Friday, 21 March 2008

CATS Open Source version discontinued

The companies which I work for, uses Source version of CATS Applicant Tracking System(CATS) for managing the internal recruiting and applicant tracking. Today, I was looking at their website for new software updates and noticed that the Open Source version of CATS is no longer available for download. I checked their news/blog site and found that there is no reference about the discontinuation. As a developer I was disappointed with the company's deal with the Open Source version. There was a vibrant community around CATS which helped in testing and debugging the software and I was also part of them on behalf of my employer. It's really shocking to see that all the reference to user/developer forums, bug tracker systems and the download area are removed from the website and no one can access the knowledge base which was built with the help of developers from all over the world.

The CATS project was claimed to be industry's first Open Source Enterprise Applicant Tracking System. The "About Us" page which appeared during 2007 August in CATS website says:

Industry's First Open Source Applicant Tracking System

Welcome to CATS, the industry's first Applicant Tracking System (ATS), written by recruiters, for recruiters! CATS has a clean user-interface, is easy to use, and has all the bells and whistles of expensive proprietary commercial ATS packages. See for yourself and learn why CATS is being implemented by thousands of Human Resource (HR) professionals, recruiters, staffing and placement agencies around the world.
Quoted with the help of http://archive.org

CATS is being developed by Cognizo Technologies with the help of an active community moderated by the same company itself. Until version 0.9.1 CATS was available for free download under the terms of CATS Public License Version 1.1a (a modified version of Mozilla Public License Version 1.1). CATS released the first version of the Applicant Tracking System about 2 years back and acclaimed good feedback due to the intuitive interface and simple application process. CATS can be installed on a server which supports PHP and MySQL and can be used on any standard web browser.

Initially the project was developer-friendly and offered Subversion repository access to the community developers. But even after 2 years, the company didn't provided the Subversion access. After discontinuation, the company removed all the hyper links to the forums and bug tracker systems from the website. However I was able to access the bugs through these direct URLs FS#113 and FS#108 (I don' think that these URL will be there for a long period).

From the user perspective, there won't be any impact on the company's move, because they still offer the free hosted version of the software. There are also additional features which can be utilized if the users subscribe to the paid plans. I don't see any issues in providing such a service. But denying access to developers who contributed to the project is not graceful from the perspective of a Free Software enthusiast. May be the project haven't accepted any code from the developers outside the company. But I'm sure that there are people, like me, who helped in testing, reporting bugs and feature request.

Cognizo used the buzzword Open Source to publicize their product and once they got a stable project, they simply locked the "Open" Source project. Who knows whether Open Source projects like OrangeHRM KnowledgeTree , or VtigerCRM may follow the same path and close the source code. However I hope that it won't happen and soon there will be a better replacement for CATS.

P.S: The opinions expressed in this article are not of my employers and doesn't have any relation with Ascella Technologies and Ejyothi Services (I work for them).


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