5 open source alternatives to Trello

Track your tasks and projects with these open source organization tools.
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A kanban board on a whiteboard with sticky notes

Jeff Lasovski. Modified by Opensource.com. CC BY-SA 3.0.

I have to admit, I've fallen in love with Trello as a productivity tool. If you like keeping lists as a way to organize your work, it's a very good tool. For me, it serves two primary purposes: keeping a GTD framework, and managing certain projects with a kanban-like schedule.

But Trello is a closed source SaaS product, and I wanted to know whether I could find an open source alternative to meet my needs. As much as I love Trello, it lacks a few features that I'd really like to have in a list/task manager, and I wanted to explore my other options.

If you're not familiar with Trello or the concept of a kanban board, it's pretty simple. Items on a list are each treated as "cards." Offline versions often use Post-It Notes moved across a series of bins. It's based on a process developed for manufacturing, but widely adopted by the lean software development community. Cards might represent a feature, which is moved across a board to represent its flow through development, review, testing, and deployment. Digital tools often allow attachments to these cards: images, links, additional lists, a person assigned to the task, etc., and many have additional tools for giving you a fuller picture of how tasks are moving across a workflow. For people with a lot of production-oriented work, they also work well outside of the software development world. I use kanban boards for tracking everything from articles being written to home repairs.

But most kanban board tools are multi-purpose, and you can also use them to track next actions, someday/maybe lists, or even just what groceries you need to pick up. The killer feature of almost all of them is the ability to share your boards with a team, allowing group collaboration and keeping everyone on the same page. When looking for an open source tool to fit my needs, I came across five open source, free Trello alternatives and wanted to share a little bit from my experience with each.

Taiga

First up is Taiga.io. We've reviewed Taiga before, and it's one of our top project management tools. Whereas some project management tools seem to focus too much on including a kitchen sink of features, one of the things that I liked about Taiga when I first learned about it was its focus on simplicity and a clean interface. Taiga is also highly customizable and includes integration with a lot of other features and external tools, as well as a number of community-created tools.

If you're switching away from another provider, you may be able to import boards when creating a new Taiga project. During project creation, choose the import tool and sign into your other account. There are importers for Trello, Jira, Github, and Asana.

 

Taiga importers

Taiga does more than kanban boards, but since that's what I am primarily interested in, that's most of what I explored. I liked the ability to add custom fields, and the points system is something that teams might find interesting; reporting was also super easy. In addition to being an open source project you can download and run yourself, Taiga features an online hosted version offering both public project boards and private boards.

Taiga is written in Python with Django and on top of AngularJS, and is open source under a GNU Affero GPL.

 

Kanban board

Taiga screenshot by Jason Baker. CC BY-SA 2.0.

Kanboard

Kanboard is a fairly minimalist entry into the world of open source kanban boards. But don't let the minimal interface fool you, it still hosts a number of features including task searching and filtering, subtasks, attachments, commenting, and more, as well as some decent analytics and reporting options. You can also easily export your cards in a variety of formats. Kanboard is easy to install, uses few resources (you can run it on a Raspberry Pi, for example), and has been translated to quite a number of different languages.

Kanboard is written in PHP and is made available under an MIT license.

 

Kanban board

 

Kanboard screenshot by Jason Baker. CC BY-SA 2.0.

 

Wekan

The next contender I looked at was Wekan. Wekan was formerly known as Libreboard, although the project has evolved significantly from this previous version. They have a free hosted demo that you can try out, or you can download and install it yourself. They make this especially easy, providing a container image, VirtualBox image, or the ability to install from source, and it's integrated into Sandstorm.io if you're already using that platform for hosting a personal cloud server. 

Of all the kanban-style board tools I looked at, Wekan is the one that most closely resembled the Trello interface. Both the front-end and the back-end are written in JavaScript, based on the Meteor framework.

As with Taiga, you can import boards directly from your Trello account when creating a Wekan board.

 

Kanban board

Libreboard (now Wekan) screenshot by Jason Baker. CC BY-SA 2.0.

If you're interested in getting involved with the project, check out the project wiki or the developer documentation.

Restyaboard

Restyaboard attempts to pick up where Trello stops and extend the feature set a bit; they've got a handy comparison chart on their website which lays out their additional features pretty well. Their online demo shows off many of these features. If you're already using Trello, you'll appreciate the ability to import your tasks directly from Trello's default format so you can get up and going quickly.

