decent interface. It has an advaned and a simple mode as well. http://www.mantisbt.org/ [mantisbt.org]

I agree! Mantis! (1)

Daath (225404) | more than 8 years ago | (#14822970)

I considered bugzilla at our business, but some of the users reporting bugs, would never figure that out - I installed Mantis and it was a success - So much so, that they started using it to request features etc ;P

I also agree (1)

HelloKitty (71619) | more than 8 years ago | (#14823064)

Mantis is cool.
it's kinda source forgey, and you get to run it yourself on your own server.
customization of certain things is possible and they're improving it all the time.
I found customization of the views (i.e. the columns you see when viewing all your bugs) wasn't supported and you had to hack PHP files. though who knows, maybe they'll fix that soon too (or already!)...

There's also Gforge, which aims to be like sourceforge, though last I tried to use it I felt confused, which was maybe like 3 years ago, so maybe it's good now...

MantisBT (1)

sasha328 (203458) | more than 8 years ago | (#14823365)

I Agree with the parent. Mantisbt is one of the best out there. Very easy to configure (at least when I used it last about 18 months ago). It is also quite easy to customise and reprogram. This is what I did. I did a major edit of the ssource code and the database in order to customise it for our own internal mini-helpdesk. It worked brilliant (I think it was version 17 or 18). The reporting is also fantastic. The reason why I had to customise it was because it was geared towards "bug reporting" but I wanted to make it into a "problem/ticket" reporting system.

Anyway, you can find it here: http://www.mantisbt.org/ [mantisbt.org]

Huge thumbs up for Mantis! (1)

DamienMcKenna (181101) | more than 8 years ago | (#14823463)

I've used Mantis for years and it is wonderful - pretty easy to use, flexible, powerful, easy to install, just lovely. There are two things to bear in mind, though, out of the box it doesn't support time keeping of any sort (besides adding a custom field), and also its UI is a bit tricky to configure, it isn't templated so you have to jump into editing its core files. Its PHP & MySQL-based, though they've recently added a database abstraction layer so you can try hooking it up to MSSQL, PostgreSQL, etc.

Another one to consider is the hosted system Backpack [backpackit.com] , from 37 Signals [37signals.com] , the folks you brought Ruby on Rails [rubyonrails.org] to the world. They've got a pretty powerful system there, available as a free account or paid if you need extra space, etc.

Damien

Write your own. (1)

Kymermosst (33885) | more than 8 years ago | (#14822566)

Seriously. Many CS classes (assuming you are a CS student) will have you do some medium-sized projects anyway. Why not kill two birds with one stone?

I wrote a web-based trouble ticket tracking system for my Database Processing class.

Re:Write your own. (1)

RomulusNR (29439) | more than 8 years ago | (#14822803)

This presumes he is a CS student. While that may seem obvious, it is not at all a given.

I knew plenty of philosophy majors that were admins in their spare time, and currently work with an Oracle developer who is studying Latin.

Re:Write your own. (1)

CanadianBoy (868003) | more than 8 years ago | (#14824679)

currently work with an Oracle developer who is studying Latin

Hmmm, I think I just figured out a lot more about why Oracle makes my head hurt sometimes

Re:Write your own. (1)

sirfunk (667309) | more than 8 years ago | (#14823031)

Heh, I'm actually a Music student. I could write my own, and I plan to if I can't find anything suitable that already exists. However, I don't want to re-invent the wheel, nor do I really have time to.

Re:Write your own. (1)

goodEvans (112958) | more than 8 years ago | (#14825030)

I did write my own. I used a LAMP environment, and it took me a day and a half - and I'm not a real programmer. It's one 13k php file and 4 mysql tables.

My users are, to be frank, not the brightest bunch (aircraft mechanics...), so their interface just asks for a name, their location, and a short problem description. click a button, and it sends the three of us in the department an email. There's also a list interface to see what tickets haven't been taken yet.

