Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login
Focalboard – a self-hosted alternative to Trello, Notion, and Asana (focalboard.com)
694 points by stanislavb on March 18, 2021 | hide | past | favorite | 175 comments

Focalboard team here!

Huge thanks to everyone who's sharing feedback and comments. It is super exciting to be trending on HackerNews!

We've just put up a new Wiki page for people to share feature ideas, to join our Discourse forum, and to report bugs: https://github.com/mattermost/focalboard/wiki/Share-your-fee...!

Thank y'all so much for being interested in our project and our space!

We've been working super hard to make something people love, and we'll continue to do so with your input and ideas!

Can you respond to the point made by Sneak downthread that there is silent data transfer to your company in the background?

I have posted an enhancement https://github.com/mattermost/focalboard/issues/103 But cannot attach labels :-(

Whoops, updating instructions: https://github.com/mattermost/focalboard/wiki/Share-your-fee...!

Now asking folks to add `Enhancement:` prefix on tickets, and we can label after

Okay, updating instructions to just prefix with "Feature Request:" and we'll take care of the labelling from there.

Is it OK to just copy the UX/UI from notion?

Thanks I love it!

Note: this, although self-hosted, appears to transmit your usage data without consent (just like the selfhosted Mattermost server from the same people):


Anyone want to offer me odds on the likelihood of a patch removing this spyware getting accepted by the maintainer in this “open source” project?

Thank you for posting this.

I was very interested in this. There's no way I'm using it now. I'll never trust anything from Mattermost.

Maybe it still counts as open source but with this, plus their complex licensing, I feel it runs very counter to what the FOSS community actually wants

Apparently there's a config option to turn off telemetry. https://www.focalboard.com/guide/admin/

While I understand the feeling, it's also truth that these kinds of projects appear to receive a lot more criticism than if they went completely closed source which feels a bit unfair.

> Apparently there's a config option to turn off telemetry.

The option should be to turn it on; automatically "opting users in" (a euphemism; really, it's assuming consent which does not exist) to spyware is at best unethical and in some jurisdictions actually illegal.

Co-opting a user's own hardware and connection to (silently!) spy on them is a total dickhead move whether your product is free software or proprietary.

Every single time someone asks me if they can turn on telemetry I’m perfectly ok with it. But if they default to on I know what I’m dealing with and I don’t want them to have it.

I have not significantly used Notion, but this isn't really a replacement for it is it?

Notion seems to be focused on wiki and notes, with built in structured data allowing you to setup things like boards and task lists.

This seems to just be the boards and task lists without the free form notes and wiki? It pretty clearly replaces Trello and Asana. Notion seems like a stretch from the 5 minutes I poked around in it.

I see it as a "faster" altrrnative to the kanban widget in Notion, clearly not a replacement. I use Notion to collect bookmarks, quotes, code, media, every bit of information I need for a project and despite its relative slowness and the lack of offline mode is serving me well.

I just downloaded and tested the standalone desktop app. It has a very pretty and responsive interface compared to Kanboard.

I have been self hosting Kanboard on my rpi for my own work, and I think that Kanboard still has many 'poweruser' features that Focalboard is missing.

If there is an easy way for me to migrate my Kanboard data over to Focalboard, I would definitely give it a shot as a daily driver.

Focalboard team here, thanks for the idea!

Added an enhancement ticket for this: https://github.com/mattermost/focalboard/issues/95

Open to other feedback as well! https://github.com/mattermost/focalboard/wiki/Share-your-fee...!

The licensing notions in this project are nonsense.

So it’s like: MIT for compiled application, AGPL if you build it yourself, or you can pay for less strict licensing. Seems similar to the model used e.g. by Qt


EDIT: Use of dual licensing for open source software was previously discussed here: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=24677481

I need to hire a lawyer just to figure out if I can use this thing or not. The opening of https://github.com/mattermost/focalboard/blob/main/LICENSE.t... mentions 4 separate licenses.

And is it just me or does this part mean absolutely nothing:

> We promise that we will not enforce the copyleft provisions in AGPL v3.0 against you if your application (a) does not link to Focalboard directly, but exclusively uses Focalboard's Admin Tools and Configuration Files, and (b) you have not modified, added to or adapted the source code of Focalboard in a way that results in the creation of a “modified version” or “work based on” Focalboard as these terms are defined in the AGPL v3.0 license.

doesn't (a) mean the admintools should not be under the AGPL? i wonder why they couldn't just specify an appropriate license instead.

and does (b) mean that when i host focalboard myself, i would be allowed to hide the fact from my users?

what other benefit is there from not enforcing the AGPL against me?

if the AGPL is in applied to the unmodified version, then my users would get the original source and whether they got it from me or from upstream. so i don't see the benefit of nonenforcement

"We promise that we will not enforce the copyleft provisions in AGPL v3.0 against you if [....]"

