General Concepts

John's Problem Tracking Page

This is the start of a modest collection of references to problem tracking systems. I first publically referred to this page in my article On Reliability -- Your Users which should have appeared in the February 1999 issue of ;login:.

Please let me know what I've missed. Currently, I've missed any sort of real descriptions on any of this. And this is certainly not very well organized.

See Also Wikipedia

Wikipedia contains an entry entitled Comparison of issue tracking systems.

Freely Available Tracking Systems

Keystone is a web-based, SQL-backed, problem management system. A quick look suggests to me that it's primarily intended for bug tracking and similar sorts of things. Worth a look. In reasonably active development - see
Historical note: It had been abandoned for a while, but Dave Belfer-Shevett has re-acquired it, and Keystone is now back in active development.

Tech Tracker
Tracking plus hardware asset tracking, uses PostgreSQL as the database back end. You can tie a request to a particular piece of hardware. Looks interesting, but perhaps somewhat early and under development (as of Oct 3, 2001).

Jesse Vincent's fine, reliable and feature rich RT request tracker. See Current version is 2.0.13 as of March, 2002.
jesse reed vincent -- --
Mailing list at with archives at
Asset tracker add on:

Written in Python, web interface, looks interesting.

Here's the "blurb" from the announcements:

Roundup is a simple-to-use and -install issue-tracking system with command-line, web and e-mail interfaces. It is based on the winning design from Ka-Ping Yee in the Software Carpentry "Track" design competition.

Note: Ping is not responsible for this project. The contact for this project is

Roundup manages a number of issues (with flexible properties such as "description", "priority", and so on) and provides the ability to (a) submit new issues, (b) find and edit existing issues, and (c) discuss issues with other participants. The system will facilitate communication among the participants by managing discussions and notifying interested parties when issues are edited. One of the major design goals for Roundup that it be simple to get going. Roundup is therefore usable "out of the box" with any python 2.0+ installation. It doesn't even need to be "installed" to be operational, though a disutils-based install script is provided.

It comes with two issue tracker templates and three database back-ends. Back-ends for relational databases are being developed.

By Steve Willoughby and others at Intel, who presented a paper on reqadm at LISA XIII in 1999. Featureful, reasonably high volume, primarily in C++, worth a look. Currently (April 2002) at version 1.2.3. Now at

By John Bennett of JBServe hosting, is a "full featured help desk system" written in Perl and using MySQL. Likely worth a look.

Double Choco Latte
Double Choco Latte provides basic project management, work orders, and call center tickets.
All in one -- project management, bug tracking, support tickets. PHP, MySQL
Open source Ticket Request System. Admin, agent and end-users interfaces. Multi-language support. Integrated stats and graphs. Commercial support available from the authors. Looks interesting.
TuxMonkey Issue Tracker
Grew out of work at RedHat, PHP, MySQL/PostgreSQL, etc. Seems to be worth a look.
Remy Evard's req from Northeastern University. I've updated it slightly, applied a few fixes, and enhanced it to handle areas. See this directory for the software and some documentation. But in general, consider this software that is past its prime.

Rust was described in a Chicago LISA (1996?) paper by Craig Ruefenacht, and was a new implementation, drawing on some of the features of req. Rust was formerly available at but that changed when the author, Craig Ruefenacht moved to a different job. There might be a reference at and the mailing list at may also still exist. There were also two other Rust mailing lists: (October 21, 1998)

req next generation -- currently appears to be mostly dormant. Possible references, in descending order of likelihood:

TCL interface to reqng and req Eric Melski --

Web interface for reqng
Colin Cyr --

Another web interface to req(ng)

The Mozilla project bug/defect tracking software
JitterBug - from the Samba project

Debian bug tracking software
by Ian Jackson

gnats - cygnus??

PTS/Xpts - Problem Tracking System Unchanged since 1995

Commercial Tracking Systems


"Keystone is a web-based tool for managing a small to medium sized IT department. Its primary use is for tracking problems and tickets within the department, but also includes contact and resource management, all tightly integrated . The system is entirely Web based, and has extremely low requirements for the browser (No javascript, No frames)"

Other Tracking References

Free Issue and Bug Tracking Software
Edd Dumbill has a list of (mostly) free issue tracking systems:
Call Center, Bug Tracking and Project Management Tools for Linux
Includes free and commercial references maintained by Linas Vepstas

Problem Management Tools Summary maintained by David W. Eaton

General Concepts: Yesterday's Solutions to Tomorrow's Problems
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