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Flipping the Linux switch: Forgetful penguins love Tasque

Tasque notesDo you forget stuff? Do you wonder where the heck you put the keys when they're in your right hand? Do you get in the shower with your socks still on? Do you ever get to the bus stop, and realize you can't recall if you've put on pants? We're the only ones? Really? Damn.

We're willing to bet you can still benefit from Tasque, even if you just need reminders about the things normal people put on their to-do lists.

There are a few other to-do list applications in Linux, but most lack the finesse that Tasque is already bringing to the table. Tasque is a newcomer (it got its start at last year's Hackweek), and seems well on its way to becoming a big player.

Tasque (pronounced "Task") is a unified frontend for a number of backends. Honest to god, we don't mean anything obscene by that. What we mean is, it's a very standard graphical interface that works with a number of to-do and database types to make your to-do list dynamic.
In our case, the backend we used was Remember the Milk. We could have used Evolution, or SQLite, but we like Remember the Milk.

Before we get into the real meat of Tasque, and get you all excited, we need to be upfront. Tasque is less than a pleasure to install on many systems at present. We expect this will change as it leaves the developmental stages and starts getting packaged for other distros. So here's the deal: We got it to install with very little difficulty on openSUSE. We got it to configure but not quite through the compilation on Zenwalk. We pulled most of our hair out trying to get it to just configure on Ubuntu.

So, yes, it needs, presently, to be installed from source. It's not a bad source install at all, provided that Mono and ndesk-dbus are already installed on your system. You can install these from your distro's repositories. The problem we saw on Ubuntu came down to the absence of (and the complete inability to attain) the notify-sharp bits of Mono.

configure tasque.
Time to compile Tasque
Type in your root passwd (correctly) and make install tasque

Once you download and extract Tasque, it's the standard ./configure, make, and su- make install compile procedure (check the README.txt and INSTALL.txt files if you've got any questions). Then the fun begins. We like fun a heck of a lot better than compiling.

First run of Tasque

The first time we fired up Tasque, it asked what backend we wanted our to-do list associated with. Since we've not got much of anything going on in Evolution or SQLite, we opted for Remember the Milk (RTM).

Tasque asks us to authorize it with RTM

The Tasque API likes to talk to cows at RTM

Tasque then let us know that we had to tell RTM that it was okay for it to download and exchange information with our RTM account. We logged in, gave it the go-ahead, and then we were ready to roll.

We really are busy here at DLS. It's just that some of us have a pretty barren RTM list. Probably because we keep, you know, forgetting to put stuff on it. It comes back to the whole "Am I wearing pants?" thing. But say we had some pressing stuff already in RTM, it would appear in our new Tasque window.

Since we don't, and since we don't want to have to log on to RTM to update our to-do list all the freakin' time, here's how it all works in Tasque.

Tasque allows us to filter our lists just as we would in RTM.

Task allows for RTM like Task filtering

The meat of the whole thing, of course, is being to update directly from the desktop. Right? Tasque doesn't have the most scintillating interface, but hey, does it really need to? We pop over to the rather barren to-do list, and click "Add Task." At least we're doing our part, now, to make it slightly more intriguing.

Add a new task to Tasque

Clicking on the desired spot in the highlighted area allows us to put in our personal task related information. We can prioritize, name the task, select dates, and add notes.

Tasque loaded with my extremely busy schedule.

Yes, friends, notes. We really like notes, especially when they're legible, and not particularly cryptic. We got in trouble for passing notes all the time in school. Then, in our work lives, we got into trouble for not documenting everything properly and communicating clearly enough with our supervisors. Tasque, we guarantee, does not give a flying fig either way if we leave notes. But sometimes it really is to our benefit. Luckily, it's quite easy.

Leaving notes on Tasque

A nice right click of the mouse will call up a menu that allows us to leave notes.

Passing notes is fun again with Tasque!

Once we've typed in our notes, we have the option to save, or add another. Tasque alerts us to the note status with a nice little icon.
Tasque with Notes icons.

While we're doing all this wonderful stuff on our desktop, Tasque is busy at work updating RTM online. It's great for those times we can't be at our beloved Linux box, and need to check on (or update) our to-do list from the road.
Remember the Milk has the good word from Tasque, and I am synced up!

Tasque is a neat application. It's much easier, we think, to see at a quick glance what we're supposed to be doing than with a traditional calendar arrangement. It has a lot more oomph and a better feeling of compatibility than other task management applications because of the RTM backend.

We'd definitely recommend Linux users (even new ones) with adventurous spirits (and Mono and ndesk-dbus installed) to give compiling Tasque a try on their computers. We are hopeful that a variety of distros will pick up packaging this little utility as it develops,

It's quitting time though. Where did we leave the keys?

[Thanks, Zonker, for the Tasque tip]

Tags: Hackweek, Linux, linux-switch, opensource, openSUSE, Remember the Milk, RememberTheMilk, RPM, RTM, source, tarball, Tasque, to do, to-do, ToDo