Does a promise like this actually stand up in a license file / in court? Is this sentence actually meaningful?

That whole paragraph is pretty nonsensical. To me it sounds like "we promise not to enforce this license if you comply with the license".

It's easy to miss that this is by the same people making Mattermost, the open-source self-hosted slack alternative you might have heard of.


So should we expect them to roll out some community edition lacking essential features to kind of force people to use the (paying, closed-source) entreprise edition ?

Some basic features have been wanted for years in the mattermost CE edition, while being implemented in the EE edition, like the capability to prevent users to kick other users from channels ( https://forum.mattermost.org/t/users-can-kick-other-users-of... ).

The one I got bit by yesterday was team-edition not offering basic HA/cluster functionality. Oh well, vertical scaling here I come! Also, i’m not sure if the helm chart is officially maintained or a community-only effort, however, I’d love to see the addition of being able to configure/use imagePullSecrets. Also, general fixes to the values yaml.

I'm curious about something: would there be any hidden gotchas involved if someone forked the Mattermost repo, and added features like that? I understand not wanting to spend the effort on implementing and maintaining these changes, I'm just trying to figure out if there's any other reason for not doing it. From what I can see, the license is APL 2.0, which I think shouldn't forbid that, but IANAL (or expert on working in open source).

The cool thing about open source is you can add any feature you want yourself.

Yeah this seems like a pretty serious initiative, kind of surprised they're not offering their own hosting though.

It's pretty obvious they are planning that. I read through the license and it's mostly AGPL and MIT, but its top level is a MATTERMOST-license.

Anyways, good on them for sharing the code.

I love Notion but the speed, or rather lack of, is killing me daily. Last Friday I was taking some notes, and suddenly the page refreshed and everything was gone. Went on twitter to see, I wasn't alone .. i feel like hosting my own notion clone is the way to go forward to use Notion...

I've actually just started using Notion and the UI is nice, as is the feature set, but yeah, I'm getting a little annoyed by the constant page loads.

I mean this kind of thing continues to fuel my beliefs that software is going backwards here because frankly, how hard can it be to render some text?

> how hard can it be to render some text?

It really depends. If the only thing you care about rendering is US ASCII with a monospace bitmapped font, that's not too hard.

However, a general purpose text renderer will have to handle things like directionality (left to right versus right to left text orientation), wide/half text rendering (for CJK characters), combining characters (for some European, South East Asian languages, and zalgo), line break rules (handling characters like soft hyphens and non breaking spaces), and so on.

On the font rendering side of things, there's kerning (some letters are closer to one another), font ligatures (certain fonts handle things like fi ffi fl ffl differently, not to mention things like hasklig), antialiasing, sub pixel rendering, and the fact that fonts are actually programs running on a stack based virtual machine [0].

That's also ignoring more advanced text rendering features like ruby characters and vertical text rendering. Or that apparently Turkish has different small caps than English ones [1].

In practice, it's probably not the text rendering that's the issue, it's probably just features that are implemented inefficiently.

[0] https://developer.apple.com/fonts/TrueType-Reference-Manual/...

[1] https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/typography/opentype/spec/tt...

"how hard can it be to render some text" as the previous author is a valid complaint, if Notion only rendered text but they do not. There is a lot of data structures around what looks like "just text", including images and everything else.

I agree that Notion has big performance problems, and I myself left it for logseq a long time ago just because of the performance issues and the non-flexible architecture overall. But Notion's performance issues are not about rendering text, it's rendering everything but text.

Not just small caps – turkish has different case mapping for iİ ıI vs the ascii mapping iI.

There’s also situations like German, where, until 2017, a single lower case letter could map to two upper-case letters (but they wouldn’t map back to that single lower-case letter):

toUpper(ß) == SS, toLower(S) == s, toLower(SS) == ss, toLower(toUpper(ß)) != ß

(Since 2017 that’s been fixed, although not adopted by every publication or software yet, by using ẞ. toUpper(ß) == ẞ, toLower(ẞ) == ß, toLower(toUpper(ß)) == ẞ)

All of this can be done quite efficiently on a native widget. The problem with Notion is that it uses Electron.

Which makes rendering text extremely simple.

It's a fun meme to blame Electron for everything but the problems with Notion are obviously with its state and data management. Booting/rendering performance is not the bottleneck here, and having used lightning fast Electron apps, I'm sure it never will be.

Put differently: what measurements do you have of the performance issues of Notion and is Electron performance the root problem of them?

