What this post is about
- The Open Source idea is all about transparency
- Self-hosting tools ensures higher security and GDPR-friendliness
- Most famous SaaS tools can be replaced with an open-source alternative
- We’re listing our favorite tools to help you get started
Over the course of the past – oh dear, has it already been almost six years?! - Zammad has become a household name in the Open Source Community. Ever since our software was first launched back in 2016, we’ve steadily grown by an average of 80% in both customer numbers and revenue.
When people first learn about Zammad, they often ask the same two questions: How can you survive if you’re giving your code away for free? (That’s something we’ve talked about in our blog post on the Zammad Community.) And: If the Open Source philosophy is so important to you, does that mean you only use free software internally, too? And the answer is simple: of course we do!
Transparency matters a lot to us. We truly believe that if you build something cool, you should share it with everyone. Some people will forever use it for free but they will return the favor some other way – e.g. by spreading the word about your product or by fixing bugs for you. Others might lend you a hand and pay for enhancements or support services.
We have come to know the Open Source Community as tight-knit and supportive. If you win users over once, they will remain loyal to your product as long as you can keep (or improve) your standard. They appreciate that free software is honest. With everything out in the open, there is not much you can hide, and thus there is only a very small chance of nasty surprises.
In order to keep the Open Source Community thriving, it’s inevitable that free software must be used and advertised – and we are more than happy to do so!
If the reasons above weren’t enough to convince you yet, we’ve got some more up our sleeves. Of course, Open Source isn’t just about sharing everything freely – data security plays a major role, too!
Besides the transparency and the adaptability that comes with free code, you should also consider the factor that open-source tools can be hosted on your own servers. This gives you maximum control over the security of your software and, almost more importantly these days, your data! The relevancy of GDPR-friendliness is ever-growing. By self-hosting your tool stack, you’re a massive step closer to meeting all necessary guidelines.
As mentioned in the introduction, we’ve been around for a few years already (in fact, it’s probably time we splurged on a good anti-wrinkle cream…). We’ve learned many lessons, but the most important one for this particular article is: There is an open-source alternative for every well-known tool out there!
Sounds unlikely? Well, as we said, we believe in full transparency – so let’s take a closer look at Zammad’s tool stack!
Jitsi is a video-chat software that you can use in your browser or download as an app. It includes a chat, screen sharing from several devices simultaneously, remote access to other participants’ desktops, and of course the all-time favorite perks such as sending reactions or adjusting your background. Meeting are carried out in HD so that you don’t have to compromise on the quality.
--> Great alternative to: Zoom, Teams, Skype, Google Hangouts, etc.
--> Get Jitsi here
The chat tool has become a well-known alternative to other solutions such as Slack. Mattermost offers similar features: You can create private and public channels, upload custom emojis, pin messages, set a profile status, and retrieve older correspondences thanks to the historization of chats. The Playbooks feature lets you create workflows with automation, integrations, and much more. The Boards feature is great for planning projects.
--> Great alternative to: Slack, Teams, Asana, Monday, etc.
--> Get Mattermost here
Nextcloud is a fantastic tool that offers you several solutions in one. We mainly use the cloud and calendar, but there is so much more you can do with it!
Nextcloud has three different suites: Files, Talk, and Groupware. They allow you to sync and share files, carry out calls, chats, and web meetings, and manage your calendar, projects decks, contacts, and email. What more do you need?
--> Great alternative to: OneDrive, Google Drive, iCal, Google Calendar, Trello, Asana, Miro, Slack, Teams, Outlook, Gmail, Dropbox, Zoom, Skype, etc.
--> Get Nextcloud here
If you’re looking for an alternative and free email application, then Thunderbird might be just what you need. It includes an address book and a calendar, as well as helpful features like the attachment reminder, search tools, and a message archive.
--> Great alternative to: Outlook
--> Get Thunderbird here
Okay, fine, we might be a bit biased with this one. But it’s hardly a surprise that our own tool plays a major role in our day-to-day business, is it? We use Zammad to handle all our correspondences: email, fax, telephone, social media, etc. The knowledge base helps us to share valuable information, while the huge variety of features helps to make us more productive.
--> Great alternative to: Zendesk, Freshdesk, Jira, etc.
--> Get Zammad here: Just click on the button on the top right to start a free trial!
By the way:
If our knowledge base alone isn’t enough for your use case, you can additionally use a wiki. There is an excellent FOSS solution by BlueSpice that we can recommend!
Building and improving
Every software needs further development and constant improvements. In order to collect issues, communicate, assign tasks, and collaborate in general, GitLab is a fantastic platform. It’s perfect for planning releases and updates and is one of the best-known open-source solutions.
--> Great alternative to: GitHub
--> Get GitLab here
Grafana is a popular and renowned reporting and monitoring tool that allows you to visualize data from your system. Create individual dashboards and create graphs to see your most current developments at a glance and stay on track with KPIs.
--> Great alternative to: Qrvey, Tableau, Power BI, etc.
--> Get Grafana here
Kibana is part of the Elastic stack and helps you to visualize your data from Elasticsearch. You can create graphs, diagrams, and other visuals for various types of information, such as your query load or the way requests flow through your apps.
--> Great alternative to: Qrvey, Tableau, Power BI, etc.
--> Get Kibana here
Kirby is an open-source CMS (Content Management System) that we use to manage our website (yes, the one you’re currently reading this text on!). It allows you to manage the content for several projects and makes it easy to combine elements and images into beautiful landing pages.
--> Great alternative to: Hubspot, Webflow
--> Get Kirby here
Try this free analytics tool to get live updates and valuable insight on your website’s performance. Besides creating adaptable dashboards you can also run A/B tests or set up heatmaps to continuously optimize your results.
--> Great alternative to: Google Analytics
--> Get Matomo here
In order for your business to thrive, there is no need to spend a fortune on expensive software. In fact, there is an open-source solution for almost everything! Give them a go to support honest, transparent, and often small developer teams, and karma will thank you in due course! :)