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In early 2001 a couple of us at Red Hat finally got sick of the buggy CRM system Oracle had written for Red Hat and went to management. We proposed that we could write a better system that would increase productivity, be easier to use, and would not explode every time a support tech tried to update a ticket. The reaction from management of course was that they had paid big bucks for the current system and if we had a problem that we should report it to the Oracle applications team, which of course was a joke because it took them anywhere from weeks to a year to deliver anything, no offense guys :). Of course we knew better than management so we began work on the system anyways.

On a saturday afternoon Jeremy Hogan, James McDermott, and myself (Edwin Robertson) began work on a support system to replace that flaming pile we were currently using, and 18 hours, and many caffeinated beverages later the first version of issue-tracker was born. At this time it was of course very basic with just enough functionality to create groups of users, and create issues within those groups. When monday came around though, we sent Jeremy to management with what we had, just to show that it could be done. To our surprise the response was, "Great we'll start moving the big clients (Amazon, Cisco, IBM) to it right away." Not exactly what we were expecting to hear, and our currect code was definately not very pleasing to the eyes. So after another week or so we had cleaned up the code, made it somewhat pleasing to the eyes and had Cisco testing it out.

Within a couple of months every large support account that Red Hat had was using the system we had wrote, and yet another surprise to us, people actually liked it. I continued development along with help here and there from Steve Taylor, who also worked at Red Hat and was my roommate at the time. Feature requests began coming in left and right and new code was being added daily for things like file uploads, incoming and outgoing email and sms, defineable permissions, and reports. After about a year of internal only development, Steve and I decided that we wanted to share our work with everyone, and so version 1.0 of TuxMonkey Issue Tracker was released to the public.

After a couple more months of bug fixes, feature requests, and just random toying with the code, version 2.0 was released to the public. Version 2.0 had a cleaner interface and was alot more user friendly which of course made alot of people happy, this was also the first release that used a PostgreSQL backend. Up until this point we had actually been developing on a MySQL backend and had yet to develope or use any database abstraction layer.

It was about this time that multiple deaths in my family caused me to leave Red Hat and move back to New York. Steve became lead developer for the project and I left the project for a couple months to get things straightened out. In Febuary of 2003 Steve released version 3.0 to the public, which included tons of bug fixes, the database abstraction layer, and a missing core directory :). But of course that was quickly fixed and version 3.0.1 was released. Finally after about 5 months of just hanging out in the background I took up the position of lead developer on the project again, at which time I also had to catch up on the changes Steve had made to the Red Hat version of the code since I had left, because he would be taking leave to get some surgery done.

For the next couple of weeks Steve and I created the feature list for version 4 and went over everything that needed to get done on the Red Hat version. On June 17th, 2003, Steve Taylor passed away due to complications after surgery. This was a severe loss to the project and myself. Steve had been a very good friend for many years and is definately missed. After about a week of just sulking around the house, development continued toward the goal of completing the feature list Steve and I had come up with. And now just over the horizon is the long awaited version 4.0 and the return of MySQL support :).