Let’s just say that the fact that Electron needs to allocate hundreds of MB in memory to display a single “Hello world” text does not depose in Electron’s favor.

Compare it with the few MBs needed by an equivalent native app with exactly same functionality.

By any standard and by any metric, Electron is bloated. Some applications (like VSCode) can disguise it quite well and give a an acceptable user experience.

Maybe that's because Electron isn't made to just display a single line of text?

Text Rendering, CSS Layouts, Accessibility, being good at cross-platform, Canvas/WebGL and a myriad of other APIs make Electron pretty powerful. I don't know exactly, but I think QT would be it's main competitor when it comes to those features. But QT isn't always that easy to develop with.

For what is worth Electron could solve all the problem in the worlds. My point is that in order to display rich text, images and basic UI elements (what Notion and for instance Slack need) it requires an abysmal amount of memory with respect to a native implementation.

Your complaint is basically saying "Hey, I don't need this professional workstation just to run Notepad, what is going on in the world?!" while professional workstations are not for running just Notepad, they are for doing a lot more things than that.

Here you are complaining that a "hello world" uses a lot of memory. Yes, that's true, but the use case for Electron is not to display just "hello world", it's to build full, accessible applications in languages who are usually native on the web.

No, my complaint is: I am very annoyed that this professional workstation runs Notepad ten times slower than my old 486.

What counts is the final user experience.

I've been Obsidian since a few weeks and it's the most fastest Electron app I've ever used. It's so snappy, it feels like a native app. So, yes I agree with parent comment, Notion is slow and sluggish but Electron is not the one to blame here. The web version is pretty slow as well.

Yes! Good point, web Notion is exactly as slow because the problems aren't the engine.

Apart from the notion (heh) that we should compare a hello world app to determine real world performance, memory usage is really not that relevant to the discussion of speed, responsiveness etc.

There is a level of optimization where that is relevant and it's relevant in a bigger context of responsible resource usage but that's not what we're talking about here.

This was exactly my point as to the "memes" of Electron criticisms, your point is completely off topic but because someone mentioned "Notion" someone has to make your point nearly verbatim every time.

It does not add anything valuable to the discussion. Talking about caching strategies, offline/online functionality and layout thrashing is much, much more interesting here.

I'm sure it was a lot snappier when I started using it, but it has been getting quite slow over the past couple of years.

Really makes me want a lightweight alternative because I love its editing model.

I honestly think I'll just use Vim, a "~/notes" directory and my already powerful file searching functionality built into Vim (fzf powered I think it's called)

Same here. And I still did not find the perfect note taking app. I have so few requirements. WYSIWYG editing, easy image insertion, export function with open standard format, mobile app, some security.

I recently moved (almost) all of my note taking into Obsidian [0]. They just released a closed beta mobile app (they are very active in development and great community), but they are local first app.

[0] https://obsidian.md

edit: To clarify, using they mobile app will require paid subscription in all scenarios, I think (not sure, as I don't need that).

> To clarify, using they mobile app will require paid subscription in all scenarios, I think (not sure, as I don't need that).

Nope. They've said they'll support opening a folder on a phone. Therefore, as long as you sync the folder using some cloud software, the mobile app will work just fine.

But of course, you can pay them for the convenience and they'll sync them for you.

That's cool. Thanks for clarification. They Sync and Publish services look promising, too (Publish shows a mini graph of connected pages, which is a refreshing approach to showing relations of published notes/pages).

Have you tried Joplin? I switched to it and have been loving it. Planning on launching a backup service for it this week actually (Backups +/- encryption to OneDrive, Dropbox, AWS S3 and WebDAV support are all built in):


Compared to Obsidian, Joplin suits me much better and it's way more features. I have given Obsidian a fair trail, but now I'm using Joplin

Typora is best WYSIWYG Markdown app

Try moo.do

Focalboard team here.

You can try the "Focalboard Personal Desktop" to run locally where your performance won't be affected by other users.

We made it available in Windows Store and Apple AppStore to make it easy to try out.

This is just a v0.6 right now, and we would love bug reports and enhancement ideas.

It's the early days of the project and we are excited to hear input: https://github.com/mattermost/focalboard/issues

> We made it available in Windows Store and Apple AppStore to make it easy to try out.

I would prefer a simple non-store app, a portable app perhaps. Can I get a classic zip/whatever?

I am not sure Focalboard has the features you are looking for, but outline wiki is a cool notion like wiki and pretty fast.

The installation instructions for the server install don't seem to work.

> wget https://releases.mattermost.com/focalboard/0.5.0/focalboard-...

