Users Speak out about Proposed activeCollab 1.0 Prices

Over at the activeCollab blog, Ilija wrote up a post describing the proposed pricing structure for his release of version 1.0. From my perspective, if there were ever a time for him to do it, it is now, after almost a year of waiting for a big update to the software. There are several issues that users are raising, firstly the upfront cost, secondly the ongoing maintenance (support and upgrade) fee, and thirdly the lack of scalability for the free Lite version.

The Lite version doesn’t feature advanced modules such as tickets and commercial support, but for individuals and non-profits you can always rely on the very active activeCollab community forums. activeCollab Lite is distributed with full source code so you can use it to learn how the code works and extend activeCollab from there on.

Comparison table: 


Max. active projects


Support and upgrade

























activeCollab 1.0: Plans and Prices | activeCollab


A while ago on the activeCollab blog, Ilija hinted at some fees for helping out with installation, these dollars are vastly different from what he’s now proposing…

Fee I had in mind is $20 per intervention (that is my hourly rate). If your host meets system requirements and I still fail to provide a solution you get your money back.

How does this sound to you? This is just an idea and I’d like to hear what you have to say about it.

Btw, If you fear that I might make installation or upgrade process a bit harder just to get more interventions gigs – don’t. I would never do something like that.

Professional help with installation and upgrade | activeCollab

On his personal blog, Ilija wrote about pricing about a year ago. I’m not sure if his philosophy has changed…

There are a lot of people and organizations who like to pay for security and open source should welcome that. There is nothing bad in making money as long as you follow basic principles of open source.

Area52 ? Area51, improved

And on a final not, a quote from Joel…

The more you learn about pricing, the less you seem to know.

I’ve been nattering on about this topic for well over 5000 words and I don’t really feel like we’re getting anywhere, you and I.

Some days it seems like it would be easier to be a taxi driver, with prices set by law. Or to be selling sugar. Plain ol’ sugar. Yep. That would be sweet.

Take my advice, offered about 20 pages back: charge $0.05 for your software. Unless it does bug tracking, in which case the correct price is $30,000,000. Thank you for your time, and I apologize for leaving you even less able to price software than you were when you started reading this.

Camels and Rubber Duckies – Joel on Software

Where does this leave me, well, I’m a big supporter of open source software, and in the past I’ve shown support for activeCollab, and I still think the software is and will continue to be a great product.

Back to Open Source Software, I’m plugging Project Pier for now…

The goal of the project is to create a new project fork, picking up the code after activeCollab 0.7.1. The code will remain open source under the Honest Public License. Ilija has indicated on his website that activeCollab is being rewritten and the new version 1.0, while it may remain open source, will only be developed by his new company. should not detract in any way from what Ilija is doing and I sincerely hope Ilija succeeds in creating a successful commercial version of activeCollab.

About ProjectPier |

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activeCollab Interview

90% of project management is communication and task management. So why does software like Microsoft Project get so hung up on Gantt charts and task dependancies? There have been so many times that I’ve wanted to use the software for actual project management, but it inevitably ends up as a static Gantt chart, that may get updated once in a while to keep clients happy.

So what software solutions are out there for us that want to collaborate with our clients, that don’t just want to hide behind the ubiquitous Gantt chart, (almost as bad as bad powerpoint most of the time)?

In on the coat tails of the web 2.0 phenomonen comes software like Basecamp by 37 Signals and GoPlan, and for those of us who want to have a bit more control, and pay a bit less… activeCollab.


With the upcoming release of version 1.0 of one of my favourite apps, I thought I’d get inside the developers, Ilija Studen’s head and find out more about activeCollab and where he see’s it going. On with the interview…

What is activeCollab and who is it for?

activeCollab is a tool that help teams work more efficiently by keeping all project related communication in one place and providing a set of tools for project management. It is a web application that can be installed on a public server and accessed over the internet (perfect for extranets and client areas) or used on a local network behind company’s firewall. There is no need to install anything on your computer – all you need is a web browser and you are good to go.


More after the jump…

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Improving Workflow – GTD for me

I’m not so good at getting things done, I know, I know, I’ve even written about the book, GTD, but sometimes, it’s actually hard to transform the knowledge that something needs doing, to working out what to do.


Forms and procedures don’t seem to do real well with me, they are useful for setting up a project, or as a final checklist before a set of drawings goes out the door, but for everything else, really I just need a framework that I can operate in. For me, I call this my workspace, whether this is at home, in the office, on my laptop, or in my car, there are tools that I need with me to get things done.

Aside from the physical tools required, (chair, pen computer, phone, etc) there are concepts too., (which may also be physical). The inbox, the next actions list, the tickler file, and archives.

My GTD solution for next actions is currently vitalist and index cards. Ticklers are vitalist and google calendar, archives are file folders, my computer and backups, as well as gmail.

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Productivity in a New Job

Starting a new job is a great time to be thinking about methods and procedures for personal and corporate productivity. Over the past week as I’ve been getting over jetlag and getting my head around new software, people, places, regulations, methods, techniques and all the other bits that make up a move from one country to another or even one city to another.

I’m starting in a role with lots of new things, really, just about everything is new to me all with the backbone of Civil Engineering, Subdivision Design and Project Management as core skills. So where did I start? More after the jump…

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Do you use web apps?  Applications that run entirely online? Timesheets, forms, data entry, change requests, calendars? One of the most promising and cost effective startups is Coghead.


I’ve been proudly wearing my CogHead T-Shirt for a few months now and it looks like the beta program is opening up to a few more testers soon. The most awesome thing about this software is that you can easily create multi-user applications for business or personal use, within a highly customizable format, without writing any code. I’m not a computer code geek by any means, simple is good, particularly when it comes to making small usability changes to the forms or input fields that you create. Guy Kawaski wrote…

How to Change the World: Reality Check: Coghead

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Project Management on a Stick

A few months ago I questioned the need for running the activeCollab software offline, either on a PC, or on a USB key. I’m still not sold on the whole concept, but I was able to get it all running on my USB using Portable Firefox, Uniform Server and of course, activeCollab. For those of you who are entirely new to the whole activeCollab software, think OpenSource Basecamp. Imagine software that forms an online meeting place, file storage, message center, task tracking tool that can be accessed from anywhere in the world with an Internet connection. It is separate from email, but can send you an email of any updates on the site, you can also access notification of any updates on your favorite feed reader.

Project collaboration, management, and task software: Basecamp

Basecamp takes a fresh, novel approach to project collaboration. Projects don’t fail from a lack of charts, graphs, stats, or reports, they fail from a lack of clear communication. Basecamp solves this problem by providing tools tailored to improve the communication between people working together on a project.


This is the world of Basecamp and ActiveCollab, a world of collaborative project management, separate from your personal productivity solutions, with the express purpose of keeping a project’s information and progress in one unified location, smoothing the tracking and management of all the parts of the project that are common to the client and your company. More after the jump…

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How do you To Do

Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity is one of my favorite books on personal productivity, for those of you who’ve subscribed to our email newsletter, I linked to several GTD resources, including Merlin Mann’s podcast on 43Folders.


One of the great things about the GTD method, (or perhaps lifestyle?) is that it totally redefines how you do your todo list, instead of abstract all encompassing project type items, “move to Canada”, “get a job”, the focus breaks down to the next measurable, completable action on the path to achieving that project, “call flight centre to sort out possible travel dates”, “check job postings” or “review resume”.

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Move Over Basecamp – Make Room for activeCollab

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…


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