What I appreciated about Restyaboard was the templating feature (something my currently solution is lacking). They also have a handy API explorer, which makes custom integrations with other tools a breeze, assuming you're willing to do a little bit of coding.

Restyaboard is written in PHP and is freely distributed under an Open Software License.

 

Kanban board

RestyaBoard screenshot by Jason Baker. CC BY-SA 2.0.

TaskBoard

The final tool I looked at was TaskBoard. Like the others, TaskBoard also has an online demo you can try out for yourself before you download and install it.

I found TaskBoard to have many of the same features of other tools I looked at, and that's certainly not a fault. It's a reasonably full-featured solution with filtering, comments, attachments, and most of the standard features of a kanban board I've come to expect. What I liked most about TaskBoard was its inline support for MarkDown, which has become my go-to format for writing.

TaskBoard is MIT licensed and written in PHP.

 

Kanban board

TaskBoard screenshot by Jason Baker. CC BY-SA 2.0.


Do you have another favorite that I missed? Let us know in the comments below, and if you've tried any of these out, tell us what you think! And be sure to also check out our guide to project management tools for agile teams, which has even more great projects to choose from.

This article was originally published on August 27, 2015. It has been updated to reflect changes made to a few of the projects originally listed.

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Jason Baker
Former Red Hatter. Now a consultant and aspiring entrepreneur. Map nerd, maker, and enthusiastic installer of open source desktop and self-hosted software.
Seth Kenlon
Seth Kenlon is a UNIX geek, free culture advocate, independent multimedia artist, and D&D nerd. He has worked in the film and computing industry, often at the same time.

57 Comments

If you are an Emacs user there is Org-Trello. Of course you would still be using the cloud platform. But that is handy on the mobile phone.: https://org-trello.github.io/

Thank you for your advice related with Trello, although I have one app in mind that is quite simple and Can be properly use for large groups as well as individuals. I have started to use it online some time ago, and I am quite happy with the results:)) to satisfy your curiosity (). It might seriously save a lot of time

In reply to by Paul Harper

Trello and all the other tools are good for organization looking for kanban model. But surely they lack in many other features required for sound project management like gantt, reports, templates etc. Well, we're using ProofHub into our organization and it is my favorite tool. It is really helping in increasing productivity at work and also has proven to be the best collaboration tool for us.

I don't think it's appropriate here to advertise for closed source alternatives to trello. Or at least, mention that they are closed so I don't waste my time checking the website.
Thank you :)

Same here. A lot of the suggestion are trying to do search engine optimization and to promote their product/services.

In reply to by Stefano (not verified)

I love Taiga.io, the way it looks and how it works and will be doing a Scrumproject with it shortly.
There are also Docker-versions of Taiga available!!

I noticed that Kanboard can autocreate tasks from emails. That is just awesome.
Does anyone know of any open source, Kanban helpdesk application?
I keep dreaming about something where I can manage helpdesk requests and longer projects, together, using Kanban, for my IT department...

Hi Jason. You forgot about () It's fantastic tool for projet management with kanban, crm, chat, time tracking. You'll love it!

I use wekan via docker, it's so easy to setup and quite useful (I migrated from Trello after they were bought by Atlassian).

The one pain-point for me is that without docker, on computers like the raspberry-pi it's a pain to get it running (I have not managed yet).

You should add () on the list. Really good and has cloud and open source versions available. Comes with Gantt, time tracking, client invoicing and other features that aren't available in the tools you've picked for the list.

Bitrix looks good ... but if you want the OpenSource version, you have to buy one of their On-Premise editions.

In reply to by Jameson (not verified)

God list, trello is great, but is more of a task management than project management, and I trhink you need both to get things rolling. I would also recommend () very similar to trello but with build in Scrum support.

I think Odoo is another choice. It is an ERP System. It combines with Kanban Concept into all the system.

Trello is a great tool, but for development teams it's a bit short. Our favorite open source project manager is https://taiga.io

I think () is a great alternative to Trello.

My company maintains an open source clone of Pivotal Tracker that is also hosted and free to use : (). Check it out.

