LINUX PICKS AND PANS

2 Task Manager Apps: Choose the Features You Can Live Without

Today, if you’re in need of a task manager application, you’re looking at a category filled — perhaps even overfilled — with options. If you carry a smartphone, you probably have a to-do listapp in your pocket already.

Gone are the days when Linux users had to panic over finding asuitable clone for Microsoft Outlook like Evolution. Web-basedservices like Google provide calendars and to-do lists that sync withmultiple computers and smartphones.

That said, I prefer a desktop to-do app that is easily transported tomy multiple computers. I found two good possibilities with gToDo List and Tasque.

The Basics

The gToDo List, a Gnome desktop app, creates multiple lists, setsalarm notifications when tasks are due, automatically purges completedtasks if you desire, exports tasks to HTML format and sorts themaccording to priority. This app also shows the upcoming due date orstatus of tasks and can highlight or hide your tasks until their duetime is reached.

It runs in other Linux desktop environments as well. But if you are aGnome fan, place the launch icon in a panel for quick access and easyretrieval.

Tasque, while also a Gnome app, is much different. It links to somepopular online task manager services like Remember the Milk.

Despite some of its other simple features, Tasque can be a real cow toconfigure. Remember the Milk is the only embedded option. You have tomanually configure the links to other services.

The qTodo Rundown

The real beauty behind gTodo List is its simple interface. What yousee is all there is. It has little more than a single pane that showstasks and related information

The interface also shows add/remove buttons and a category filter dropdown box. Otherwise, it is devoid of overlapping right-click menus.

All you need is contained in a few drop-down menus. The design issimple. The functionality is high.

Sounds Like Task

Tasque is an equally simple app with a bare-bones interface.Considering how space is its menu, the feature set is remarkablysurprising.

gToDo

gToDo

Tasque synchronizes with Evolution and Remember the Milk. You can alsouse it with SQLite.

Tasque works well with the Avant Window Navigator (AWN) dock. See myreview here []. This meansyou have fast and direct access to your ToDo list from the dock.

Looking at qTodo

I like what this apps does and how it does them. For example, gTodoautomatically purges old tasks. It also highlights past due items andupcoming tasks.

Hovering over the tray icon displays due tasks and provides for quickupdates. It is easy to set up several different categories within alist.

But if you prefer to keep separate lists for different activities, youcan. And it is just as easy to set alarms and priority notificationsregardless of how you configure one or more lists.

Sizing Up Tasque

Tasque could be one of those apps you try out only to regret it. Thatis what I first thought about it. But as I worked my way through itsfew features, I became more pleased with it.

However, there’s one feature I cannot live without, and Tasque doesn’t have it. It has no way inthe basic program to set alarms or reminders. Using the Web-basedRemember the Milk service partially solves that weakness.

Still, I do not like the tie-in to using Remember the Milk. Setting the app to local file instead RTM eliminates that tie-in, butit also nixes those additional features not available in the localfile option.

Tasque

Tasque

Like gTodo List, the Tasque menu is sparse and simple. It has no menubar or any other miscellaneous features.

All you see is an input field to enter your tasks. Oh yeah, you rightclick on the icon that sits on the panel at launch to access a scantydropdown menu box.

RTM Option

As I said, I much prefer the local file-saving instead of moving tothe cloud with Tasque. But here is how that feature works.

The setup includes an option to go to the Remember the Milk website.Once there, you create an account with user name and password andallow API access.

This gives you access to the list of tasks to choose. Plus you cancreate your own. Then add a due date and notes.

Gearing Up

Using RTM is a bit like using Google’s offline email reader function.The RTM feature lets you access your task list offline.

But to do this you must install the Google Gears plug-in for yourbrowser. That is fairly simple to accomplish. Just click the Installbutton from the RTM website.

For my money, however (actually, being open source software, Tasque andqTodo List are free), I prefer Google Calendar and Todo Listoption to Tasque’s Remember the Milk tie-in.

Kudos and Drawbacks

I like the ability to quickly add and update tasks in these two taskmanagers. Particularly neat is how both of these apps let me adddetailed notes.

After playing with both of them, it became a toss-up as to which one Iwould use all the time. For most things, I am partial to qTodo List. Itgenerally suits my work style better.

But Tasque has right-click menu access to tasks in the list. I do likethat convenience over clicking on the drop-down menu. Also, theright-click options on the qTodo icon menu from the panel does not asmany options.

Do not plan on taking a printed copy of your to do list with you.Neither of these two apps has much going for them in terms ofexporting and printing full content.

Bottom Line

Both qTodo List and Tasque have several useful features. But decidingwhich app to use regularly comes down to deciding which features togive up.

Another big drawback is the lack of a search function in both apps.With short lists that you quickly act on, not being able to search maynot be much of a problem. But come on, Mr. and Ms. Developer — weare talking computers here. Searching should be a given.

The advanced tasking features in qTodo List partially makes up for theno-search feature. But it is one more compromise in choosing which appto use.

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