Manage your tasks in Linux

Jack Wallen
Jul 2, 2010
Updated • Dec 5, 2012

We all have too much to do. So much so that we need tools to keep track of everything we need  to do. It used to be we just slapped sticky notes everywhere to remind us what was coming up, what we had to buy, what we had to do...everything. Now we use various applications to handle this task.

Linux, of course, has no shortage of tools to keep track of your tasks. In fact, one might say Linux has too many todo list tools. So I thought I would show off a few of the lesser known tools so you might expand your own repertoire. I will even show you an ncurses based todo list tool for those of you who prefer to not bog yourself down with GUI tools. Enough said. We all have too much to do, so let's get on with the tools.

Figure 1


I have to show this one off first. The tudu tool is the ncurses based to do list that will make any Alpine/Nano lover happy as a clam. This tool is very simple to use. You can install it with a command like apt-get install tudu , or you can find it in your Add/Remove Software tool. Once installed, you use the tool from a terminal window and issue the command tudu. When you open the tool you will see a single task that you can delete and then start adding your own. You add/edit tasks with commands.

tudu has a very unique command structure. The more handy commands are:

  • f - Set the prioroity of a task.
  • h - Move the cursor one level out in the tree hierarchy.
  • l - Move the cursor one level in in the tree heirarchy.
  • j - Move to the next task.
  • k - Move to the previous task.
  • J - Move to one position down.
  • K - Move to one position up.
  • m - Mark a task done.
  • dd - Delete a task.
  • o - Add a new task.
  • t - Set the priority of a task

You can lean many more commands from the man page for tudu. Now let's go back to GUI.



Figure 1


It doesn't get much more simple than the tasks tool. You will find this in your Add/Remove Software tool (and most likely it will be labeled tasks-hildon). What you can do with this tool is simple: You add and remove tasks. Oddly enough, it doesn't have all the "bells and whistles" that tudu has, but it will be easier for many to use. There are some quirks involved with this tool.

Although you are able to create Categories, the only way to do so is after you have created a task. To create a task you enter the text in the New task... text are and hit Enter. Once you have done that double-click on the task you created to open up the task properties. Within the task properties you can click the Category drop-down and select New Group. This will allow you to create a new Category. There is one problem. As of this writing, as soon as you create the new group, Tasks will segfault and close. You can open it back up and everything you just created will still be there.

Outside of that odd segfaulting, Tasks is a nice little application. You can prioritize your tasks, give them deadlines, and even add links and notes.

Other task tools to consider

Of course you can't think about todo/task tools without looking at your integrated groupware tools. Both Kontact and Evolution have outstanding task tools. You can even look at the Thunderbird plugin Sunbird which has a good tasks tool. There are so many of these tools to choose from. So if you're looking to keep your tasks organized in Linux, you might need a todo list to help you decide with todo list to choose!


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  1. Tom said on July 2, 2010 at 2:28 pm

    tdl is my favourite command-line tool, it has a steep learning curve but once you get over that it’s pretty full-featured and handy

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