Like many unfortunate office/productivity areas, project management, and especially Gantt-Chart production, seems to lean heavily on a single Microsoft product to the point where abstract-seeming work practices are actually derived from technical features and properties of that product.
A couple of years ago I tried to create a Gnatt-Chart on Ubuntu. I initially thought that would be a no-brainer, but it proved to be harder then anticipated.
After googling for open-source project management software, I concluded that the non-MS project management software landscape comprised of the following types of offerings:
- Proprietary SAAS offerings such as Basecamp and Github – The nature of my project did not allow for using such platforms. Also, these solutions seem to be focused around communications and facilitating teamwork, while I was simply looking to create a Gantt chart.
- Open-Source, run your own server, web-applications such as Redmine, Trac, GitLab and ProjectOpen – Those solutions didn’t fit my purpose at the time because I didn’t want to pay the overhead of setting up a server. Also most of these solutions seem to be primarily focused around software project management and bug tracking, Gantt-Charts, if provided as a feature in those systems at all, seems to be an afterthought.
- Open-Source desktop software – These seemed to be the closest match to what I was looking for. Such offerings include GanttProject, ProjectLibre and Planner. Unfortunately most of theses offering seem to be of a rather poor quality or not actively maintained. Most are written in Java and targeting Widows while providing a poor and not well-integrated experience on Linux, a far cry from the high-quality software I became accustomed to, coming from Mozlla, LibreOffice.org, Gome and KDE. Those applications also seem to provide disappointing results when is comes to the visual quality of the generated Gantt-Charts. Another problem is the lack of export formats suitable for embedding in documents created in software such as LibreOffice, most applications simply provide poor-resolution bitmap images that look terrible in print.
Eventually I’ve settled on using Planner. It provided a nice GTK2-Based UI which fit well to the Gnome desktop I was using at the time. to improve the quality of the generated Gantt-Chart, I exported it to an SVG file and tweaked it in Inkscape before finally embedding in a LibreOffice document.