Request Handling in security departments

OTRS is used in security departments and companies for long time due to the well documented code and some background in the CERT area.

In one of my recent projects the team wanted to simplify some of their processes additional to the main goals of the implemenation project. We decided to start with the authorization process for taking photos inside their business locations. Until now they had a paper based permission process.

So created a small process within OTRS. Now the customer can request a permission in the customer webinterface or by sending a mail to a special email address.

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Securing your ticket communication

The actual discussion on  possible unwanted readers of your mails shows the need to encrypt emails. OTRS has the possibility to sign and encrypt via S/MIME and PGP/GnuPG.

For enabling PGP only a few steps are needed. So this post shows how to setup PGP on your system.

Step 1 – Install GnPG

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OTRS migration to github is complete

Since we moved to github in February, the community response so far has been very good. Today I merged pull request #77! Several nice community contributed features found their way into OTRS 3.3, such as multiple backends support for CustomerCompany.

Last week we moved all the remaining content to github too: the OTRS ITSM packages as well as other public extension packages such as FAQ and Survey. This makes it possible to include community contributions for these modules in a very convenient way via pull requests.

Please see for details. The CVS server at is now in readonly mode and will be turned off at some point in the next weeks.

Translating the OTRS Admin Manual

As you may know, the admin manual of OTRS can be translated. We currently have the English source version online at There are also German and Russian versions, but they are only partly translated and therefore not currently online.

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OTRS now on github

Last week, the OTRS source code, documentation and some utility modules have been migrated to git. We have updated the usage instructions on the website and in the
documentation. If you still find places with outdated information, please let us know. We also plan to migrate more modules in future.

All git content is hosted on an internal server that requires a user login. The OpenSource content is automatically published on github. There you can find all necessary instructions on how to checkout the sources, look at files and their history. It is also possible to monitor all che changes that happen via RSS feeds and notification emails. The changes in git will no longer appear on the existing “cvs-log” mailing list.

OTRS commit activity statistics

OTRS commit activity statistics

If you are interested, you can register on github, clone our public modules and send us the changes you make for inclusion in the main repositories via a so-called “Pull Request”. This makes OTRS better visible for developers and makes it easier to contribute to the product. After just a few days we already received 5 pull requests!

About OTRS, MySQL, MyISAM and InnoDB storage engines

The most popular database for use with OTRS is MySQL. This database comes with multiple different storage engines, the most prominent are MyISAM and the more modern InnoDB. That last storage engine is also faster and more reliable than MyISAM.

Recently we found some OTRS users running into issues because they had tables using different storage types in their database. This mostly happens because the friendly MySQL people changed the default storage engine from MyISAM to InnoDB with their version 5.5. So for instance, if you would upgrade your server from Ubuntu 10.04 to 12.04, MySQL would be upgraded from 5.1 to 5.5. This causes the default storage engine to change, but the upgrade would keep your existing tables in tact. Now when you want to create new table, for instance when you are upgrading OTRS or installing a module such as ITSM you can get an error message like this:

ERROR 1025 (HY000) at line 25: Error on rename of './otrs/#sql-143c_22' to
'./otrs/article_flag' (errno: 150)

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Creating mockups at OTRS with WireframeSketcher

Today I want to share some thoughts with you about the wireframe sketching tool we use in the development compartment here at OTRS. Nearly every time we create a whole new screen (or a series of screens) for the OTRS framework, we use WireframeSketcher. WireframeSketcher is a wireframing tool to create mockups, wireframes and prototypes for desktop, web and mobile applications. It is available as a standalone desktop app, as well as as an eclipse plugin (also available for other eclipse-based IDEs).


With WireframeSketcher, we are able to create mockups with standard elements such as buttons and other generic form elements, boxes, accordeons, link lists, text boxes and notes in a very easy and comfortable way. Another great feature of WireframeSketcher is its ability to create so-called “stories”. A story is a series of mockups which are connected to each other on a storyboard. In this way, we are able to create clickable screen series without creating any HTML dummies. This is very helpful for us to share our understandings about new screens with the team and to create a first experience of how the new screens are to be used.

After finishing your work, you can export the mockups as images (such as png), HTML or PDF. Make sure to check out for more information.