What "stack" of business/ comms/ collaboration tools are you using?

I was browsing around What are the best Business Tools ? the other day and wondering what members of CoTech are using to collaborates on documents, have video meetings, project manage, organise, etc etc?

So, what tools do you use? Thanks!

Part of why I ask is that I’m very interested in projects like CommonsCloud (which brings together NextCloud, Discourse and Phabricator) and would one day soon like to stop using Google for email, docs etc and instead start using open source tools like NextCloud etc

So I’m also especially interested in experience people might have using open source alternatives to all the tools listed here What are the best Business Tools ? (the top 10 being G Suite, Slack, WordPress, Trello, JIRA, Mailchimp, Skype, Confluence, Zendesk, Intercom), e.g.

Tool → Open Source alternative

G Suite → NextCloud with Collabora Online etc

Slack → Rocket.Chat, Mattermost, etc - anyone using either of these or another open option?

WordPress → already open source :slight_smile:

Trello → WeKan, Taiga, or maybe even Phabricator or GitLab? - anyone using any of those?

JIRA → as for Trello? What else? OpenProject?

Mailchimp → There must be better options than Mailman these days, no? Mailtrain? Odoo Email Marketing? phplist? anything else?

Skype → NextCloud Talk? Mumble? Jitsi?

Some other similar/ related/ relevant threads:

e.g. here are the tools that Loomio use:

source: https://loomio.coop/communications.html

And here is similar image of some of the comms tools Enspiral use:

Source: Comms Guidelines - Enspiral Handbook / https://kumu.io/enspiral/comms

The OuiShare network also list some of the core collaboration tools they use:

  • Slack - internal discussions, replacing most emails
  • Loomio - Discussions, Debate & Decisions Making
  • Trello - Project management
  • Cobudget - Collaborative Funding
  • Google Drive - File Storage
  • Dropbox - file storage for admininistrative documents
  • Mindmeister - Knowledge mapping
  • Telegram - informal discussions (both topic and non-work related)
  • (Google) Calenders - OuiShare events & internal meetings

At Autonomic we use:

Sandstorm - Etherpad, Ethercalc, Rocketchat, Davros, MediaWiki WeKan, Radikal, Piwik

Great platform. Lightweight and with a focus on security. Apps can be a bit outdated but are still secure due to sandboxing security model. Users can throw up apps as they need them without an admin. Self hosted.

Mumble - Voice chat server

Little fiddly to configure but provides the most stable and high quality voice chat we have tried as long as you use headphones with a mic. Has mobile apps. Self hosted.

Pass - Password management

We have a nifty repo based pass setup that hopefully we have time to document someday.

Gitlab Git hosting, Pipeline/CI, Service desk, Task management

Better than Github IMO. We currently use gitlab.com but would like to move to git.coop when possible.

Signal End to end encrypted messaging

Secure and mobile focused.

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We also discussed this at Wortley Hall in 2016 and created a wiki page for self hosted services, though I can see it could do with some updating…

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I use Mattermost for a couple of projects thatI’m involved in. Pretty good slack alternative.
I use Nextcloud with another project - file sharing, also supports calendaring and text/audio/video chat, and has a range of apps that can be installed, inc a thing that looks and works like Trello.
For bulk email I use CiviCRM.

There’s not a lot to stop you from dumping Gmail almost immediately. In fact I can’t see much in the way of good sense for sticking with it, particularly in light of the latest information that 3rd party devs are scanning your post.

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Cool, I wasn’t aware of Nextcloud Deck before you mentioned Nextcloud has “a thing that looks and works like Trello” and I went investigating :slight_smile:

More Deck links:


@chris have we got this feature turned on at https://office.coops.tech? It looks like fairly early days and so I’d like to have a play and see how it actually compares to Trello and WeKan (which seems like the most developed open source Trello clone) :slight_smile:

Yes, have a play with it and let us know how you get on, I haven’t used it, this is a full list of apps:

occ app:list
  - activity: 2.6.1
  - admin_audit: 1.3.0
  - admin_notifications: 1.0.1
  - bruteforcesettings: 1.1.0
  - calendar: 1.6.1
  - circles: 0.14.0
  - comments: 1.3.0
  - contacts: 2.1.5
  - dav: 1.4.7
  - deck: 0.3.1
  - federatedfilesharing: 1.3.1
  - federation: 1.3.0
  - files: 1.8.0
  - files_external: 1.4.1
  - files_markdown: 2.0.4
  - files_pdfviewer: 1.2.1
  - files_sharing: 1.5.0
  - files_texteditor: 2.5.1
  - files_trashbin: 1.3.0
  - files_versions: 1.6.0
  - files_videoplayer: 1.2.0
  - firstrunwizard: 2.2.1
  - gallery: 18.0.0
  - logreader: 2.0.0
  - lookup_server_connector: 1.1.0
  - nextcloud_announcements: 1.2.0
  - notes: 2.3.2
  - notifications: 2.1.2
  - oauth2: 1.1.1
  - ojsxc: 3.4.0
  - passman: 2.1.4
  - password_policy: 1.3.0
  - provisioning_api: 1.3.0
  - richdocuments: 2.0.10
  - serverinfo: 1.3.0
  - sharebymail: 1.3.0
  - socialsharing_email: 1.0.3
  - spreed: 3.2.2
  - survey_client: 1.1.0
  - systemtags: 1.3.0
  - tasks: 0.9.6
  - theming: 1.4.5
  - twofactor_backupcodes: 1.2.3
  - twofactor_totp: 1.4.1
  - updatenotification: 1.3.0
  - workflowengine: 1.3.0
  - encryption
  - socialsharing_facebook
  - socialsharing_googleplus
  - socialsharing_twitter
  - twofactor_u2f
  - user_external
  - user_ldap
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Works fine (once I realised the “add new stack” button was hidden behind the chat! Before that I couldn’t for the life of me work out how to add cards to the boards!) although it’d be nice if it integrated with the Tasks app (doesn’t seem to, yet), and I’d really like it to be able to have check lists within cards like you can on Trello and WeKan.

