OpenPetra: Administer Your Organization With Open Source Advantage

open-petra-logoOften non-profit organizations or small scale businesses have to buy costly administrative software packages to run their organization. It is a heavy cost burden for such organizations with low budgets. Selected as the “Project of the Month” for the month of May by SourceForge, OpenPetra is an outcome of an effort keeping in mind such organizations.

OM International, a Christian mission agency, wrote a software called PETRA. Developed during the nineties, the package was used in 80 offices of the organization located worldwide. To take the advantage of the open source community and to use the tool for the benefit of others who needed it, OM decided to change it to Open Source development process, which motivated the existing developers and also increased the potential for the software. OpenPetra is the outcome of the newly adopted development process.


The OpenPetra project offers a free and easy to use administrative software package for non profit-organizations. It has multi-user, multi-site, multi-currency, multi-language support and much more. It has six modules integrated into it . The following is a brief description of the modules:

1. Partner Module: The main functions of this module are to manage subscriptions, contacts and bulk mailing as well.

2. Finance Module: This module maintains general ledger, payable accounts, double-entry book keeping, budgeting and donation processing . It has the support for almost all currencies.

3. Personnel Module: This module manages personnel information for both short-term and long-term employees as well as process new job applications.

4. Conference Management: This module manages group assignments, accommodation and allocation, arrangement of arrivals and departures as well as attendance tracking.

5. Financial Development: This module manages project funding.

6. System Manager: This module is used by system administrator(s) to manage user accounts.

From 2004 to 2009, the code was developed code on .NET platform. In June 2009 OpenPetra was published under the GPLv3. Now OpenPetra has standard tools and open source databases for better development and implementation. OpenPetraSetup requires Windows XP (or later) or Linux, and uses about 24 MB of disk space. The backend must be a Relational Database Management System. Currently supported are PostgreSQL, MySQL and SQLite.

An important fact is that the software is modeled after an application that has been in use for an extended period of time in a sizable, global non-profit organization.

Though this promising project has areas of improvement, it has great potential for easing the administration of various kinds of organizations.

[via SourceForge Blog]

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Soumen Halder

A web 2.0, startups and photography enthusiast. Lately found on Twitter @hsoumen. A cinephile and a zealous cyberflâneur. He also authors his own blog Ampercent.