Chris M. Lindsey

Dad. Assistant City Manager. Surviving.

Switching to ProjectPier from activeCollab

One of my favorite little open-source applications has always been activeCollab, which was originally started as an open-source version of BaseCamp, the venerable project management tool from 37Signals.

I have used activeCollab for myself off and on, and I also recommended and installed it on my server for the UGA Quiz Bowl team. It is a nice little application.

Recently, the developer behind activeCollab decided to make the upcoming release closed-source and will charge for the software, despite promises of a free-edition (there will no longer be free version).

I figured that sooner or later someone would fork the last open-source release of activeCollab (version 0.7.1) and begin work on their own version of activeCollab. And it has been done!

ProjectPier is the name of the new open-source collaboration software that used to be activeCollab. As far as I can tell, ProjectPier was started in July, and they recently presented their first release (version 0.8) to the community.

Right now ProjectPier is basically the old version of activeCollab with new branding and a couple of bug-fixes. The developers are open to integrating any ideas the community likes, so let them know what you are looking for.

ProjectPier is also already getting press in the blogosphere, and I believe much more will be coming because of activeCollab closing its source.


Upgraded to WordPress 2.3


NYTimes on Linux


  1. Hon

    I’m interested to know the legal ramifications of this – changing from opensource to closedsource.

    Seems kind of fraudulent.

    Getting people to work for free on your project under the guise of opensource and then totally burning them.

  2. I agree, I would like to know about the legality of this transition to closed-source.

  3. It is completely legal as long as person making the switch is copyright owner of the code. In this particular case I was because 99.99% of code was written by me (apart from libraries used, but they are available under LGPL). Code that was not written by me was removed (some tab CSS tweaks).

    While some think that we just took the open source version and put a price tag on it that is not true. We invested a lot of money and time in v1.0 – activeCollab 1.0 was development by a team of 3 full time developers for 6 months. It is much better than open source version, has more features, looks better and comes with support.

    Free version of activeCollab is still available on our website and as forks.

  4. Ilija, thanks for your clarifications. I just find it deplorable that a project began as open source and then closed, with no open source version. Many have been able to monetize open source (see Ubuntu, MySQL, WordPress, and on and on), and I don’t see why you still don’t offer an open or free version.

  5. Instead of experimenting with “innovative” business models to make a living and continue the development we used one of the oldest models in the history – charge for your work. It’s actually that simple. Money we make helps us have sustainable business and constantly invest in the project – development, support, marketing and so on.

    Projects you mentioned make money by providing additional services. We think that software itself also has value so we focused on producing kick ass software that people actually want to buy. Free is a great feature, but if you want to make money by selling software you need to have something really good.

    We switched to commercial model to provide more value to our customers and have a sustainable business. I think our customers appreciate this because they get better software and service that we could ever provide as open source project.

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