Time tracking

9 Sparkling Free and Open Source CLI Linux Time Trackers

Time tracking software is a type of computer software that records time spent on tasks. This category of software can enable users to run billing reports, and prepare invoices for clients.

Command-Line InterfaceThe deployment of this software offers a new level of productivity to organizations, as it provides management with information on what time is spent by employees on different activities such as projects and tasks. This can help to measure productivity over time. This software is commonly used by professionals that charge clients by the hour such as accountants, solicitors, and freelancers. The generation of automatic invoices with minimal or no data entry removes the inconvenience of billing and invoicing clients, and improves efficiency.

All of the time trackers featured in this roundup are console applications, using a command-line interface.

A console application is computer software which can be used with a text-only computer interface, the command line interface, or a text-based interface included within a graphical user interface operating system, such as a terminal emulator (such as GNOME Terminal or Terminator). Whereas a graphical user interface application generally involves using the mouse and keyboard (or touch control), with a console application the primary (and often only) input method is the keyboard. Many console applications are command line tools, but there is a wealth of software that has a text-based user interface making use of ncurses, a library which allow programmers to write text-based user interfaces.

CLI applications are light on system resources (very useful on low specified machines), are often faster and more efficient than their graphical counterparts, they do not stop working when X is restarted, and are perfect for scripting purposes. When designed well, CLI applications offer a surprisingly improvement in productivity. The applications are leaner, faster, easier to maintain, and remove the need to have installed a whole raft of libraries.

The whole is greater than the sum of its parts is a very famous quote from Aristotle, a Greek philosopher and scientist. This quote is particularly pertinent to Linux. In our view, one of Linux’s biggest strengths is its synergy. The usefulness of Linux doesn’t derive only from the huge raft of open source (command line) utilities. Instead, it’s the synergy generated by using them together, sometimes in conjunction with larger applications.

To provide an insight into the quality of software that is available, we have compiled a list of 9 high quality open source CLI time trackers. Here’s our verdict captured in a legendary LinuxLinks-style ratings chart. Alternatively, if you prefer a graphical interface, try the following article: Timetracking.

Ratings chart for the best free and open source CLI time tracking tools

Click the links in the table below to learn more about each tool.

CLI Time Tracking
WatsonSuperb CLI to track your time
doingA CLI for a What Was I Doing system
TimewarriorRecords time and associates blocks of time with tags
timetrapCommand line time tracker written in Ruby
timetraceCLI to track working time supporting tags
tiempoStores entries as UTC
uttUltimate Time Tracker written in the Python programming language
timetrackingSimple utility to keep track of time
cttTime tracking for geeks

This article has been revamped in line with our recent announcement.

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Alex O
Alex O
19 days ago

Maybe add arbtt?