> tar -xvzf focalboard-server-linux-amd64.tar.gz

The file is actually a zip with the tar.gz inside:

focalboard-server-linux-amd64.tar.gz: Zip archive data, at least v2.0 to extract

$ unzip -l focalboard-server-linux-amd64.tar.gz

Archive: focalboard-server-linux-amd64.tar.gz

Length Date Time Name

--------- ---------- ----- ----

12461347 02-02-2021 00:38 focalboard-server-linux-amd64.tar.gz

-------- -------

12461347 1 files

Running tar directly (as written in the instructions) will fail with:

$ tar -tzvf focalboard-server-linux-amd64.tar.gz

tar: invalid magic

tar: short read

It seems like there's something unintentionally producing a zip at the end of the build process.

It’s impressive they knew of this (original bug is 20hr old) but still decided to go ahead and post on HN.

Focalboard team here,

Hi @kogepathic, sorry about that, adding your report as a ticket here: https://github.com/mattermost/focalboard/issues/94

Thank you, I was trying to figure this out.

This would be easier to test out if I could just run a docker image instead of doing a whole nginx configuration.

What's stopping you? Run nginx in a container and mount the config dir as a volume.

[EDIT] Someone did it already: https://github.com/PaperStork/focalboard/pull/1/commits/6452...

Yeah the server install instructions are a bit out of date it seems. It doesn't mention you need to run the 'make webapp' task to run webpack and generate the bundled HTML page. It also has you download an old version (0.5) and the docs on the config don't match what's in the repo now (with version 0.6.1).

Anyways, here's a Dockerfile I whipped up that builds and runs a local version configured to use sqlite. No nginx or other stuff, it's just simple localhost config (not production ready):

  # Focalboard v0.6.1 requires node 10+
  FROM node:15-buster-slim
  # Focalboard source to clone.
  ARG FOCALBOARD_REPO="https://github.com/mattermost/focalboard.git"
  # Focalboard v0.6.1 requires make.
  RUN apt-get update && apt-get install -y \
        gcc \
        git \
        make \
  &&  rm -rf /var/lib/apt/lists/*
  # Focalboard v0.6.1 requires go 1.15+
  COPY --from=golang:1.16-buster /usr/local/go /usr/local/go
  ENV PATH="/usr/local/go/bin:$PATH"
  # Clone focalboard.
  WORKDIR /opt/focalboard
  RUN git clone --depth 1 --branch $FOCALBOARD_BRANCH $FOCALBOARD_REPO .
  # Build focalboard.
  RUN make prebuild \
  &&  make webapp \
  &&  make
  # Setup a localhost configuration with sqlite.
  RUN echo '{\
    "serverRoot": "http://localhost:8000",\n\
    "port": 8000,\n\
    "dbtype": "sqlite3",\n\
    "dbconfig": "/data/focalboard.db",\n\
    "useSSL": false,\n\
    "webpath": "./webapp/pack",\n\
    "filespath": "/files",\n\
    "telemetry": true,\n\
    "session_expire_time": 2592000,\n\
    "session_refresh_time": 18000,\n\
    "localOnly": false,\n\
    "enableLocalMode": true,\n\
    "localModeSocketLocation": "/var/tmp/focalboard_local.socket"\n\
  }' > /opt/focalboard/config.json
  # Uploaded files are stored here.
  VOLUME /files
  # Sqlite database is stored here.
  VOLUME /data
  CMD ["/opt/focalboard/bin/focalboard-server"]
It will need a volume at /files for uploaded file storage, and /data for its sqlite database. It exposes a server on port 8000, and an admin API unix socket on /var/tmp/focalboard_local.socket (read their docs for what it's useful for, like resetting passwords). The Dockerfile should be multiarch, but I can only test on amd64. Low spec hardware (raspberry pi) might struggle a bit with the build as it's a non-trivial go server build, and then production webpack bundle... weird failures might be OOM issues.

Here's an example of a basic build and run, saving the files and db to a local directory:

  <copy Dockerfile contents above to file>
  docker build -t focalboard .
  docker run --rm -p 8000:8000 -v $PWD/files:/files -v $PWD/data:/data focalboard
Access http://localhost:8000 and it will let you create a new user account.

(go wild with the Dockerfile above, I release it in public domain)

nginx? I did the following and it ran just fine:

  make webapp

The server installation instructions start with configuring nginx to do something. That’s where I bounced.


I am always surprised when people don't mention Open Project. Cos isn't this fragmentation? Open Project...

- Have been there for a long time.

- Good motivated team AFAIK,

- Have forum software.

- Project board

- And even version control!

Everything self hosted or enterprise/cloud for serious stuff or people who want to support them.

Or is there some other reason why openproject is not known? Would love to hear more from the HN community on this.

