Creating Gantt-Charts on Linux

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

5 thoughts on “Creating Gantt-Charts on Linux

  1. Thanks for sharing your experience, I’m currently creating my Gantt with Libreoffice spreadsheets and was contemplating fine tuning it in Inkscape… Too bad there isn’t an Inkscape plugin for Gantt charts !

  2. Dear ifireball, it’s really funny I hit this post when I attempted to avoid this cumbersome process of designing Gantt chart in Planner and adjusting it in Inkscape. I used independently exactly same approach as you! Moreover, I usually need Gantt chart with relative dates, so I adjusted (in a really terrible way) Planner source code for my purpose while still needed Inkscape to get final chart. Few days ago, I have finally found my solution in pgfgantt package for LaTeX. Of course, if you are not familiar with LaTeX, the beginning may be somewhat difficult, but the syntax in not complicated and there is a good tutorial (mirrors.ctan.org/graphics/pgf/contrib/pgfgantt/pgfgantt.pdf).

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