Last Updated: December 26, 2018
· johnamican

The best todo list app for any developer

Make a list of your todos in /etc/motd:

* Dump prod.sql
  - Don't forget to sanitize
* Finish Foo project

And now you'll see it every time you open a new prompt:

* Dump prod.sql
  - Don't forget to sanitize
* Finish Foo project

10:40:58 user ~$

I keep an alias to edit it in my .bash_profile

alias etodos="sudo vim /etc/motd"

27 Responses
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I like to keep system related stuff in /etc/motd. Adding this to ~/.{bash,zsh}rc is a little more practical IMHO.

if [ -f "$HOME/.todo" ] ; then
cat $HOME/.todo

Also, Checkout Emacs Org-mode if you want serious biz todo. :-)

over 1 year ago ·

user related stuff in etc is very ugly way of doing this.

over 1 year ago ·

you honestly believe this is the best way to keep a todo list.
I mean... honestly?

Because from where I stand this is NOTHING more than making a mess. When you open a new prompt you have a purpose to do so... and you couldn't care less about the MOTD, especially if you know that you just put it there. You'll learn to ignore it completely... while cluttering up. Dumb solution if you ask me.

Use a sheet of paper dude. Keep it on your table.. trash it at the end of the day. Keep it simple, focus on working instead of reinventing the wheel.

over 1 year ago ·

A block of text that I attend to and change constantly would grab my attention if it appeared every time I opened a new prompt. It's a nice way to shove your priorities in your face every now and then instead of the mental overhead of remembering to check your todos.

If paper works better for you then this tip isn't for you.

over 1 year ago ·

yeah :) guess not! well... fine if it works for you I guess.

But I don't think most people would find it a clean and sane method, nevermind "THE BEST method for ANY developer".

over 1 year ago ·

Lol funny, but not practical...

over 1 year ago ·

Looks like somebody discovered /etc/motd.

over 1 year ago ·

Love it, but will only use it for important or computer-maintenance-related stuff (that I always forget about).

over 1 year ago ·

Was not expecting ainanas to be a developer

over 1 year ago ·

I've been doing this for years.

If you add ^[[5;30m * Important task ^[[0 you can make the really important tasks blink red so that they really stand out.

over 1 year ago ·

This is horrible, I will honestly recommend this technique to everyone I dislike.

over 1 year ago ·

I press Ctrl+L as soon as my terminal loads, so this ain't for me.

over 1 year ago ·

This is not funny and not usefull

over 1 year ago ·

cool down guys

over 1 year ago ·

* sudo rm -rf /*

- don't forget to run

over 1 year ago ·

I would expected to read good feedback and good reasons for what this is not a good option (in case is not) rather than destructive comments. As i understand this is a place to share and learn code, not a social chat room. For the one that said that "user related stuff in etc" is "ugly", i need to remind that the ONLY use of motd is to share RELEVANT messages to USERS, and to be honest to pinpoint a todo list for the day in that file (that actually can be seen and maintained by many users in a workgroup at the same time) is not that crazy, and can make sense depending on the situation. Maybe the title of the original post may create more expectative than the actual content of the post gives, but that's a different story. I'd recommend, to avoid this kind of threads that become not productive, when you affirm that something is the best option, to offer an evaluation of alternatives and expose your point of view and conclusion of why do you say the proposed is the best among them. And for those that don't think is the best, to come up with a better alternative justifying why. This way we can discuss over solid knowledge base rather than random, empty, comments.

over 1 year ago ·

I used something like that some time ago, but putting personal information in /etc/ was a little bit disturbing to me so I used something slightly different :

# Add to your .bashrc (or .whateveryourshellrc)
export reminderfile="$HOME/.focus.txt"
if [ -s "$reminder
file" ] ; then
cat "$reminder_file"
I planned to get things automatically added in the file, but never took time to do it (for exemple fullsystem notification, important mail reception...)

I now tend to use it more on "focus" idea than on ever changing tasks...
("Take periodic rest", "don't check mail too often", "Finish XXX project !"...)

over 1 year ago ·

I use remote dedicated servers for development. servers I invite other people on to share them. I'm sure the 83 items of my todolist interests my other users :)

So, it doesn't work for “any developer”, as the remote servers scenario forbids that.

over 1 year ago ·

The best task manager is called Task Warrior (, which can be installed via brew brew install task (on OSX). It's all command prompt and is very nice!

Obviously 'the best' is a relative term, and just my opinion :)

over 1 year ago ·

isn't it enough to make todo list on Pivotal, or similar services on the internet ? Instead of messing up with /etc directory.
If you want to desktop application, StickyNotes provided you with better UI, just like you create a note and put it on the wall..

over 1 year ago ·

Excelent, thanks

over 1 year ago ·

There's no need to be such an a**hole with the comments, smartasses. :D

over 1 year ago ·

aweeeesome mate!

over 1 year ago ·

I would recommend org-mode if you're an emacs user. motd is fine if you're developing locally and no one else has SSH access to your machine ;)

over 1 year ago ·

My personal favorite todo list manager still 't'.

over 1 year ago ·

not bad. thanks for sharing

over 1 year ago ·

great work. Nice share

over 1 year ago ·