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Installing JIRA

James F. Carter <>, 2012-01-16

Mathnet currently uses Perfect Tracker to manage trouble tickets, and there is no formal project management or planning software. Perfect Tracker is unsatisfactory in several ways and has not been updated since 199x, and is slowly collapsing under its own weight. We intend to improve this situation.

Goals and Issues

What is JIRA?

Jira is a proprietary product of This is a company with offices in Sydney, San Francisco and Amsterdam, about 400 FTE. The price is nonlinear in the number of users: 10 users = $10/mo, 15 users = $50/mo, 2000 users = $1000/mo. There is a free license for educational institutions, and we believe we qualify for it. Product root page is here.

What JIRA can do:

Installation Issues

Installation Steps

Proposal for Action

Open Source Alternatives

Now that we have been using Jira for a month, we are starting to recognize some problems.

Therefore we are looking at two issues: using a different, more informal paradigm for trouble tickets, like we did before Jira, based on manual e-mail, and open source project management.

Wikipedia article about project management software. To summarize:

Wikipedia article comparing project management software. 146 packages are listed. Of these, I filtered on open source, web based, locally hosted (vs. cloud service on vendor's servers), and excluding community editions. And it has to be collaborative (vs. single user). This leaves 20 packages, with Jira included for comparison.

Of these, many are mainly for document management or are otherwise obviously unsuitable for us (12 packages). Of the remainder, some are mainly issue trackers, some are for real project management, and some are combined like Jira is. The features reported in the Wikipedia article were:

Issue tracking; Scheduling; Project portfolio management; Resources; Document Management; Workflow system; Reporting and analysis.
Here's a summary of the 8 survivors (and Jira). They are ordered according to jimc's judgment of how worthwhile they seem for further investigation. The last two items are much stronger in issue tracking than real project management, and we could consider them for that purpose.

Proprietary (it's what we have now). Actively developed. In Java. Includes integrated issue tracking and project management with workflow. No resource management or document management. Reporting, such as it is, is sufficient for our purposes. I think it has scheduling modules but scheduling is not very important for us. The problem we're having with it is licensing and expense.

Endeavour Software Project Management

Actively developed. In Java. Uses any database. No OS or browser limitations. Intended for software project management, issue tracking, and managing software testing. Has an integrated wiki. No workflow module. It does reports but not extensively. Weak on scheduling. This one is worth a closer look.


Actively maintained and funded by the Galician Coast Guard (naval auxiliary). In Java. Cross platform. Specifically for project management with scheduling and resource allocation. Progress and resource utilization monitoring and reporting. Jimc feels that it is too focused on resources and scheduling.


Actively maintained. In Python. Cross platform. Licensing: AGPL and proprietary ( Mainly for business: sales management, warehouse management, point of sale, human resource management, project management. It has modules for all the listed activities. Jimc feels that it is too focused on scheduling and sales-type activities.


Actively developed. In PHP. No OS or browser limits. Its main function is PIM, i.e. contacts, calendar, projects and to-do lists. Can be used from the web interface or on 3rd party generic PIM clients via SyncML. No scheduling, workflow or reporting. I think this is related to Horde.


Part of the DotGNU project, in PHP, has about 50 various modules including a Calendar, Addressbook, an advanced Projects manager, Todo List, Email, and File manager. In other words, it's a PIM suite. No scheduling, workflow or reporting. This sounds a lot like Horde.


Actively developed. In Java. Cross platform. Hard to understand what it really does, but all entities are indexed by Apache's Lucene. Allegedly it does all titled features except workflow.


Actively developed. In Ruby on Rails. Cross platform, can use a variety of databases. Significantly influenced by Trac. Includes issue tracking, simple time tracking, Gantt chart and calendar. Looks like it is not that strong on real project management, although the Wikipedia comparison shows it with all features except resources and reporting. We could consider it for issue tracking.

Mantis Bug Tracker

Actively maintained. In PHP. Cross platform. It is mainly for issue tracking, though they say it can be used for other things too. We could consider this one as our issue tracker.