OpenDocMan DMS Release 1.2.7

OpenDocMan 1.2.7 as been released. This release does not include any database changes but it does include a change to the Department/User permissions section on the Add and Edit File pages as well as other bug fixes.

Changes included in this release:

  • #136 – File details not showing last reviewer comment
  • #132 – Use full PHP opening tags rather than short ones which may be unsupported
  • #131 – Remove all short tags
  • #125 – EDIT option issue
  • #83 – User Defined Fields – Filter isn’t working also in version
  • #79 – Re-factor the add/edit pages to use a more straightforward UI enhancement
  • #67 – User Defined Fields – Filter-by not working bug
Download the latest release


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Where Have All The Open Source Document Management Systems Gone?

In the process of checking on our competition I noticed a few interesting things about the open source document management market:

  1. Some of our competitors are completely gone from the market
  2. Some are no longer offering a “free” version
  3. Some require you to “contact sales” in order to find out anything about the system, even to watch an introduction video!

Document management system development is difficult, and open source software development only adds to the difficulty level. In open-source development there are limited resources, limited time, and an unlimited number of feature requests pouring in. While open source development has its challenges, it can also be easier in some aspects. Open source development has a lower overhead (hopefully) as there are many helpful tools and services that are provided to the open-source community at no charge (GitHub, etc). Frequently there are contributions from the community to the project, thus allowing the project to grow and improve without having a salary expense. However, just because your open-source project software is available for free should not mean you cannot make any money from it. 

It looks to me like some of our open-source document management system competitors have decided to move away from open source in order to make money, and I get that. But I find it slightly disingenuous to have a free product and convert it into a paid product without allowing the free product to continue to exist on its own. The Magento project has a business model where the community edition exists next to the commercial edition. They have shown how you can have an open source project and a commercial project running in parallel. Contrast that with other projects that either “hide” their community version, or removed it from their offerings completely. I think what a lot of these other open-source DMS systems have failed to apply are monetization methods. Monetizing your open source project is something that I think all project owners should be looking into, and I would argue it is critical for self-preservation. Lets take a couple of examples that help argue my point:

Joe’s DMS:

Let’s say Joe has an open-source document management project that has been around for a few years. The project is fairly popular and there are a lot of people coming to the site and downloading the software for free but there is no financial gain for Joe, he does this out of the kindness of his heart. He begins to get burnt out, tired, distracted and just moves on to something else. This leaves the community with no support, and no innovation which in the end is a bad thing for all open source projects and their users.

Bills DMS:

Contrast that story with Bill’s project. His project has also been around for a few years and has a lot of users. This project has monetized the project in various ways and has found out ways of generating some revenue while still providing their open source software to the community. Is Bill’s project more likely to continue to exist when there are paying customers helping to keep the lights on? I say yes!!

Now, there are some hardcore open-source folks who will say that open-source software should be free of all cost and that charging money for it is sacrilegious  Most of them have probably never run an open source software project, or been responsible for answering the hundreds of emails each year from users, maintaining all of the servers and sites required for the project, paying the hosting, domain, and software expenses. Trust me on this, open source projects are not free of expenses. 

 I believe that in order to have a healthy open-source software project you need to have some sort of monetization plan. If your open source software project has no revenue generation plans, feel free to contact me and we can discuss.

Stephen Lawrence Jr.


OpenDocMan now on Git

I have migrated OpenDocMan off of SVN and into Git.



Latest Stable:



I have been playing with GIT today so that I can learn how to use it effectively. So far it seems to be a big improvement over subversion, and I am thinking that I might move the OpenDocMan SVN into GIT at some point. One thing that seems to be a big difference is the ease that others can contribute by using GIT since they can clone the entire repository easily and the merges would be much easier than an SVN merge which can sometimes be a nightmare. If using GIT will help to increase the amount of community participation in the project I would be super happy.

Anyone have any thoughts on the subject?


A simple, optimized open source document management application

In 2001, Stephen Lawrence, Jr., was looking for a document management application for his department at the University of California, Davis, to help with ISO 17025 compliance. “There really wasn’t much out there at the time, so I figured I would try to piece something together,” he says. Thus OpenDocMan was born.

OpenDocMan is a simple browser-based document management system designed to help organizations that need a centralized location to store their digital documents. It was written specifically to have the required features for the ISO 17025 standard for testing and calibration. It doesn’t have a lot of bells and whistles in it to muck up the core features, Lawrence says, but one nice feature is an automated upgrade tool. When a new version comes out, admins just need to click on the appropriate upgrade link for their current version and the upgrade tool takes care of all the changes needed for all versions as far back as 1.0.

As discussed at