tudu: The hnb-killer

There have been a lot of task organizers in this section, which is no surprise. There have been few that work as a full-screen console application though, which is a surprise.

True, we did just see tina, which could double as a task organizer, but isn’t really intended to work that way.

And there was tasknc, which converts taskwarrior‘s infrastructure into something more graphical. I could split hairs here though, and say taskwarrior is doing all the work, and tasknc is just pushing it around the screen.

But tudu is an honest-to-goodness, dyed-in-the-wool, born-and-bred full-screen task organizer and to-do list manager. And it starts with the letter T.


By now you’re probably thinking this something a lot like hnb. I’m a big hnb fan, and I’m not ashamed to admit it. There are a couple of things here that are questioning my faith in my long-standing favorite.

First of all, tudu seems to match hnb, almost feature-for-feature. It’s intended as a hierarchical list manager. It employs color. It allows quick, one-key navigation through a task tree, and can tag entries as completed. All of those things are well within the reach of hnb too.

But here’s what stands out for tudu:

  1. Optional vi-like navigation, which will appeal to some and repulse others 😉 ;
  2. Extra details (what tudu calls “long descriptions”) for an entry;
  3. Tasks can be assigned
    • a category,
    • a scheduled date,
    • a deadline, and
    • a priority;
  4. Completing a sub-task shows a percent completion for its parent task;
  5. A search function; and
  6. A locking mechanism, to prevent two separate instances of tudu from mangling the same data file.

To be fair, hnb can handle some of those things, and what it doesn’t manage natively, you can jury-rig by adding text to your entry … which is a bit barbaric. And it’s true that there are some features that hnb can do, like building calendars as task entries, that I don’t see in tudu.

But this is really challenging my viewpoint. Some of that list — especially the extended details and search functions — I’ve been pining after for literally years. Seeing them at work in tudu is testing my allegiances.

And there’s one more small, trivial point that is working in the back of my mind: hnb is more than a decade without an update. At some point, it’s just not going to build. I’ve seen it a thousand times in other software: Time just makes the code obsolete, and there’s nothing I can do about it. Maybe I’ll get lucky, like I am with sc, and it’ll run forever. But probably not. 😦

tudu seems to cover most of hnb’s features, adds on many more, and saw updates within the past year. Even if I decide not to jump ship, I have the reassurance that if hnb ever finally croaks, tudu can definitely pick up the slack.

A definite winner of a much-ballyhooed K.Mandla gold star: ⭐ 😉

9 thoughts on “tudu: The hnb-killer

  1. tingol

    I’ve been having some gripes with hnb for a long time although I refused to look for an alternative… But with tudu it seems to cover all the weak spots

    1. K.Mandla Post author

      I’ve had tudu installed since I wrote this post, and I haven’t found any glaring omissions. The scheduling feature is particularly helpful. I wish there was a sorting feature, but other than that, I’m a convert.

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