Introductory Test Management Software
I have little experience in using test management software so I have been playing with 2 of the free tools out there, XStudio and TestLink. Here are my subjective impressions:
TestLink (Open Source) - limited functionality with a clunky UI but good for beginners who want to start simple by managing sets of manual tests. Once I understood what the names meant (e.g. test plan) I was able to quickly setup my tests, execute them and look at the results. Reports are limited as well but useful. Warning: I needed a developer to install it for me.
XStudio (Free but not open source) - lots of functionality, very flexible, very configurable but overpowering/confusing to someone like me just starting out. I found it complex to setup my manual tests. GUI was painful as regards RSI/OOS as operations are based on right mouse clicks and need lots of clicks. I think it is strongly oriented towards test automation management and my opinion is that the developers I work with would quickly adapt to using it. A test management tool to consider after getting experience with this type of software. It was easy for me to install a trial version on my Windows XP PC without any developer's help.
Remember that these are my impressions after spending about 20-30 hours and a more rigorous investigation may come to different conclusions.
Re: Introductory Test Management Software
From an initial look that sounds like a pretty fair evaluation to me. Having used many different test management tools for some years now I would say that the best thing you can do is pilot both applications in small projects. A pilot will show up far more than you'd ever imagine.
Might also be worth looking ahead and considering how easy it is to move on up when the time comes to look to move to one of the industry standard application. Easy of migration to a tool like Quality Center is worth considering.
Hope this helps.