It's quick and simple, but there's nothing to slow down access, like having to log in before posting a ticket. If you like, I'll clean the code up and email it to you.

RT request ticketting. (1)

Slippy. (42536) | more than 8 years ago | (#14822584)

Might be a little overkill.

But it's got the necessary features and much of the advanced stuff. I've used this at a job and it worked well. Hardest part was the setup (short-steep learning curve for the initial config).

Install went smooth enough.

MySQL, apache, PHP base. Maybe some other stuff needed too.

Cons:
    - Too many options to sometimes (overly complicated) maybe.
    - Without a nicer template, the default look isn't pretty. Maybe not so hot for customer facing.
        * There might be nicer skins. I didn't bother looking.

http://www.bestpractical.com/rt [bestpractical.com]

unipress footprints 7 (1)

Deathlizard (115856) | more than 8 years ago | (#14822617)

http://www.unipress.com/ [unipress.com]

Unipress Footprints has a lot of nice features: calendaring, submission by form, instant web chatting and VNC support, time tracking, built in knowledgebase, and more.

It's not free, but it's what we use at the college and it works great.

Mantis Bug Tracking System (1)

Copperhead (187748) | more than 8 years ago | (#14822650)

Once you get it set up, Mantis [mantisbt.org] is pretty easy to use. You can have a simply interface for creating tickets, with more information available to those who work, verify, and close the tickets.

OSS Choices (2, Informative)

futuresheep (531366) | more than 8 years ago | (#14822653)

There's a few packages out there that you can run on a LAMP server, including the following:

PHP Helpdesk [sourceforge.net]
PHP Support Tickets [phpsupporttickets.com]
Trouble Ticket Express [troubleticketexpress.com]

Re:OSS Choices (1)

doodzed (35795) | more than 8 years ago | (#14823596)

Try Request Tracker from www.bestpractical.com.

We are on our second revision and are very happy. For most users we have an email address they send tickets too. As we interact with the ticket they get updates via email. They can reply to this email and it gets added in with the ticket. Really accessible interface.

They also have an add on wiki available that is fairly usefull and integrated.

Just a note... this is based on mod_perl and may be ram intensive(512MB for us).

The config is also kinda wierd and tedious till you learn to orient yourself. Then you learn to appreciate the ability to restrict or grant access in a magnitude of ways. There has been nothing I havent been able to config with this packege... very happy here.

PmWiki (1)

math0ne (567591) | more than 8 years ago | (#14822697)

I had this same problem recently and came up with PmWiki's bug tracking solution. Small, Wiki based, nice looking. Slightly complicated to set up but not anything like TRAC (I recently set this up and it was a nightmare). http://www.pmwiki.org/wiki/Cookbook/PITS [pmwiki.org] In the comments thread there are some updated versions that include decent installation instructions. You can check out my installation of it here: http://mcquay.org/bugs/ [mcquay.org] Hope this helps.

A little dusty but still pretty good (1)

assantisz (881107) | more than 8 years ago | (#14822698)

I successfully implemented req [neu.edu] a few years ago on a job. It's entirely e-mail based, i.e. it's easy for your customers to interface with.

Another option (a little more modern) would be RT [bestpractical.com] . Our security group is using it with success. They get at least a hundred new tickets every day and RT made it possible for them to deal with all of them in a timely manner.

IRM (1)

pci (13339) | more than 8 years ago | (#14822710)

I'm going to suggest IRM [stackworks.net] , it should do everything your looking for and keep track of the computer systems (inventory) on each site.

I used to use it and liked it.

Roll your own (1)

wetfeetl33t (935949) | more than 8 years ago | (#14822787)

In all seriousness, you could try building one yourself. Firstly, it allows you to build it to your exact specifications and tastes. Secondly, it shouldn't be too difficult, especially if you're looking for something simple. I wrote a pretty nice one with plenty of features for my IT department in an afternoon, with a couple more hours of testing before it was rolled out.

