Good open source solutions

People often ask me what's good and free on the net. An obvious answer is OpenOffice.org which replaces the MS Office suite. Some people don't realise that OOo is also great for doing MS Visio type diagrams and MS Access type database stuff too.
Another recomendation I sometimes make is for Task Coach it's an easy to use task manager which keeps track of what you are doing and how many hours you have worked on each task. As a consultant I'm always being asked for this information. Having the file stored as XML is also nice since I can easily store in in subversion and make programs that that print out reports the way my employer likes it.
The other day I was asked about an open source tool for project managment (like MS Project). I know of one that is very compelling called faces. It's quite a different way of doing project managment, but allows you to manage tasks and resources in a very powerful and flexible manner. Here are some deep linked images showing what it can output.

For programers, this tool should be very natural since your project plan is actually a program. I've bloged about this before. It makes sense since a complicated project has all sorts of rules, much like a program. This task can only be done after these tasks are finshed, or can only be performed by these two resources. Since it's all in a real programing language (Python) you can have arbitrarily complex rules, including resource holidays % completed and so on.
Programs like MS Project remind me of tools which were supposed to liberate you from writing actual code. The idea is you would "write" your program with little icons that you drag and drop, like a flow chart. Where are these programs today? Well it turns out that writing code that way is very slow and is harder to read and debug than, say, C++ code. I'd say the same thing is true for creating a project plan. With faces you create a project plan that is easier to read and understand and can produce lots of charts, tables, calendars in a variety of formats. I'm particularly pleased that it supports Matplotlib, an excelent graphical tool which produces very nice antialiased lines and curves to a variety of output formats.
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