I tried a bunch of selfhosted alternatives to Trello a few months back and never registered OpenProject as an option.

I mainly used this list https://github.com/awesome-selfhosted/awesome-selfhosted#tas...

I did focus on "Task management/To-do lists", while OpenProject is listed under the "Project Management" section. This is likely why I missed it as I've been looking for something clean and simple (not JIRA) that is more akin to the earlier versions of Trello (rather than the feature bloated whale it has now become).

Looking at it now and to be honest it doesn't quite look like what I'm looking for when looking for a Trello alternative, I just want cards on a board I can move around (with a bit of metadata)

> I just want cards on a board I can move around (with a bit of metadata)

Yeah you won't find that in OpenProject. I mean, they do have kanban boards, but they're in an enterprise version that I'm assuming you're not interested at.

I use and like https://nullboard.io/preview nullboard which runs in the browser. Because it uses local data, you need to save it or the data is lost when you close the browser window.

> I just want cards on a board I can move around (with a bit of metadata)

If I may, what did you finally settle on?

Still on Trello for now.

Tempted to try building something from scratch since I can always see myself using such a system.

Have you tried Taiga? https://resources.taiga.io/features/5minkanban/ and it's open source (AGPL3)

Not OP but I settled on Deck which is a NextCloud plugin, good enough for me and my wife.

Another thing on that list that is easy to pass over is gitlab. The community edition is slowly but steadily adding more project management features, one of which is the "issue boards" - a kanban style issue view [0].

I feel like people may overlook gitlab when evaluating this sort of product because they think of it as "just" a git hosting solution, or because they assume that PM type features might all be paywalled. I'm sure real power users will find it lacking, but for simple workflows it does the job very well, and it ticks so many boxes in one solution.

[0] https://docs.gitlab.com/ee/user/project/issue_board.html

On the licensing page of Open Project 'agile boards' is one of the paid features, so I don't see how it is relevant in this case.

Screenshots look good and it is nice to see that they have figured out a good business model for open source software.

But I don't like to see that 2FA is available only in the paid version still in 2021. Security should be at the core of these kinds of systems.

And I hope that maintaining it is much easier than other Ruby projects that I have encountered in the past. For example, I used to run Redmine project management system, and maintaining it up to date was painful due to fragmentation and differences between Ruby versions. Hopefully Docker and better migration scripts have solved those problems nowadays. Still, even with containerization available, when it comes to self hosted solutions I definitely prefer ones that get compiled to nice binaries. Go, Rust, C, etc.

Focalboard team here, thanks for the comment!

We weren't aware of Open Project previously, and we're glad to hear about it.

I think you're right, Focalboard is a lot earlier than Open Project, and it doesn't have as many features.

Focalboard was starting during the Mattermost 2020 Hacktoberfest last year: https://mattermost.com/blog/hacktoberfest-2020-recap/

It's in the early stages of development, only v0.6 right now: https://github.com/mattermost/focalboard/blob/main/CHANGELOG...

That said, we're working on it constantly and excited about its future.

Of the features Open Project has now, are there one or two top priorities you'd suggest we consider adding to Focalboard?

We'd love to hear any feedback, feature suggestions or bug reports: https://github.com/mattermost/focalboard/wiki/Share-your-fee...!

Thanks for replying Focalboard team!

I would say, if 2FA is not already available, 2FA! This is the biggest bumper when I have to choose Open project.

Also, Appimage or Flatpak would be great for easier installation for Linux users. Please don't publish ONLY to snapstore if you're planning. Snap might be good for the Mattermost, but the users dread it and each snap adds boot time to the user's machine which is why I stopped using it. Please add a flatpak or appimage if you plan to add it as snap in snapstore! :)

What's the problem with fragmentation? I guess you're thinking of wasted effort, split mindshare amongst users.

But for me, fragmentation is one of the key benefits of open source. Let thousands of alternatives bloom!

Absolutely. I have grown to dislike this often repeated "don't reinvent the wheel" stance. After some thought you realise 100% of mastering any art is based on imitating and rebuilding existing achievements, because that gives us the basis for aiming even higher with our own ideas.

When we blindly copy our own "Hello World" program into a text file nobody bats an eye. When a group of musicians play a metal song on classical instruments it's called a cover. But when someone builds their own database to have some fun and get better in-depth understanding of the tech you will always find someone whining about the not-invented-here-syndrome.

Effort isn't wasted just because it didn't change the world.

Also confusion and decision paralysis for new users, as well as limiting new features to only a subset of users unless someone takes the time to re-implement them. And lots of FOSS projects end up as abandonware, and consolidation can increase the share of users whose software is actively maintained. Split mindshare is also a big deal for applications with strong network effects, though probably not for something like this.

