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This is an archived post from our old blog. It's here for the sake of posterity (and to keep the search engines happy). Our new blog can be found at

Announcing ATHENA Tix: a new open source ticketing system

What's the single most crucial component of an arts organization's infrastructure? For many, it's their ticketing software. Consider that:

  1. It's a funnel through which most or all of their revenue flows.

  2. It provides their best or only chance of collecting information about patrons.

  3. It often serves as the primary medium for presenting information about upcoming events.

Rubber, allow me to introduce you to Road.

So if your organization is one of those for whom ticketing is the mission critical business process, I have one simple question: are you happy with your ticketing software?

If you're like most folks we've talked to, the answer is at best a "well..." and quite possibly a resounding "no!"

The truth is that most popular ticketing systems were designed to meet the needs of large institutions and commercial venues. They're too expensive and too complicated for small organizations and independent producers. Meanwhile, the few systems that do cater to the little guy often provide only the most rudimentary functionality.

At Fractured Atlas, we believe it doesn't have to be this way. We believe all organizations, large and small, should have access to a ticketing system that:

  • Sells tickets exactly the way your organization wants to sell tickets;

  • Is built on the latest and greatest technologies and software methodologies;

  • Integrates with all of the other systems you already have (or might want to get);

  • Makes it easy to try new things and incorporate emerging best practices;

  • Is affordable for small non-profits, and preferably is completely free;

With the generous support of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, we are starting a project to develop such a system: ATHENA Tix, an open source, community-developed event ticketing system.

ATHENA Tix will be software and the infrastructure necessary to make that software work. It will be product documentation, well documented APIs, and sample integrations and configurations. It will be freely shared source code, collaboratively-developed specifications, open defect tracking and a public complaint box. Most importantly, ATHENA Tix will be a community. It will be the developers, implementers, user organizations and affiliates who plan and design the system together, develop it collaboratively and share best practices of how to use it to sell tickets.

If this project sounds interesting to you, then I strongly encourage you to get involved and track our progress at The website is a work-in-progress at the moment, but we've got the basic infrastructure in place for a community-driven open source software project. That includes everything from wiki-based documentation to source code repositories, bug-tracking, and more. We're striving for complete transparency, so we'll be posting design specs, development road maps, and photos of our programmers in their underwear. (Not really that last one, but this is a long blog post and I wanted to make sure you were still paying attention!)

We plan to release version 1.0 of the software by late 2010 or early 2011.