OTRS... (1)

NeuralAbyss (12335) | more than 8 years ago | (#14822839)

OTRS is the way to go.. been trialling it here with another person (two admins, ~200 users).. works a treat.

Re:OTRS... (1)

Thalagyrt (851883) | more than 8 years ago | (#14823597)

I tried to install OTRS a long time ago when I was setting up my small hosting business... I was never able to get it to run within Plesk. The setup for it is ridiculous, and has almost no documentation at all... I wound up using OSTicket [osticket.com] . It meets my needs, by no means anything flashy, but it does the job.

Try elogd (1)

Obstin8 (827030) | more than 8 years ago | (#14822927)

Definately give elogd a spin. Customized inputs. security, self-contained web server, xml exports, simple configuration, very quick, searching, yada yada. I used it for a few years for ticket tracking when I had a smaller number of customers. Worked like a charm. See it here: http://midas.psi.ch/elog/index.html [midas.psi.ch] .

SharePoint Services (1)

returnoftheyeti (678724) | more than 8 years ago | (#14822957)

What about somthing like Sharepoint Services. Have a public facing Sharepoint site, some custom forms, and maby even a calander. You could even post some documentation, like an explaination as to WTF "PC load Letter" means.

Try this one (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14822973)

http://www.liberum.org/ [liberum.org]

Liberum Help Desk. Searched for a couple days and tried all sorts of PHP/MySQL ones before I found this nice little ASP system.

Good feature set. Uses LDAP for authentication, so if your users are on a Windows domain, it will authenticate automatically. Has great email functionality too.

Not as polished as some of the other packages out there, but it's free and it works.

Roundup (2)

Richard Jones (28382) | more than 8 years ago | (#14823027)

[I'm the author of Roundup]

I get good feedback from people using Roundup [sf.net] for this sort of thing (amongst others).

You can set it up to accept mail in, and for each new ticket (issue) created, it sets up a little mini-mailing list of the author and the people cc'ed on the incoming email.

Re:Roundup (1)

Chalex (71702) | more than 8 years ago | (#14823587)

I would also like to recommend Roundup. I used it at a previous place of employment. The nice feature (which other trackers probably also have) is that a user can send an e-mail to the Roundup tracker, and it'll generate a ticket.

In general, you can modify an issue through the commandline or through the web interface or through e-mail. Of course, I don't think anyone uses the command line interface.

Also, Richard does a great job of responding to any issue regarding Roundup, just see the mailing lists.

Also, it's written in Python and can be easily modified to suit your needs.

osticket community version (1)

capsteve (4595) | more than 8 years ago | (#14823100)

i'm actully glad to see the question asked, i'd like to see some of the other options...

i was researching this a couple weeks ago, and have decided to give osticket community version a try.

i've used wreq in the past and recommend it, and will also check out RT, it is we documented and even has an oreilly book! both of these are heavy perl based, where as osticket is more php/mysql based. make sure to check out the community version, the commercial version is a little stale... in any event my requirement was a web interface with both help desk and user interfaces, and the ability to email submitted tickets to submitter as well as help desk, and perform searches.

eventum (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14823155)

We recently starting using a tracking system, our QA person came in did some research and told us that the system with the simplest interface for the reporters was Eventum. So we have been using and it seems to work pretty well very customizable so you can hide all of the scary options if need be. http://eventum.mysql.org/ [mysql.org]

FogBugz? (1)

dFaust (546790) | more than 8 years ago | (#14823198)

Well, you didn't say free or open-source, so I'll throw out the suggestion of FogBugz [fogbugz.com] . For a single user it would set you back $129. It has a whole interface for dealing with external users (ie: your clients) where they just send an email to an email address you setup and it goes into the system as a new issue. It then sends them an email back giving them a link where they can track the status of the issue. Within the issue, you have the ability to add notes that are either hidden or visible to the client, should you ever need to make note of anything regarding an issue that you don't want them to see.