So, reductio ad absurdum, we shouldn't have bothered with Ruby when we already had Python. Or Linux since we had Unix. Or React since we had Angular.

I agree that launching similar products has its own downsides, but the upside is that competition acts like evolution - it strengthens the best products, and destroys the weak ones.

It looks like a forked non-free version of redmine but with less flexibility https://www.redmine.org/

I’ve been using redmine for project management for a decade. It is reliably excellent.

Last time I used it, it was generally a good experience, albeit slow sometimes when moving/editing stuff around but amount of features it offers even on free plan in my opinion compensates that. Also API is rather easy to use. I'm also surprised it doesn't get so much exposure, alongside https://www.phacility.com/phabricator/

Big fan and active user of OpenProject here, I recommend it.

Agreed OpenProject is impressive. I used it for myself for a time. Then switched back to OrgMode. But if I come to manage a team with several projects I would clearly use that.

It’s quite heavy and slow.

I wish someone would make a modern project management system that was not working against the user all the time.

I use Jira heavily in different projects and I am baffled at how slow it is. Such a popular product but the user experience due to frontend slowness is terrible.

Can you go into detail on "modern"?

The problem with project management systems is that you have four important levers:

* configurability (enforcing rules, custom workflows, triggers)

* usability of the UI (speed, simplicity)

* multi-user (including consistency between users)

* scale (number of projects, users, tickets)

You can't have all those at the same time. If you want it to be very configurable, you have to choose whether to prioritise scale (Jira), or usability (Trello, Asana), or drop the multi-user (Excel, Google Sheets).

In my opinion, the problem with most project management systems is the problem with project management management itself - trying to do too many complicated things at the same time. It's pretty easy to manage even a fairly large programme of well-scoped projects on just about any software.

By 'modern' I was thinking about system with most of the features that Jira and others have, but with fast backend and fast javascript UI.

I don't think that speed is dependent on simplicity. One could make an advanced system with all the features that is still optimized for speed. There are other programs that check all the boxed, just not one for project management. I guess everyone is used to it. :)

We developed Taiga (taiga.io) with that in mind. It's meant for cross-domain teams but a lot of people use it for their own personal projects. At the moment, 50% of new Taiga users come from Trello or Jira (in that order). Check it out https://resources.taiga.io/getting-started/

Seconded. For reference, have multiple websites with 10K to 100K visitors monthly on a DO droplet, with a wiki and a dynamic blog working just fine.

Trying this project out made it quite slow and not practical, would need a beefier machine / setup. I decided not to invest time in testing it further, but it may work for others.

Hey, curious. What exactly do you use from Open Project?

Would love to hear a better definition of "heavy". :)

I tried it as a self hosted alternative to Trello for Kanban. It’s got a ton of features compared to Trello and updating things and moving cards is quite slow.

Thanks for sharing @rayiner. I haven't looked at it.

When has the fragmentation argument ever prevailed, in the history of technology? New flavors of practically everything, down to bare metal, release daily. The world may agree on communication protocols, but even that is nearly impossible to do together.

I’m just surprised few weeks ago i was looking at self hosted notion/trello like alternatives and now I just came across this.

The project just looks really cool and I’m definitely going to download and try this.

I just wanted to thank the developers from the bottom of my heart for creating this.

Lastly I’m just curious is it possible to host this on a raspberry pi

Focalboard team here, thank you so much for the recognition!

We're working super hard to build something that benefits our community.

While there's not formal support for Raspberry Pi right now, we'd welcome a the feature idea, here's more on how to share feedback: https://github.com/mattermost/focalboard/wiki/Share-your-fee...!

hey I finally have a instance of Focalboard https://twitter.com/muhammad_o7/status/1372781058995806210?s...

hey man, thanks for replying I loved the product and I would love to try it out on raspberry pi and I will add that as a feature request

Looks like this needs Go, Webpack and an SQL server (with sqlite3 being the out-of-the-box default). That all should run on the RPI.

> Download Focalboard from the Microsoft App Store.

I am life-long Windows user and I am yet to meet someone who uses Microsoft App Store. A standalone regular installer is an absolute must.

Krita earned an estimated $4850 from Microsoft App Store vs $2000 in donations and finally allowed a full time maintainer, per this 2018 article https://krita.org/en/item/krita-in-the-windows-store-an-upda...

I became a Windows user recently and I install everything I can from the Microsoft Store, so I don't have to individually and manually get updates for all the apps I installed.

Just FYI, there are several CLI tools that more closely resemble a Linux package manager that you can use. Scoop and chocolatey come to mind (I'm a scoop user myself). I think NuGet is supposed to be a CLI software repo tool by Microsoft, but I'm only tangentially aware of it so I might have that wrong.

