Collaboration software, also known as work group support software, is computer software designed to help groups or teams of people — often in separate locations — work together to complete a project. Open source collaboration software is a free or low-cost version of this that allows developers to manipulate the coding for their own needs, though technical support may be lacking. One of the primary considerations of open source collaboration software is the purpose of the program, because some collaboration software is good for music collaboration, while other software is geared more toward project management. Member management is an important software feature for large projects, and the deployment of the program — whether desktop or web-based — will determine how the program is used. Collaboration features, such as the ability to share files or video chat, will determine how users share information.
There are many different open source collaboration software environments, and most are intended for use in a certain type of project. Some are made for music collaboration, some are for project management and content websites, and others are for business endeavors. While music collaboration software could be used for project management, the niche will determine what modules the program has pre-installed, making that program better suited for a particular purpose.
The deployment of open source collaboration software will be either desktop or web-based; meaning the program will open either on the user’s desktop screen or in an Internet program. Unless it is difficult to go online, web-based is usually easier, because it can work on any computer, regardless of operating system (OS) or hardware. If finding an Internet signal is hard, then desktop versions likely will be better.
In a collaborative environment, users need to share information so every member knows what is going on and has information vital to completing the task. To this end, open source collaboration software should come packed with many different ways for users to integrate with one another. For example, features that allow users to chat, send emails, upload and download files and schedule meetings are necessary. There also are extended features, such as video chat and project blogs, which may help manage the collaborative efforts but also may be unnecessary, depending on the users.
Most open source collaboration software requires an administrator who is able to add and manage team members. The software should allow the administrator to increase or decrease user permissions, cluster members into teams and build profiles for members. This will help the team function as a unit and also will establish a chain of command and show members who they have to work with.