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The end of OTRS Community Edition – but here comes Znuny (and other forks)!

OTRS AG, the company behind OTRS, announced the end of OTRS Community Edition in a non-public e-mail via the vendor's news feed. No such information was provided publicly as of this writing. Not on the official OTRS.com, and neither on the OTRS Blog.

OTRS logo
OTRS logo

On the OTRS release notes, the following (kind of hidden) information was published concerning OTRS 6 on December 23rd 2020:

OTRS 6 has reached end of life and there will be no further security updates after JAN 1st, 2021. We want to point out that using the software exposes you to a high security risk!

https://otrs.com/release-notes/attention-security-risk-with-otrs-6/

That's not much time to react, given the fact that many take a vacation over Christmas and New Years.

In general the news to sunset the community edition is quite a surprising and shocking decision as the origins of OTRS were very open. It started 2001 as an open source software (OTRS is short for Open[-Source] Ticket Request System) with a large community around it, especially in Germany. In 2018 the meanwhile established OTRS AG as business unit announced the focus on OTRS as commercial software:

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.

Martin Gruner, Team Leader R&D at OTRS, in April 2018 on the OTRS blog

The announcement in 2018 also contained a few notes concerning the Community Edition usage, including a statement that OTRS CE will be continued:

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.

Unfortunately to all the OTRS Community users, this statement has only held for a bit more than 2 years. The latest publicly available OTRS CE version is and has been 6.0. A newer 7.0 was never released.

While the decision can be understood from a business perspective, it's a disappointment for the OSS community. Especially that the open source community was not publicly informed of the decision to sunset OTRS CE.

Here comes Znuny!

Fortunately it did not take long, until the community jumped in to save (what's there to save) of OTRS Community Edition. The open source branch of OTRS was forked into a new project: Znuny (due to copyrights on the brand name OTRS, the same name could not be used).

Znuny - OTRS fork
Screenshot of Znuny LTS (OTRS fork)

The name Znuny comes from the company with the same name: Znuny runs offices in Germany, Switzerland and the USA and offer services around OTRS. Znuny promises to maintain the OTRS Community Edition fork for the next two years.

The Znuny team currently makes no promises whether or not a new release will follow:

The software in its current form will remain compatible with previous versions and with a version 7 of the Community Edition, if released.

Other OTRS forks

Znuny isn't the first fork of OTRS. According to the community forums, there are several OTRS forks available

  • OTOBO is a fork and based on OTRS, however with a very different looking user interface.
  • OFORK is another fork (quite obvious given the name) of OTRS and implements new features. The UI is very similar to the original OTRS.

What are OTRS CE users doing now? This is certainly a very intriguing question as they are required to either chose an OTRS fork or change the ticket system completely.

Claudio Kuenzler
Claudio has been writing way over 1000 articles on his own blog since 2008 already. He is fascinated by technology, especially Open Source Software. As a Senior Systems Engineer he has seen and solved a lot of problems - and writes about them.

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