I mostly dislike the Microsoft Store because it requires an account, even for free downloads. I'm a little loathe to hand Microsoft control over a higher layer of my stack, for fear that they do some kind of "you can't control when you patch" thing like they did with Windows. I've also got a little bit of leftover disdain because it used to basically only have Metro apps, which were awful. That's not a good reason, but I won't lie and say it doesn't exist.

Focalboard team here,

Hi @eps, I've opened a ticket on this: https://github.com/mattermost/focalboard/issues/99

Would you be open to giving a "Thumbs Up" and/or a comment sharing more about the benefits?

Community feedback is super important, and we would love to hear more from you and others

I use it, and I've bought apps worth ~$200 on it.

I download all KDE apps (Kate, Kile, Okular, Krita, etc) from the store, if possible. The one big issue I discovered with that is that store apps can’t be set as default to open a file for a file format that the app didn’t specify itself (e.g., you can’t open an .NFO per default with Kate, as Kate doesn’t register itself as file handler for .NFO files)

Its not very popular yet, but its 100% the future. I use it whenever an app is available on the store - easy, consistent auto updates is much better than each app nagging you to update independently. Better for devs as well because it gives you much more confidence that new versions will be adopted quickly.

I prefer it actually.. main reason is streamlined app auto updates

Most importantly, while I have admin privileges and can install some software, my corporate machine has the windows store disabled.

Hi! I've used it for a few things, such as purchasing Microsoft Flight Simulator, and various WSL distros.

I've used it to get Minecraft.

Nonsense, package managers enable trivial and fine grained update policies

They didn't say anything about the quality of the service, they mentioned the low popularity.

You might want to add a qualifier to 'package managers', like 'good package managers'... which the Windows Store is not. It barely fits the bill as a package manager.

Scoop is the way to go

Deleting a board is possible, but there is no confirm and no way to restore. Very dangerous!

Only for people that make mistakes.

Ha I have an open source Trello alternative called kanception.io or https://github.com/hpennington/kanception

The twist is that it's recursive (nested)

In the same category as 'self-hosted trello', I found "Planka" not to long ago, and as a self-hosted trello/kanban/todo board, it was pretty easy to boot up and has worked for my simple purposes for the last few months....


This is awesome. This with good integration with Mattermost (or discord) would serve the needs for a lot of teams. Notion could as well but they are a slow moving beast with different priorities.

I would be surprised if it doesn't integrate natively with Mattermost, given that it's made by the same company.

It would’ve been more convenient to me if this project provided standalone downloads for macOS and Windows. The current downloads for the Desktop version are only available through the respective app stores on these two platforms.

It's a major bummer when devs don't even let you download the app from their own website, instead suggesting that you dox yourself to Apple to use their software. :(

Mattermost (the company behind this) also builds spyware into Mattermost (which is not well documented) and I would be unsurprised to find the same nonsense going on with this.

Is there a term for companies that are "open source in license only" that ignore all of the values of the free software community?

If you download the app store version, and you edit the source code of the downloaded app to, say, scratch an itch, it will not run any longer because the app bundle signature verification will fail. Distributing unmodifiable applications defeats the whole purpose of a free software license.

Did you check the repo? You can download and build your own app easily, they have instructions for all 3 platforms:


I am aware that one can build the app from source; my comments were orthogonal to that.

It is customary for open source projects that involve complicated or proprietary build processes to provide binaries which one can simply download and run. App Store releases are decidedly not this: they include DRM, and have as a requirement the provision of personal information to (and agreement to an onerous legal contract with) a third party: the app store vendor. You can't get free apps from the mac App Store without giving Apple your phone number and email address.

In the case of interpreted software (such as this) those interpreted (but nonetheless runnable) files should be modifiable. You shouldn't have to set up a toolchain (which on macOS is proprietary and requires its own EULA) to try out this software if you don’t have or want an AppleID.

If you do jump through the App Store hoops, you can't edit the app and then run it.

Focalboard team here. Added a feature idea on providing binaries: https://github.com/mattermost/focalboard/issues/99

Thanks for your feedback!

We'd love to hear more. We just setup this page with links on how to get more involved: https://github.com/mattermost/focalboard/wiki/Share-your-fee...!

Rip out your spyware first, it's a bigger problem than forcing users to the App Store.

Same here, I don't want to use any Microsoft account on windows 10, I was already burned by it once ._.

You don‘t need a Microsoft account to download from the Microsoft Store.

Downloading from app store is about as easy as it gets.

No, it's not.

Requires a sign-up and comes with other cruft unrelated to the actual download.

