A look into the future – and a bit of OTRS history

Martin Gruner18. Apr 2018 | Miscellaneous


The practical examples presented in our technical blog (blog.otrs.com) and now in the expert category in our FAQ blog section serve as a source of ideas and documentation to show what is theoretically possible with OTRS in concrete scenarios or sometimes even for more exotic configurations. All configurations presented here were developed under laboratory conditions as a proof of concept. 

We can only guarantee testing and implementation of these concepts to be error-free and productive if implemented in a workshop with one of our OTRS consultants. Without this, the responsibility lies with the customer himself. Please note that configurations from older OTRS versions may not work in the newer ones.

Dear OTRS Users,

With this article, we want to share important changes about the OTRS Open Source Strategy with the community and answer any questions you may have.

The year 2018 continues to be an exciting one for OTRS. Launched in 2001 as the “Open Ticket Request System,” OTRS GmbH was founded only two years later. The software, released under an open source licensing model, has been extremely successful and has undergone multiple releases during the past 17 years. The company, OTRS, has grown alongside the software and has since transitioned to an  AG with offices worldwide.

A milestone in the company’s history was the introduction of OTRS Business Solution™, designed for professional use, in 2015. Prior to that, support, consulting, and custom software development were the foundation of the company’s business model. This meant that further development of the software had to be financed from the resulting revenue – a costly affair. The OTRS Framework alone contains approximately 500,000 lines of source code, created with approximately 50 person-years of development work.

The majority of the development expenses – over 95% of more than 15 million euros – was provided by the OTRS Group itself. Since its foundation, the OTRS Group has grown strongly and now employs almost 100 people.

Due to the significant growth of the company and the need to satisfy the high demand for the professionally-offered solution, OTRS Group’s management team has decided to focus on further developing the business model that surrounded OTRS Business Solution™, while at the same time securing further development of the freely-available variant of OTRS.

The new approach will move forward in two ways:

  • A large part of the currently non-public functionality that has been part of OTRS Business Solution will be integrated into the main OTRS Product, making it accessible to the public.
  • Similarly, as future development continues, we will make new versions of OTRS available first to our paying customers, and then several years later to the public.

This strategy is currently being implemented, and we’re excited about some of the new projects that are resulting from it. Our OTRS Developers are making significant changes to the software’s user interface, which is expected to launch with the release of OTRS 7. The strategy change has played out in the recent rebranding of the product too. As you may have noticed, we now refer to the fully-managed, professional solution as OTRS. The freely available variant of OTRS is now called ((OTRS)) Community Edition. And, OTRS Business Solution is no longer used as a product name.

Along with the new strategic company initiatives, a website relaunch has taken place. OTRS Group now offers three newly-designed, independent OTRS Websites – a pure product page, a corporate page and a brand-new, dedicated community platform.

These changes are likely to raise questions for non-paying users of OTRS, some of which we would like to address:

Will there be restrictions on the use of my existing OTRS Free / Community Edition?
No, existing installations can still be used to their full potential.

Will bug fixes be available to ((OTRS)) Community Edition users?
Yes. We will provide bug fixes for the most recent version of the ((OTRS)) Community Edition until there is a new publicly-available major release.

Can I still report errors in the software?
Yes, please do! Errors can still be reported through bugs.otrs.org. However, we will continue to prioritize those errors reported by our paying customers.

Can I still suggest features?
Absolutely! Feature requests can be reported via otrsteam.ideascale.com just as before. 

Can I contribute to the development of OTRS in the future?
Yes, but with limitations: We will no longer be able to publish the OTRS main development branch (»master«) in the future:

  • Bug fixes to previously-released versions of OTRS can still be submitted as a pull request via GitHub.
  • To contribute new features to future versions of OTRS, it will be necessary to become a customer of OTRS. Details will be announced later.

Best regards,
Martin Gruner
Team Leader R & D at OTRS

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