I'm in the market for a ticketing system and I'm curious what everyone else is using. I'd like to welcome everyone to post their favorite ticketing system and the reason they like it so much.

My criteria in selecting a ticketing system is:

  • Should be open source
  • Users should be able to do 100% of their interaction by email. No need to use the web interface at all. I don't even really care if there is a customer web interface.
  • Should let me handle as much by email as possible. (at least, let me reply to tickets by email)
  • Should be fairly simple to install with few dependencies.
  • The web interface shouldn't make me want to gouge my eyes out.

Things I don't really care about:

  • Time tracking.
  • Prioritization is not a huge priority. (groan)
  • Sub-tasks, task depdencies, queues, etc.
  • Pretty much anything else that doesn't aid getting issues out of my email and into a tracking system.

I've used Trac successfully as a ticketing system in the past (just turned off the wiki, repository, etc) and I wouldn't mind using it or Redmine again if I knew of some email plugins. At a previous company, I used Request Tracker which fulfills nearly all the criteria, but had so many dependencies that nothing else I run needs that I finally just decided it wasn't worth it.

I have OTRS up and running, and it fulfills all the email requirements, was pretty straightforward to setup, but I really dislike the (IT) web interface. Perhaps I'm using it wrong, but the way it handles listing tickets and helping me find what to do is far inferior to RT.

Perhaps I'm just being really nit-picky, but I figure I'm going to have to be using whatever system I choose all day long every day so I might as well really like it. And as long as the users only have to interact with help@example.com, it's transparent to them.

So what are you using/have used that you really really like and why?

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  • 4
    "Perhaps I'm just being really nit-picky" - Yes, you are. The evidence is here: "Request Tracker which fulfills nearly all the criteria, but had so many dependencies that nothing else I run needs that I finally just decided it wasn't worth it." AFAICT, you just install the dependencies and forget them. How is this "not worth it"? – Ernie Jul 20 '09 at 17:35
  • 2
    Every new dependency is a new thing to maintain and keep running, and more complexity to deal with when things go wrong. I'm a firm believer in keeping things as simple as possible, and a ticketing system is supposed to ease my burden, not add to it. If there's nothing better out there, I will probably pick up with RT again. But I want to make sure that there really isn't anything better first. – abourg Jul 20 '09 at 17:55

15 Answers 15


Request Tracker all the way.

The dependencies aren't nearly as much of an issue as they used to be, as long as you don't care about having the absolutely latest version. On RHEL5 systems, you just configure your system to use EPEL and run "yum install rt3". On Ubuntu, it's something more like "apt-get install request-tracker3.6", but "apt-cache search request-tracker rt3" will give you a list of all the related packages.

Yes, both of those options pull in a whole lot of perl modules, but so? There's somebody else who's already built them and is worrying about keeping them current.

  • I do like RT, and I will keep EPEL in mind if I decide to go back to it. – abourg Jul 20 '09 at 18:01
  • I don't like RT at all - I've worked with a few people that absolutely love this (for example Kannel F/LOSS project I was involved with in the past used it before moving to redmine), and I think it is way too simplistic and doesn't offer any extensibility that other systems do and its very hard to customize its UI other then selected different colors for products and such. – Guss Oct 17 '11 at 8:07
  • @Guss: RT is actually quite extensible, but generally requires some perl programming knowledge. There's a lot you can do with ticket attributes and Scrips, but you can also customize and add more pages with the specific things you need. RTFM and RTIR are both extensions to RT using the same kind of extension mechanisms anybody could use. – freiheit Oct 18 '11 at 17:11

We use "RT: Request Tracker" by Best Practical. I'm 99% sure it's open source, but you've already used it, so you should know what it's capable of.



Redmine ; Definitive. It's easy to use, has a lightweight footprint and it fulfills my needs.


Jira ; heavyweight. For realy process management into tickets.


My favourite is JIRA. It's open source but not free. Works here for more that two years without a glitch. It's main strength are customizable workflows, so you can adjust the tracking system to your own workflow (that people are used to, h+owever bad it is), not vice versa.

