Open source projects are all about creativity and collaboration, and the process really shines when the project itself supports teamwork. Working together to create software for working together might seem very meta, but the results are quite tangible.
Here are eight open source projects that can help boost your team’s collaboration, whether you are working in a distributed team, from your home office, or onsite in one of the newer hybrid workplaces.
The COVID-19 pandemic may or may not be over, but remote work and video calls are now a permanent part of our world. Jitsi is an open source project that supplies both the browser-side code and the server-side bridge, so you can host your own calls without relying on Zoom or Google Meet. You can run everything on your own hardware or support the project by signing up for the Jitsi service.
Most teams also need a way to discuss their work in real-time and asynchronously, in which case Zulip could be the messaging platform you’ve been looking for. As an open source alternative to Slack, Zulip lets you control the code. It also has custom apps for all the major smartphone and desktop platforms.
Mattermost is another self-hosted messaging tool that supports team messaging, but in this case, it’s designed especially for software development. The project boasts a vibrant community, which has built out a good server for securely managing the message flow. What really sets Mattermost apart is its collection of software development playbooks with special features like checklists and coding retrospectives. Mattermost is also available as a web application and a mobile tool.
Projects that need a shared space can turn to Cyn.in, which seeks to duplicate the shared access that you might experience in an IRL project lab or “war room.” The community edition offers data sharing features like a wiki and collaborative file repositories. It also offers enhanced tracking tools that can keep coworkers from stepping on each other’s toes by locking content and tracking access. Extra features like voting and search round out a complete system that can make a virtual office space even better than a physical one.
Managing teams is what Kolab is all about. It organizes milestones, tracks projects, and keeps an eye on individual team members as everyone works toward the goal. Kolab also includes features for team blogging, project documentation, and group discussions.
The team at NextCloud gathered up some of the best open source projects for supporting group collaboration with email, chat, and calendaring. Then, they packaged them all into a stable distribution that anyone can install at home or in an office. Now, you can have your choice of the best applications for running an office or a household, while also controlling the back end.
Creating documents, slide shows, or spreadsheets is the lifeblood of many office tasks. Group Office is a groupware platform that supports these basic tasks as well as many of the other important chores of office management. Features include timesheets, billing, and customer relations management. The basics are supported in the community edition, but the company also offers more professional services and custom development.
Developers are familiar with using a version control system like Git to keep track of code and record version changes. GitLab is a GitHub alternative that makes it easier to collaborate and manage your code from a browser. It’s especially well suited to devops and includes features for managing security and compliance in a devops pipeline. The hosted version is available for a fee and there’s a community edition for running it locally.
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