ProjectLibre is the new open source project tracking application. It is free for anyone to use for any purpose. With it, you can plan your own projects in order to keep track of the details. ProjectLibre has functionality that rivals commercially available software that sells for hundreds of dollars per installation.
ProjectLibre is offered by the open source distribution web site Sourceforge.net. This site hosts over 324,000 open source products which are downloaded a total of more than 4,000,000 times per day. Developers like the site because it can handle large numbers of download requests and it provides easy version control of products by release version.
Sourceforge is free to use. Navigate to the web site sourceforge.net/projects/projectlibre. You may choose to register an account on the site but this is not necessary. The ProjectLibre product page is the main location for all Sourceforge files related to the application.
On the ProjectLibre Sourceforge site, the download option is shown as a large green button. This button automatically activates the download of the Windows version. Users of other systems need to select the file browser to locate their particular installation script. This article covers the particulars of a standard installation on Windows only. The steps required for other systems will be similar.
Saving the Installation Script
The download button should automatically start the download process which copies the installation script to your local computer. Ordinarily, the file will be copied to your "Downloads" folder. When the process is complete, you must select and run the script manually. If the finished file is not shown, you can press "CTRL+J" to access the download window. Select and run the script there. The file should be the first in the displayed list and will be called "projectlibre-1.5.2.msi", (version 1.5.2). If the ProjectLibre application has been upgraded, the number will show the new version instead.
Answering Security Related Installation Questions
When the installation script runs, you may see messages that warn you that the publisher could not be verified, no valid signature found or other similar security warnings. These are intended to notify you when software installation attempts are made without your consent. Because you have initiated the installation using current scripts from Sourceforge, you may safely choose the "Run" button. You may also see a window asking you to confirm assent to the license terms. Approve the terms in order to continue.
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Running the Installation Script
The ProjectLibre script provides an initial message that announces that the installation is about to begin. Choose "Next". Status messages will display indicating that the script is working. The script will copy files to your computer and make minor adjustments to your desktop settings in order to properly install the application. When the script finishes, a success message will display asking you to "Finish" the installation. The script ends without any further action. ProjectLibre does not automatically start up; you must manually start the application your self.
Potential Errors During the Installation
ProjectLibre installs on your local computer and makes some system adjustments. You must have the correct authority to allow these actions. If yours is a personal workstation, not in a corporate environment, you will not have any installation issues. If you are using a company workstation, you may lack the rights to install a program like ProjectLibre on your computer. If you encounter file or folder create issues, you will have to contact your company's information technology specialist in order to obtain the required access rights.
Since the installation process copies new files to your computer disk, you must have enough available disk space to accommodate the application. ProjectLibre is not large but constrained systems may not be adequate.
Running ProjectLibre For the First Time
After the installation, you must manually start ProjectLibre. There is no shortcut created on your desktop. You can use the Windows "Start" button to access the application. You can either find ProjectLibre in the list of installed programs or you can enter "ProjectLibre" in the search button and press enter. When the application runs, it might ask you again to confirm the license terms.
Create or Open a Project File
ProjectLibre must always have an active project file loaded when it is running. When the program starts, it presents the option to either create a new project or open an existing one. During the first run, you must create a new project file. The create dialog box is presented which allows several options to be entered. Only the name of the project and the start date are required. The start date defaults to the current date but it may be changed to suit your project. The name of the project manager is an optional field. Regardless, it is a good idea to enter the name to start the process of good record keeping. The notes field allows the entry of general information that may be associated with the project. All of these data items are accessible later for future updating.
Forward or Backward Project Scheduling
Projects may run with a fixed starting date or a fixed finish. Normally, the finish date is largely unknown because it will depend on the duration of all of the component tasks. In some cases, such as a wedding or a trade exhibition, a critical date must be met which cannot easily be changed, if at all. For those projects, you may establish the fixed finish date and enter all tasks that must be completed to meet it. In these cases, the start date of the project is a variable. If there is more work to be completed than time available, the start date will be calculated as some date that has already passed. This indicates that the project is in trouble and management will need to intervene. Note that ProjectLibre does not trigger warnings should this condition arise, it simply adjusts the start date to a date that has already passed. The project manager must be aware of this situation at all times when working with a backward scheduled project.
Task and Resource Tracking
With the new project file created, ProjectLibre is ready to track project tasks, add staff and equipment resources and perform work assignments.
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