  • JIRA is by far my favorite ticketing system – Kevin Kuphal Jul 20 '09 at 18:01
  • I use JIRA on multiple projects and am frequently frustrated by it - however, I have yet to find one I really like. – Keith Jul 20 '09 at 18:02

I would have to say OTRS. First off, its open source and used by many large organizations. I have implemented it at two companies including where I currently work. I used it everyday for everything. It has email to ticket functions and I have it authenticating with AD with ease. Give it a look or try. In the past I have used Numara Track-It and it was OK. But the client was slow and fat. I think their FootPrints web software would be a much better solution after using Track-It.

  • I've been trying OTRs but the one thing I'm stuck on is the day to day workflow. I feel like I'm really missing something. Do you have any resources for a struggling OTRS admin? – abourg Jul 20 '09 at 23:10
  • OTRS Documentation is really great. Also reading through their mailing lists are very helpful, however I never really liked doing that. – xeon Jul 20 '09 at 23:28

Not trying to be ultra obvious here, but Bugzilla can be configured rather easily to allow bug replies via email and even bug reporting via email. It has a lot of other nice email features such as "whine" (run queries on open bugs and send the output by email), and has tons of available customizations and integrations. Finally installing it is really easy and it mostly wants some perl modules to be there and you can be up and running in no time.

In my company we use it very successfully and integrated it with the developers' IDEs (Eclipse with Mylyn), the subversion SCM (using hooks and WWW::Bugzilla) and even the build system. The QA guys are using Deskzilla which is a brilliant ticket managing desktop application (which also has a Jira version if you go for that).

  • Yeah bugzilla is ok, although the UI is too simplistic sometimes. We use the one at cvsdude.com and it's mostly fine with all issues caused by cvsdude itself. – Michael Pliskin Jul 21 '09 at 0:49
  • I agree, though a lot of project have really nice templates that help with Bugzilla quite a lot. Look at the bug submission wizard at bugzilla.gnome.org and bugs.kde.org . The templating system for Bugzilla is extremely powerful, which is one great feature that neither Jira nor RT offer. – Guss Jul 21 '09 at 10:15

We've started using SpiceWorks here and like it a lot. The only downside is a bland user portal.

  • We use spiceworks as well. It's simple and works well. The user portal (is) rather bland, but it appears abourg doesn't care about it. ;) – Tom Sep 12 '11 at 19:16
  • While the option is "free" it isn't open source. FYI: I've been using Spiceworks since 1.0 and love it. – steve.lippert Sep 12 '11 at 20:48

I just started to use FogBugz and like it so far.

  • FogBugs is a cool one but expensive :( – Michael Pliskin Jul 21 '09 at 0:50
  • FB is good, but not open source. – samsmith Jun 5 '12 at 16:30

Request Tracker's fairly solid. We mostly use it for legacy reasons (it's what we have had for the last few years), and it hasn't caused us any grief. It does the job as it should; there's not much more to say.


We use TrackIT. Been using it for year and years... so far so good.

  • Here is one I've really forgotten about. I will check it out, thanks. – abourg Jul 20 '09 at 23:11
  • They also have a product called footprints. Its trackit on crack. – Alan Sep 14 '11 at 17:19

Hmm, I don't think there are a lot of people that actually like a ticket system, let alone have a favourite one.

If you'd ask which ticket system do you hate most, my answer would be the Remedy Action Request System.

  • 2
    Surely by now somebody should have created a ticketing system that isn't completely awful? I guess it's not a particularly interesting problem to work on. And I have had the displeasure of working on Remedy as a user. Quite agree with you there, some systems are terrible, but Remedy blows them out of the water in terms of awfulness. – abourg Jul 20 '09 at 17:58
  • 5
    Ticketing systems are inherently awful because work you don't want to do comes in via them. – freiheit Jul 20 '09 at 18:42

Assembla is fast and light-weight while providing what you need.


I've used Kayako before. It runs on Open Source (php/mysql), however it does cost some money. It's not too bad in terms of pricing, but I'm not sure if you were asking for free or just Open Source technology. Everything is done through email, it's easy on the eyes, fairly affordable, easy to install and solid support.


I've had good experiences with Flyspray.

  • Flyspray is supposed to support some email features - at least according to their mailing lists, but I failed to locate mention of such features in the web site or their own tracking system (powered by flyspray, of course ;-) ). – Guss Jul 21 '09 at 10:13

Simple and great Hosted Solution: Zendesk

Heavy Ticketing with amazing reporting and process management/workflows (also highest barrier of entry): JIRA

Windows based system, integrates with system management, agent deploy: Kaseya

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