Last time I used it was to test that my companies app could be downloaded from it. Well it wouldn't let me sign in using my existing outlook account apparently because we use our company domain name. So I had to create a completely separate microsoft domain account. Pretty annoying.

I take it you have never tried using the Windows Store.

Focalboard team here. Thanks for the feedback! Opened feature idea ticket on this here: https://github.com/mattermost/focalboard/issues/99

FWIW, more alternatives are listed here https://alternativeshub.gitlab.io/kanban-board/ with comparison ranking. IIRC, they're sourced from the awesome list

A pity that website looks very outdated.

A good self-hosted alternative is https://kanbantool.com/kanban-tool-on-site - it launched back in 2009, has time tracking and allows for a lot of customization through SDK.

Do you offer hosted service? Is there a demo to try it without installing/subscribing?

Nice. I was using Wekan for awhile until I ignored Heroku telling me that they were getting rid of the free MongoDB service, then I lost all of my data. Maybe I'll have to try this instead.

Can't you use MongoDB Atlas free tier?


Perhaps, but my data's already gone.

I don't think that's the case. You should e-mail support@mlab.com and ask them to help you get a copy of your data.

Restyaboard is having import option for other software including Wekan. So, you may easily migrate from Wekan to Restyaboard to avoid that.

Focal is the Irish for 'word'.

Is that the etymology? 'Wordboard'?

It's also the English for ~"having, being in, or related to focus". So a meaning of "a board where important tasks are in focus" (or some such) seems at least as likely.

I think they mean it as the adjective form of the English word "focus", as in "focal point". Instead of "focal point" it's a "focal board".

This looks great! Can we have a docker image or instruction?

Focalboard team here, please see: https://github.com/mattermost/focalboard/issues/96

This looks pretty cool! Any chance of seeing a demo? Also do you have any recommended specs for self hosting?

I wonder why the Mac OS desktop app requires 10.15? I'm assuming it's just an electron app.

Not sure about version requirement but you can find that Mac app is written in Swift: https://github.com/mattermost/focalboard/tree/main/mac and Windows application in C# uses WPF: https://github.com/mattermost/focalboard/tree/main/win-wpf

Linux app seems to be just a local server supposedly with web browser as an interface.

Both these apps contain a few source files and all they do seem to be rendering and handling a webview. The "real" app seems to be this: https://github.com/mattermost/focalboard/tree/main/webapp.

Yes, github repo also mentions Catalina (10.15) and XCode 12+.

So, Swift would explain that..

Would it be nice if it was possible to import existing data from Trello and Notion

They have scripts to import from Asana, Notion, and Trello https://github.com/mattermost/focalboard/tree/main/import

seems like a good tool but docker version would be nice.

Just one letter changes and this whole project goes to sh*t.

Looks cool. But you have split up the licenses as Apache and AGPL. Why the split? You could prevent the likes of AWS competition with a blanket AGPL etc... Am I missing something? Or is Apache license OSS some derivative work and from another project?

From what I can understand, if you host Focalboard on your server and update some configurations and templates to suit your needs, you are not required to open source these updates (which you would otherwise have to under AGPL) since those specific files are Apache 2.0 licensed.

i think AGPL only makes that requirement if you give out YOUR version to users. If you are just using for yourself or internal team, AGPL does not require you to publish those changes.

AGPL doesn't make any distinction between public vs private use. If software you write depends on or extends AGPL code, it must also be licensed as AGPL, period. You do only need to offer the source code to users of the software, but that is still a burden, especially when all you are doing is updating config files.

as far as i understand the license requirements don't get triggered by your own employees because they are bound to you by the employment contract, so it's like sharing with yourself

If I use the software privately, can we just say that I as the only user distributed the modified code to myself automatically?

Maybe it's a means of last resort to prevent the work from effectively going to waste in case of bankruptcy/low adoption?


Focalboard team here.

Hi @riho, thanks for your feedback. One key piece of feedback we've heard is that other SaaS-based project management tools can run slow.

Because of this, one concept we're testing out is "Focalboard Personal Desktop" where you can run the software locally.

You can download the v0.6 version from the Windows Store or Apple AppStore to try it out. We would love your feedback.

Also, if you're interested in influencing the project, please consider submitting a ticket with type `enhancement` with what you'd like to see: https://github.com/mattermost/focalboard/issues

That's fair enough, "x, but actually fast" is definitely a strong selling point and a differentiator in my book. That wasn't mentioned on the landing page.

Focalboard team here, agree with your feedback! Updated README on this: https://github.com/mattermost/focalboard/commit/5c802347be8a...

I am using Atlassian's free plans for Jira, Confluence and Service Management. They are great!

Guidelines | FAQ | Lists | API | Security | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact