tofu: Working the stack

Looking over tofu, I couldn’t help but wonder if that name is a clever play on the word “todo.”

After all, most software circling around the “to-do” list would probably pronounce that word as “too doo” or “two dew,” with a long “o” sound in both places. This in spite of the fact that I have heard some native English speakers pronounce “to” with a short “u” sound, like “tuh.”

So if the author of tofu is cunning, and I have no reason to believe he/she is not, then the pronunciation of the program might be “too foo,” which would hearken back to the old placeholder names of foo and bar. Neat.

But more than likely, I am just thinking too hard. Let’s get back to tofu, which I can’t help but read as “too foo” now every time I look at it. 🙄


Most task organizers to date have relied on metadata or tagging systems to show priority or somehow arrange tasks in a list; tofu takes the more direct route and connects importance to position in the list.

The top item is the most important, and the bottom is the least. It’s the arrangement that determines priority.

To that end, tofu adopts some very unusual ways to manipulate the stack. There are the conventional add (which works as “next”), delete and edit tools, as well as a “read” command to show a brief synopsis.

However there is also the “jump” command, which can yank a task or a series of tasks, and promote or demote them within a list. I don’t recall any other to-do manager that can pull arbitrary items and insert them into the stack again, at a specific position.

What’s more, tofu can handle a barrage of list adjustments all on one line. So not only does tofu 3 4 jump=2 work, but also tofu 5 7 jump=2 3 jump=1 list. Very convenient.

tofu also has a tagging system, with the “stamp” command. As you might imagine, multiple items can be tagged at once, with something as simple as tofu 2 3 8 stamp=Important. Multiple tags can be listed with commas between, and all applied at once.

I like programs that can approach a traditional problem and come up with a new way to tackle it. If you can get used to working the stack to show priority, tofu can probably offer a quick and unusual way of organizing it.

4 thoughts on “tofu: Working the stack

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  2. Seb


    Actually, the name of tofu has two origins: the first is the idea of lightweight (there’s no bad fat in the tofu) and the second is indeed, as you’ve suspected, in the “to foo” phonetic (“foo” standing for {code,phone,mail,date,read,clean…}). It depends how you pronounce it (I do it the French way, with a ‘o’ like in “Plato”, but a ‘u’ like in “foo” – you can alternatively write it “tofou” in French).

    It’s fun to read someone writting about tofu, as I’ve just completed a replacement for it on my old box. It’s right tofu has a lot of features to arrange the tasks, but far too much in my current opinion, as I myself have used very few of them in the past years. Nowadays, my deep feeling is that nobody really needs a todo manager, the zillions available being just born because item manipulation is a great playground for coders (yes, tofu is a typical example). If your life can fit in a list, like in the heart of the GTD theory, you are a machine, and what you call “life” is a mere internal reference to an algorithm you run. Thankfully, most people are unable to reach this “ideal”, so the think they actually need is to have an overview of the mess they let pend. So the thing almost everybody instinctively does, I mean loosely feed text files with that mess, is around what the todo tools should work, as closely as possible. Here is my new philosophy on the subject. 🙂

    However, if you like tofu, you can continue to use it and get your bugs fixed (it probably won’t evolve anymore but is still maintained). Thanks for your kind review.


    1. K.Mandla Post author

      You’re quite welcome, and thanks for making it. I did like the unique perspective tofu has. Most task organizers seem capable of assigning priorities, but those are more or less empty labels. tofu was one of the few that actually made the priority an issue in the way the tasks were arranged. I liked that. Thanks again! 🙂

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