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This is great! Thanks for starting! Really interested in understanding what other tech co-ops use :slight_smile:

Wondering if anyone would be interested in sharing what they’re using in an ongoing way, and that maybe even helps us document our internal tool landscapes and make them more legible.

I’ve also been interested in the website stackshare.io for how it helps more passively circulate tool knowledge/skills. But it’s problematic that tools essential to our own co-op’s workflow (e.g. Loomio) aren’t even on their. And there’s no way to add more. That feels like a big restriction, as it feels like maybe even high-level social technology (e.g. “Agile” or “Advice Process”) could fit in their model.

So, is there interest in using a simple and accessible tool (e.g., Trello) to help us do this sharing, not just about what we’re using or looking at, but also what trajectory the tool is on for us – in or out. This might be useful for both sharing amongst larger co-op network (like here!) but also within our respective orgs, helping us create clarity :slight_smile:

I’ve put together a small demo to share the sort of thing I was thinking might work:

Curious about feedback! See the README card for some details (I used this format in another loose space, g0v.tw, where we were trying to map tools as observers.)

Things that I feel might emerge from this:

  • a place from which a template board can be copied
  • a place from which we can find other orgs documenting similarly
  • a way to watch orgs that we admire for changes in tools/process
  • a way to support internal clarity on the status of tool use
  • a place to act as a repository of tools/services we might use (for copying to our own org boards)

EDIT: If anyone’s curious to try, happy to liberally add people to org to play around :slight_smile:

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Btw, I didn’t see it mentioned but I’ve come to realise how incredibly useful and interesting the https://yunohost.org/ project is for self-hosting your own infrastructure. It’s been working out well. I can recommend it.

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Not sure if it’s relevant but all the kool kids organising Climate Strike and the like are on https://cryptpad.fr/ apparently. It’s some kind of open-source, privacy-first alternative to Google Docs/Drive.


Looks very relevant to me @harry, thanks for sharing! :slight_smile:

https://open-paas.org/ looks really interesting too. I can’t work out the connection between the two (if indeed there is one, I assume so as Open PaaS is linked to under About Us on CryptPad website).

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I struggle to reconcile the use of closed-source, centralised systems by Coops. For me, it flies against the ethos.


I totally agree, in case it isn’t clear both Cryptpad and open-paas are released under the GNU AGPL.


I think we need to recognise the fact that lots of cooperators are not particularly tech savvy, and don’t necessarily understand or particularly care about issues around privacy and data farming etc. It may well fly against the ethos, but if it isn’t even on your radar as an issue, then it’s tricky to address. Coupled with this is the fact that the extractive tech giants do a really good job of marketing their products and services, where many poorly funded but politically in-tune services are much less able to get their message out. Everyone I know knows about, and many use, Google docs, Dropbox etc. This stuff has become part of the furniture for many. I’ve been working in the tech/coop space for over twenty years and this thread is the first time I’ve heard of cryptpad.fr or open-paas.


I recognise that fact and share your understanding of why it has come to be how it is for now.

Is there enough advocacy from those who know? I’d like to think that cooperatives at the moment are also activists and would take well on a call for switching to open and decentralised means.


I would like to assist in sharing advocacy of open source tools.

In Sheffield in September I’m one of the organisers for a ‘season’ of ‘activist’ events / workshops. Open source software will definitely be on the agenda.

The line-up is not yet finalised and it will be on a low-budget. If anyone can get to Sheffield and would be interested to talk … or to learn … please make contact :slight_smile:

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I think it is also worth noting that there are very few (I’m sure there are some but I can’t actually think of any), Free software projects that are governed co-operatively and are also formally co-ops.

Perhaps Debian is the best known project which is democratic and co-operative in nature and strongly supports Free software.

RedHat is now owned by a hierarchal capitalist corporation but is isn’t yet clear that the IBM take over has changed it’s nature, it has always been a strong supporter of Free software, I would expect that this would be the first thing to change.

Ubuntu is very hierarchal, the project owner is in control, but again it has always been a strong supporter of Free software.

Then you have the projects that are actually opposed to the enforced sharing of the CopyLeft GNU GPL and rather use MIT / BSD / X11 / Apache style licenses, these allow open source (and they tend to use this term rather than Free software) code to be made propriety, in effect privatised, where as Free software terms use copyright law to enforce sharing (this is arguable the best legal hack ever), thus ensuring that code is always part of the commons.

Examples of projects of this type are the venture capitalist funded GitLab and more-or-less all the projects from the large Internet corporations, Google, Facebook, etc. Of course, this is not an accident…

The lack of an intersection between Free software and co-operatives and the apparent lack of understanding the nature of each in both communities is something I wish I knew how to address in a manner that made a difference…