Who likes free productivity software?  We do!

Update #2: ActiveCollab is no longer being developed as free software. For a free branch of activeCollab that is a great community driven effort, check out ProjectPier.

Update #1: Read this interview with the developer of activeCollab to find out why he changed from free to paid software.


You have a choice

I’m sure many readers already know what Basecamp is, but for those who don’t, please don’t click this link, (unless you don’t like free)…

Rather, click this one

ActiveCollab has taken the best parts of Basecamp and other project management and document sharing software suites, and incorporated these into a powerful server based program that is free.  That’s right you read it correctly, free. Read more after the jump…


Today the developer has made the Release Candidate for version 0.7 public, meaning that its so close to being ready, that he’s willing to let the world try it out, and any upgrade to the final 0.7 release will be relatively straight forward.

Its been two and a half months since activeCollab 0.6 was released. Its been a successful release because it solved some pretty nasty problems that activeCollab alpha had and provided pretty much stable platform for whole two months. Now is time to move on and introduce activeCollab 0.7. For start it’s a release candidate, but it will be replaced with full 0.7 during next week if everything goes as planned (nothing major should change in the meantime so simple file rewrite will be enough to upgrade).

Source: activeCollab website – activeBlog

What is activeCollab?

So what do you do with this software? From the website:

activeCollab is an easy to use, web based, open source collaboration and project management tool. Set up an environment where you, your team and your clients can collaborate on active projects using a set of simple, functional tools. 100% free!

There are no limitations as to the number of projects, users, files or documents that you use, aside from the data limit on your server storage, consider the following table, (links to Basecamp), showing that many of the business type plans start at $24 dollars a month, up to $149 a month.  Now that may not be a  lot of money for a large, established business, but consider that even the cheapest of the “business” plans still means 100 less coffees!  Now I’m not intending to criticize Basecamp, but for a similar software, (not quite as polished, but stable, easy and intuitive to use), to offer their product for free it makes me wonder why companies are spending money on Basecamp?  37 Signals is nothing like Microsoft, but the analogy remains true for the comparison between Microsoft Office and OpenOffice.

I’ve downloaded the RC0.7 release of activeCollab, and will be installing it over the weekend. For a full list of the features see “What’s New

You can check out a basic activeCollab screencast of the features to show you how to use the software in your workflow and project management.

As of version 1.0, activeCollab is no longer free – check out ProjectPier for a free, open source alternative that has branched from the activeCollab 0.7.1 version.

Published by Mike Thomas

Mike Thomas P.Eng. ENV SP, is the author of UrbanWorkbench.com and Director of Engineering at the City of Revelstoke in the Interior of British Columbia, Canada.

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