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Archive for March, 2008

chown -R us ./base

March 22nd, 2008 1 comment

I so want this tee shirt!

chown -R us ./base

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Open Source Employee Time Tracking/Payroll Software

March 22nd, 2008 5 comments

One of my biggest complaints about employee time tracking and payroll software is that, in my experience, it always lacks that one little feature that you want in it. In the end, you have to settle for something that doesn’t do everything you need, and you compensate by maintaining a separate record somewhere else.

I have found the coolest solution for that problem: open source time tracking software in TimeTrex. This software is awesome, because you get the source code, so you can add that last little feature that you want!

For example, at work, we need three features added to our time management system: 1) ldap support (so the password for the system is the same as the password for all of the other services on the network), 2) Kerberos Support (for Kerberos clients so no password has to be entered at all for domain members), and 3) the Employee ID needed to be printed on the pay stub. TimeTrex lacks these features (so do most time management programs), but you get the source code.

Programming the third item took about an hour (I had to figure out the system). The support staff at TimeTrex was super helpful the whole time (Shaun – you’re AWESOME!). I posted a how-to on the forums when I was done (here).

I gave the task of adding LDAP support to a php programmer in my group that wanted to learn about LDAP, and the task took her a day and a half. I will be posting a how-to on the forums after I polish up the documentation for it.

I haven’t had time to mess with the Kerberos authentication yet, but that has become a low priority for me since LDAP works so well.

The price was also hard to beat – FREE! We use the standard edition, which is free and open source no matter how many users you have. We have to host it ourselves, but it is very happy on the same server that serves up our corporate intranet and subversion. It was very easy to install – took me about an hour doing it the long way, including cron scripts to make automated nightly backups of all information.

(The long way requires that you knows something about configuring the database backend – either MySQL or PostgresQL.)
The pay-for version includes some client-time tracking features that we don’t need right now, but I would recommend to anyone that needs it.

All in all, a very slick application that proves that opensource works!

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