• United States

Request Tracker handles big help desk needs

Nov 17, 20032 mins
Enterprise ApplicationsLinuxOpen Source

* Request Tracker open source help desk from Best Practical

The third software product in our series on open source help desk packages is Request Tracker from Best Practical, an open source software development company based in Somerville, Mass. For larger enterprises looking for an open source helpdesk system, Request Tracker may fit the bill.

The software can run on Linux, FreeBSD, Solaris or Mac OSX, as well as on Apache Web Server Versions 1.3.x and 2.1.x. The software is written in Perl and requires several Perl scripting modules that come with the software bundle. On the back end, either a PostgreSQL or MySQL database is required to make the system run. The creators of the software recommend MySQL and suggest that the mod_fastcgi module for Apache should also be used for better performance.

Request Tracker’s Web interface can be used to create IT help desk requests and tracks these items through to completion. Web pages with input boxes and pull-down menus allow help desk staff to fill out ticket items, which are tracked through the system as objects in the Request Tracker database. An e-mail gateway API is also included in the software, allowing a help desk to process e-mail requests from end users who are entered right into the system automatically.

On the administration side, a pre-built access control module allows users to create individual help desk user and group profiles, and grant various security rights to the groups and users. Administration can be done either through a Web interface or a command-line interface (CLI). The SQL database can also export records, allowing administrators to recreate reports on help desk performance using professional reporting software such as Crystal Reports.

Other sister modules for Request Tracker are also available, including a FAQ Manager, for organizing and publishing an intranet FAQ page for end users, and an Incident Response module, which allows help desk to respond and track security and virus incidents more efficiently. All of Best Practical’s help desk packages are licensed under the GPL. The company sells support contracts for the software for $6,000 annually.