All in all it's not bad. Definitely easy for both you and especially the client, since they won't have to learn the interface of an application, just send an email. Plus you get support, though to maintain the support contract past 45 days it would run, for a single user (clients don't count as users), $1.50/month. So not too shabby.

I don't have experience with other applications that would fit the bill, so I can't say this is the best option... but I think it's a pretty decent one.

Definitely FogBugz? (1)

sunbeam60 (653344) | more than 8 years ago | (#14824702)

I've used FogBugz for external clients and it works a treat. Sure, there's an initial outlay, but it's definitely worth it. Very user friendly and doesn't require much admin.

You might try... (1)

metaomni (667105) | more than 8 years ago | (#14823233)

We've had a lot of success implementing OSTicket [osticket.com] . It's an open-source (and apparently now abandoned) ticketed support system. You can still find the code on the message board at that site, along with some modifications.

It's at least a start. It took us a little while to implement, but now it runs like a dream. It seems to offer everything you're looking for. It's PHP/mySQL based. Hope that helps!

Jira is the best for the money right now (1)

puppetluva (46903) | more than 8 years ago | (#14823417)

If you can stomach paying for it (it's pretty cheap). Jira from Atlassian is the best out there right now. it has all of the features of the free ones and a whole lot more and they are a pretty good citizen of free software (they contribute quite a bit to the community).

I spent a long while looking at the free alternatives and jira really blew them away.

BTNet (1)

lucm (889690) | more than 8 years ago | (#14823566)

If you are looking for something running on Windows, BugTrackerNet is a nice solution.

http://btnet.sourceforge.net/ [sourceforge.net]

This is a .NET web application, easy to setup and very user-friendly. There is also the usual support for mailed-in requests (POP listener), reports, flexible properties, and so on.

Write your own (1)

Radical Rad (138892) | more than 8 years ago | (#14823580)

Create a self-contained HTML form with the submission action being a mailto url addressed to you. They can store it on their desktop or even open it as an attachment from an email you sent them. Then you can keep track of the issues in your email client. You could even have the url cc your phone or pager. Here is a page with good examples. [washington.edu] Also note that you should ask them to test it once because there are combinations of browsers and email clients that don't work or at least there used to be back in the bad old days.

Email is the simplest interface (1)

Wespionage (751377) | more than 8 years ago | (#14823603)

Even in a small office environment where we have tools for making/tracking requests, as well as an Outlook/Exchange setup with task management built into it, everybody falls back on email for the initial "can you help me with X?" questions.

As was already mentioned, perhaps something like a dedicated email address that would enable you (or your ticketing system) to receive and enter this request yourself would be the best -- you could even auto-generate an email reply that would direct the sender to your ticketing system where they could enter more details.

Unless you're quite sure that you can get your clients using the system you pick, I would suggest picking the system that best fits your needs.

You can always build your own (1)

cecil36 (104730) | more than 8 years ago | (#14823691)

I wrote my own ticketing system in MS Access almost two years ago. In my system, there are only three tables, and two relations between the tables. The first table is the list of businesses using our services, the second is the employees that can be dispatched, and the third is the list of tickets reported in. When a ticket comes in, a new record is created in the tickets table, and the record is viewable from the business that reported the trouble. The tech then can add his name to the ticket and enter in the work done, and you end up with a complete case history for a company. Although this was quick and dirty, this system suited our needs. Build from this, and you should have a halfway decent system.

Interfacing with Email (1)

KidSock (150684) | more than 8 years ago | (#14823902)

I just looked into this. At first I was hopeful given the number of OSS problem/bug tracking progects out there. Some of them are pretty polished and work well for what they are designed to do.

But then I realized that what I really want is just a simple web front end into an IMAP mailbox so that support personnel just manage tickets like they manage their email. In practice I suspect most "tickets" would be processed entirely without using the web front end at all. But regular users should be able to use the web front end to submit new tickets, view exiting tickets with From/To/CC that match the logged on user's email address, or reply to an exiting ticket (to the hard coded support email address).

