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Disclosure, I’m founder of HelpSpot a help desk app!

I’ve had a bit of a hobby keeping up with open source help desk software apps since I started HelpSpot in 2005. I keep a list of them at Open Source Help Desk List (started that in 2006!).

Now, you’re not going to find any open source help desk systems that are anywhere close to Zendesk in terms of capability. That said, there are a few that are OK. Some of the better ones have become quasi commercial focusing on support and services around their open source apps. Very few of the “pure” open source options with no commercial support are going to be sufficient for all but the most basic of needs.

In no particular order here’s some that aren’t horrible 🙂

  • RT as you mentioned in your description has been around a very long time
  • OTRS – You almost can’t even find their free version on the site but it is there.
  • Helpy – This is a much newer one that’s Rails and has a more modern UI.
  • OS Ticket – Another quasi-commercial old time solution but it is actively maintained which is all you can really ask for in the wasteland of modern open source help desk software.

Honorable Mentions

These aren’t open source but they are free which unfortunately people often use interchangeably.

  • Spiceworks – Ad supported and does a bunch of other stuff besides help desk.
  • Bug trackers: Mantis, Bugzilla – A bug tracker has about 80% of the things a help desk needs (hence why many commercial bug trackers position themselves as help desks also). Many organizations can get buy using a bug tracker as a help desk if they must.

See Questions On Quora

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