Best free Trello alternative is () IMHO. It is the only free tool (not only the open source one) that gives you Gantt chart in addition to Kanban view.

I use Solo. Am open source kanban board http://getsoloapp.com/ Only the self-hosted version and it can be a pain to get the server going on your subdomain. But once you get it going it's a great tool.

Looks nice but weird license, from http://getsoloapp.com/license :

"Solo License

This software is free to use.

I. Anyone can download and use this software
II. The source code of this software can be modified to better suit your needs
III. This software can not be redistributed in any form, nor can you sell access to this software."

In reply to by Dale (not verified)

Deck is a kanban style organization tool aimed at personal planning and project organization for teams integrated with Nextcloud.:

https://github.com/nextcloud/deck

Another great alternative is (). It's a really smart software that allows you to create multiple boards, share your ideas and files with colleagues and collaborate effectively. One of the biggest advantages is it's simplicity and reliability. I've been working with it for over a year now in my team and I absolutely love it!

OMG. There are so many Trello alternatives like (). The thing is that Trello is not exactly a Kanban solution. Or it is but on a very basic level. I don't really get it. Trello is a simple todo list. Anyway. Good list. Thanks for it.

After five years of near-continuous development, the source code to Kanbanara, a web-based project management system using the kanban methodology, has now been open-sourced under the GNU Affero General Public License version 3. Kanbanara has been developed in Python 3.6 and utilises CherryPy as its web framework and MongoDB as its NoSQL database system.

See http://www.kanbanara.com or https://sourceforge.net/projects/kanbanara/ for further information.

Did you look at the other tools mentioned? Did you notice how much effort some of them put into a visually pleasant design that allows to focus on the important things?
Compare them to Kanbanara...

I am sorry to hear you put so much effort into a product that IMHO is just too packed and over-colored to be really useful. If you think the core functions can compete with the other OS tools, please ask a designer to look over your software.

In reply to by Rebecca Shalfield (not verified)

One more tool I recommend is Project Management Tools () It is currently free which bridges the gap by providing a rich set of features while still allowing the end-user to have the flexibility of using them as per their need.

I use Trello for every web development project at my marketing agency, since I can easily add images and instructions for my web developpers to achieve. It is really the best tool that I have used so far to communicate with Web developpers.

However, for overall project management, I find Trello to be limited for its calendar view.

I use Asana instead to manage project in the whole. It's free and helps me a lot in project management.

JC Chouinard
https://www.roulllier.ca

You should add on the list as well. It's okay if you didn't since it's new and a lot of people haven't heard of it yet. If you want, you can read more about it at and perhaps you can add it up to your list.

How do you pu you kanban up the website for the public?

A lot of the comments are just for SEO purpose. So sad.

I use . There's an option to use it for free (or go for a free trial version if you need a group of more than 2 people to use it). It's easy to use and has useful features, such as analytics and time trackers. I use to use Trello and quite honestly, it took me a long time to figure out how it works. I'm so glad I switched to another tool.

The Link to https://wekan.github.io/ has a failure... the : isn't inside and the last 2 / are not needed.

Thanks. I'm not sure when that error was introduced, but I've corrected it.

In reply to by MonTea (not verified)

Very informative and interesting

Good morning, I would like to understand if there are any tools that support the use of swimlanes as well. I have been playing around with TAIGA and like this - but I cannot find a way to make use of swimlanes inside the KANBAN board.
Thanks for any feedback and help - I am looking for an easy to use, open source KANBAN board for a small team of 5-10 people, distributed over various locations.

To answer you, Mytaskboard is one project management tool that is Kanban oriented, it alows swimlanes and many other features. It is in french but you can set up the language you want. It is free

In reply to by Harald Horn (not verified)

I want to run a public Kanban board where anyone can freely join and add cards.

Is it possible to restrict permissions of users so they can edit only the cards they create and not anyone else's?

i.e.,

view: public

create: board members (should just need a free account)

comment: board members

edit: admin (full access), board members (only their cards)

Any suggestions?

I'm surprised that Kanban Tool hasn't been mentioned here. For me it's the best kanban-type app. Very convenient and very simple to use. Provides a lot of customisable options. Can interact with other tools e.g. calendar, mail etc. Very helpful with assingning tasks within a group. I don't even need to be at the office to control my whole team.

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