Track Issues With Roundup

By Joe Brockmeier (Send Email)
Posted May 31, 2011


Whether you're in a small shop or larger IT environment, issue tracking is a critical component of system administration. Still looking for the right solution? Check out Roundup, a Python-based issue-tracking system that is dead simple to deploy.

No matter what the size is of your IT environment, issue tracking is a critical component of system administration. If you're looking for a simple issue tracking system that can be scaled as your shop grows, check out Roundup, an interesting solution that is easy to both test out and deploy.

Most of the issue-tracking systems I see in use are primarily targeted at developers, and they have many features that simply aren't relevant to system administration. If you're looking for a simple issue tracking system that can be scaled as your shop grows, Roundup is an interesting solution worth checking out.

It's also dead easy to check out -- just download the tarball or zipfile, uncompress and run python demo.py. Roundup will give you the URL and information on default usernames to use the issue tracker. That's it -- Roundup doesn't have a ton of dependencies that you must install. You can even use Roundup without a database, although it has support for SQLite, MySQL, and PostgreSQL if you want to use a more robust database.

As mentioned, Roundup is an "issue tracker" rather than bug tracker. It can be used for bug tracking or to-do lists, help desk support, and more. It's multi-platform, so it should run on any OS that has Python support (the Roundup site provides a tarball and Windows executable). I've tried it on Linux, but it should run just fine on Mac OS X and Windows.

The primary interface is Web-based, but it also has an email interface and command-line interface. The command-line interface is mainly for quick searches of the Roundup issue database. The email interface allows for creating new issues via email and more.

Roundup has its own Web server, so you can run Roundup totally on its own, or it will work in conjunction with Apache or IIS. It will also run as a Zope product if you're in a Zope shop.

The default template is suitable for many shops, but Roundup is very extensible. You should be able to configure Roundup for just about any team as long as you're willing to dig in and spend the time.

If you do decide to customize Roundup, you'll want to be sure to look at the wiki for some examples. You'll find templates for batch editing issues, turning Roundup into a wiki, generating RSS/Atom feeds, and much more.

Any IT shop should have an issue tracker in place. If your organization doesn't have one yet, then Roundup is well worth a look. One note -- if you distribute Roundup, be sure to look at the license (COPYING.txt). Parts of Roundup are under a BSDish permissive license, other parts are under the Zope Public License (ZPL), so be sure that you're checking the licenses before distributing.

Joe 'Zonker' Brockmeier is a freelance writer and editor with more than 10 years covering IT. Formerly the openSUSE Community Manager for Novell, Brockmeier has written for Linux Magazine, Sys Admin, Linux Pro Magazine, IBM developerWorks, Linux.com, CIO.com, Linux Weekly News, ZDNet, and many other publications. You can reach Zonker at jzb@zonker.net and follow him on Twitter.

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