SUMMARY: I need a Task Manager

From: Dan Penrod (
Date: Sat Jan 28 1995 - 09:55:49 CST

Dearest Managers... Here's my summary...

To briefly recap... when last we met... I needed some sort of a task
manager utility to track my various tasks/projects as unix/network
system administrator. I am pretty much a one man team so task sharing
capabilities are not overly useful.

I got a bunch of replies, many more Me-To's than solutions, many whom said
things like "Hey man, how did you get my job description!?", so I guess a
lot of people are in the same boat. Solutions ran in 2 broad categories,
makeshift and sophisticated special purpose utilities. I'm going to list
the makeshift solutions first, not because they're the best, but just
because they're short and simple. Be sure to read down to the sophisticated
solutions for the real answers.

        Make sure people mail you task requests and don't move it
        from your main mailbox till you're done. Well, that's basically
        what I've been doing for the last couple of years. I was looking
        for something a little more sophisticated.

System menu and vi:
        Add a line to your .openwin-menu that calls vi which
        opens a file called ToDo. Yea, okay... NEXT!

xrolo: I don't thinks so; a good rolodex but not a task manager.

Calendar Manager:
        This is really only good for saying what you think you'll do on
        a given date or what you actually did in the past. It doesn't
        carry unfinished task to the current day.

zorro: a tcl/tk application. This is supposed to be a pretty good X-app
        that fills my wish list but I didn't bother with it because I
        didn't want to load all of the tcl/tk stuff. If you've already
        got that stuff loaded this may be a perfect solution for you.
        Written by Lindsay Marshall

gnats: Unix tool with emacs interface for editing. Tasks submitted by
        email; data stored in flat files.
        I grabbed this and looked at it. It's from the gnu people
        so it's probably very good. I did not bother to compile it after
        I read the README and various other info files. It appears to
        be a big, powerful, system solution, a solution for a fairly
        large support group that needs to share a large numbers of tasks.
        Probably extreme overkill for a one man team.
        I seem to have misplaced the ftp site... archie for it.

qcalc: Lotus clone that runs on Sparc. Very basic, shows task, date
        entered, days open. ETA, who requested.
        I get the impression this user must be using a spreadsheet
        template he wrote himself, it's not quite clear. Sounds like
        a border-line solution to me although it appears to work for
        him. I discarded it based on the sole fact that Qcalc costs $.

scopus: No details were included. I didn't bother to archie.

        This task manager, written by Diarmuid Coyle, has a lot of promise.
        It was written in Xview so it looks like a standard sun xapp. It
        has a nice email interface for receiving tasks and replying to
        requests. It was actually quite feature rich. And I like the fact
        that it doesn't assume I have TCL or perl already running on my
        machine. I had a little trouble getting it to run and when I did
        it lost the first 5 tasks I entered, although I suspect it was
        probably my fault, not sure what happened. Worth looking into...
        Diarmuid was ready with helpful replies and might consider fixing up
        the few existing bugs if you ask real nice. :-)
        No FTP site: either ask Diarmuid to email you a copy or you can
        ask me if you want.

plod: Sorry, I just didn't get around to checking this one out yet,
        although I plan to! It is a perl script, so, if you don't have
        perl loaded and don't plan to... forget it. Supposed to be quite
        good. I don't have much else to say about it. Check it out.

        FOR NOW. It lacks a lot of the sophistication of the other
        applications like gnats, zorro, and taskman but it's small, clean,
        easy-to-use, and seems to serve my needs, although it may well be
        insufficient for many. I haven't decided yet. It contains a small
        calander (about an inch by and inch and a half) that resides in
        the main window. You can assign specific tasks to specific dates
        like in calander manager but this tool is smart enough to carry
        unfinished tasks forward. It allows you to set priority levels
        and to check things off as they're done. It also has some logging,
        printing and display features. It does not allow for task sharing
        nor does it have any mail interface, which would be really nice.
        Oh well, a mail interface is mentioned in the TODO file. Maybe soon.
        Said to be found at:
        I actually managed to find it at:

By The Way: One person mentioned a discussion group aimed at single
        administrator sites which he suggests is perfect for discussing
        this sort of issue. If you're interested...
        Post your message to:
        To subscribe, send mail to
                with a message body of "subscribe sage-solo".

-------------------- "Carlyn M. Lowery" "Brett Newton-Palmer" "David Di Gioia" "Diarmuid Coyle" "Pete A. Zaitcev" "Frank Greco" "David Mostardi" "Bob Shaw" "Tim Evans"
Sure hope I didn't forget anyone...


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