I noticed PHP has IMAP classes so I thought for sure someone would have thought of this already. But I was not able to find such a thing. Anyone heard of this? Where? If not, please write it :->

I will have something like it (1)

vaderhelmet (591186) | more than 8 years ago | (#14823934)

I'm working on something like this for myself. It will be done "soon" depending on how busy I am with clients and the like. But when I'm done, you're more than welcome to the code. Feel free to e-mail me.

Get Trac (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14823972)

I've been using Trac for almost a year now, and it works great. It's simple to set up and use, and has handy features such as a built-in wiki, RSS feeds and an interface to a Subversion repository.

The Trac site is at http://www.edgewall.com/trac [edgewall.com] .

Re:Get Trac (1)

math0ne (567591) | more than 8 years ago | (#14824637)

I don't know how you could call TRAC easy to set up. Thier install instructions are neolithic, unless your a linux guru. Its got so many requirments that have to be instaled in a certain order with certain compile flags or you have to start over from the begining.

Which isn't to say i don't think TRAC is one of if not the best bug tracking solution out there. I use it every day extensivly, but its not for the faint of heart.

Anything you need root access and hours of time to install probably not the simple bug tracking solution this person is looking for.

FogBugz is great. Bugzilla, Scarab, not so much. (1)

MCRocker (461060) | more than 8 years ago | (#14823979)

FogBugz [fogcreek.com] is great. Sure, it's a commercial system that you have to pay for, but it is easy to install, simple to use, has a very clean user interface and even has a philosophy. Believe it or not, the last point is the most important. The folks behind FogBugz seem to work really hard to adhere to the KISS pricipal [c2.com] and produce a superior product.

If you compare them to workhorses like Bugzilla, Fogbugz seems very minimalistic, but it turns out to actually be more useful that way. The guy behind the folks behind Fogbugz, Joel Spolsky [joelonsoftware.com] , has lots of interesting things to say about the design of Fogbugz that are just good reading for ANY CS/IT person to even if you don't buy his product.

Another product that I tried out was scarab [tigris.org] , which was appealing since it was a Java J2EE application from the same folks who brough us subversion [tigris.org] . From a CS point of view, scarab is an interesting example of how to use turbine [apache.org] . Unfortunately, scarab is hard to install and configure.

Although the version of scarab that I tested was still a beta product that might not be quite so hard to use out of the box any more, it is interesting to compare it to FogBugz. Scarab had the kitchen sink approach that is so configurable that it could be set up to be every bit as complicated as Bugzilla or as simple as FogBugz. However this flexibility made it a nightmare to configure and administer. While you could, conceivably set it up like FogBugz, it would be hard to make it work exactly the same way and wouldn't provide the same ease of use... just the same limitations with an added level of complexity.

To summarize less is more... in quality and price this time ;)

Problem with OSS (1)

digitaltraveller (167469) | more than 8 years ago | (#14824244)

I'm shopping around for a bug/issue tracker at the moment as well. There are quite a few. This is a central problem with OSS, it's easier to write a new one than use someone else's.

That is, there are too many problems with configuration management.

In the time I have invested trying to find the right package, I could have written one that would have supported my needs quite adequately.

But if anyone knows of one that is dead easy to setup, eg. uses sqlite or something like that as a backend, please post in this thread...

phpaga (1)

chriscappuccio (80696) | more than 8 years ago | (#14824268)

phpaga is the perfect tool for this
it also has mechanisms for you to track your time on each project and print invoices
grab the latest cvs version of it
phpaga.net

Post-it (tm) notes (1)

Theatetus (521747) | more than 8 years ago | (#14824366)

...and a cell phone. Take tickets by phone only so you can ask them right then and there "what do you expect to happen when you click there and what actually happens?" "what does the error message say?" "is the little green light in your ethernet card lit?". Write down the info you get from the phone call on a post-it note. Stick it on the side of your monitor. When the issue is resolved, put the note in a file or in the wastebasket, depending on how much archiving you want to do.

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