The New Open Source Project Tracking Application

Migrating from OpenProj to ProjectLibreCredit: Javrsmith

The current free open source application is now ProjectLibre. This application takes over from OpenProj, with which it shares core source code. OpenProj development had stopped. Now, with the switch to ProjectLibre, the millions of people who installed the application have a current, viable project tracking application.

ProjectLibre is the Free Open Source Project Tracking Application
ProjectLibre is now available for task tracking and resource assignments. It has been built from the same source code core as OpenProj. Whereas the older application had been dormant for some years, ProjectLibre is more vibrant. It is available from Sourceforge, the open source software distribution site.

ProjectLibre Compatibility
ProjectLibre is completely compatible with OpenProj. The application uses the same ".POD" file type as the earlier program. New ProjectLibre users can simply open their older ".POD" files with the new application and begin managing their projects. ProjectLibre is also compatible with the Microsoft Project file types. Both ".MPP" and ".XML" files can be opened.

ProjectLibre Working Environment
ProjectLibre has implemented some environment changes since its evolution from OpenProj. A new ribbon option moves some buttons from the side of the screen to the top. The new screen layout gives more room for user interaction. The operation of the application is very similar.

ProjectLibre User Guide Reference Manual
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(price as of Mar 16, 2016)
The ProjectLibre User Guide Reference Manual is the definitive source for a comprehensive description of all application functions. Comprised of actual screen images that have annotations and clear descriptions.

ProjectLibre Platforms

ProjectLibre is available for free use on Windows, MacOS and Linux as an installable binary program. The source code is freely available so dedicated technical experts do have the option to port the application to other hosts. The majority of users will install the Windows, MacOS or Linux version. The application does need to be installed on a local computer. There is no network, multiple user support with versions up to 1.5.2, (at least). ProjectLibre is best used as a single user application.

ProjectLibre Functions
ProjectLibre continues to deliver the project management functions that were present in OpenProj. Tasks can be tracked with many metadata attributes such as start/end dates, duration, notes and task predecessors. Staff and equipment resources can be entered with attributes such as cost, availability, notes and more. Work assignments can be made which automatically update the project budget as task completion durations are entered. Gantt chart calendars are provided which allow the display of detailed subcomponent task information or simple calendar overviews. The project critical path is displayed in easy to notice red bars and the critical path is automatically recalculated when any task duration changes are entered.

Building a Project Plan With ProjectLibre
Project managers can start using ProjectLibre to create project plans. The tool provides a spreadsheet  view that allows easy entry of tasks. Similarly, resources can be added in another spreadsheet. Work assignments can be made via a simple to use dialog box. Tasks can have any number of resources attached to them. The application also allows work assignments to be made using resources that are only available part time.

How to Build a Project Plan With ProjectLibre (ProjectLibre User Reference Book 4)
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(price as of Mar 16, 2016)
An introduction to the building of project plans with ProjectLibre presented in a step by step fashion with actual screen shots from the application.

Project and Resource Custom Calendars

The normal ProjectLibre calendar is a standard Monday to Friday, 8 hour per week structure. This may be altered easily. Those agencies that require 24 hour project work can implement custom calendars. These can be adjusted to set holidays as non-working days. Similarly, each resource can have a custom calendar. This allows project managers to record staff holiday or vacation days. ProjectLibre will not use such days in the duration calculation for work assignments.

ProjectLibre Web Site
A new web site is available for support and informative purposes. www.ProjectLibre.Com contains an official blog, user groups and community forum. Interesting new about the application is often posted. When it was voted the application of the month at Sourceforge, in just its second month, the news was first reported on this web site. Visitors to the site will find that there are a wide variety of user groups that seek to bring together people with similar backgrounds or interests. These groups are based on geographic region or particular attributes. Joining the site is free and email addresses provided are well protected.

User Forum Activity
The forums on the web site do offer registered users a chance to ask questions. Various experienced users respond to questions quite quickly. A knowledge base of information is being built within the web site. A search tool is available which is useful. Remember that much of the OpenProj information will still apply to the new application. Unfortunately, the support for the old tool has been suspended as has the older forum knowledge. The new web site has not yet had time to build a body of knowledge about the application.

Standard Documentation Availability
The documentation for the product is still under development. The web site has a work in progress which receives updates from various community members. As of January 2013, there remains a fair amount of effort needed with the documentation. In time this will be expanded.

Note to Users
This application, and OpenProj before, do not contain auto-save functions. This means that users should frequently save their active project files. In the event of a system crash, no changes will be saved. This also means that no automatic recovery is possible after a system failure. Users are advised to save their work themselves. They should also frequently backup their work to secure locations such as remote backup servers. We likely all have lost work during a failed computer session so taking steps to protect yourself should be a priority for all users.

Migration to ProjectLibre
Those who have used OpenProj in the past will find the migration to ProjectLibre to be a fairly straightforward exercise. The compatibility between the new and old applications is excellent. While the new look is different, it is consistent with other business productivity applications. As such, experienced project managers should have little trouble using the application to build project plans, analyze critical path and track task or resource assignments. The new application is quite stable with few reported cases of odd behavior. The future updates to the application will improve stability and functionality. With over 200,000 downloads of ProjectLibre performed in only 4 months, this new application has definitely taken over the free open source project tracking duties from OpenProj.

A Simple Project Plan For ProjectLibre (ProjectLibre User Reference Book 2)
Amazon Price: Buy Now
(price as of Mar 16, 2016)
This book provides new ProjectLibre users with the minimum information they need to know to build a project plan. Written as a step by step guide, readers can install their own copy of the application and follow along to build their own plan.
ProjectLibre - The Open Source Project Management Application (ProjectLibre User Reference Book 1)
Amazon Price: Buy Now
(price as of Mar 16, 2016)
A more in depth introductory study of the application comprised of actual screen prints. Annotations and descriptions are added to provide full clarity when required.