Is there a good, NON-JAVA, non-MS project management tool out there?
September 26, 2013 8:56 AM   Subscribe

I will be starting to work on several small, overlapping projects soon and need a lightweight tool. WANT: Ability to manage 2-3 resources (mostly me, really), schedule tasks, create and output Gantt charts. DO NOT WANT: The security hole of suck known as Java, so Project Libre, OpenProj and the like are right out. MEH, WILL ACCEPT IF NEEDED: Cloud app. I really prefer desktop programs for various reasons, but if the best solution is on the cloud, so be it. A PLEA: I'm going to a presentation on Office 365 tonight with a devotee of MS Project. Please arm me in advance against the call of the dark side!

Emphasis in point form, sorry to be repetitive.

- Considered and rejected: Project Libre, OpenProj
- Free is good, but if there's a good commercial solution out there, I will consider it
- The Cloud is to be endured, not embraced. I don't need access from anywhere, and I really don't need to keep track of yet another damn online account. Desktop install would be ideal.

I saw several similar questions when I searched before posting this, but I really, really, REALLY am looking for a non-Java solution, ideally desktop. Thanks!
posted by maudlin to Computers & Internet (8 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Perhaps Redmine would work?
posted by FreezBoy at 9:09 AM on September 26, 2013 [1 favorite]

Planner doesn't use Java and hits all of those buttons. There's a Windows build, but I haven't used it there.

I think you are operating under a mistaken understanding of Java's security problems, though. It's bad news in the browser - you don't want it, or any other language's compiler or interpreter for that matter, executing random third party code - but desktop installs are totally fine. It's not my favorite language or anything but if you're ruling out perfectly cromulent project tools just because of the security aspect, reconsider that. Java on the desktop isn't any more dangerous than .NET or Python or Ruby or anything else.
posted by zjacreman at 9:33 AM on September 26, 2013

I use Merlin and like it, but it may be Mac-only.
posted by primethyme at 9:45 AM on September 26, 2013
posted by oxit at 12:28 PM on September 26, 2013

Java on the desktop isn't any more dangerous than .NET or Python or Ruby or anything else.

The languages by themselves aren't the problem in most cases, it's the tendency of the installers and updaters for platforms like Java which offer browser integration and other web-based functionality to "help out" by re-configuring or re-enabling things you've shut off for security purposes. It's been common in my experience to suddenly notice that a Java applet is running in a web page even though I went to the trouble of tearing out or switching off all of the Java browser integration components and thought I was immune to web-based Java vulnerabilities, because some update reinstalled it all automatically.

But maybe another idea for the OP would be to run a Java application inside a lightweight Linux environment on VirtualBox or something like that, to avoid such shenanigans.
posted by XMLicious at 12:37 PM on September 26, 2013

it's the tendency of the installers and updaters for platforms like Java which offer browser integration and other web-based functionality to "help out" by re-configuring or re-enabling things

Oracle's JRE installer has become increasingly sketchy over time, but you could also just install OpenJDK. It's most of the same codebase and is binary-compatible AFAIK but doesn't come with that sleazy Oracle feeling. (Also you don't need to be an admin to install it.)

In-browser Java applets are a security hazard. Using the JRE to run desktop apps isn't; that's cargo-cultism.
posted by Kadin2048 at 1:28 PM on September 26, 2013 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Thanks for the responses so far. Will look more closely when in not in transit.

Re Java: thanks for additional detail re what could / couldn't be a security issue. But it's the suck factor and the additional damn decisions about what flavor to get, how to install it, and how and when to upgrade that make me HATE the thought of opening that can of worms.

I just want a lightweight program that will let me list tasks, link them, assign them to resources, and produce a highly useful Gantt chart. Windows favored, Mac solutions will do if they're really good.

I am actually this close to jury rigging an install of MS Project 98, which I already know how to use. That is how exhausted I am from 6 weeks of clashing deadlines.

Will give more feedback in a day or so when I have a chance to look at suggestions.
posted by maudlin at 2:04 PM on September 26, 2013

Not to derail but using Ninite's installers is generally the best way to avoid toolbars and nonsense when using the Oracle installer. OpenJDK is compatible at the JVM level and mostly compatible in the class library but last I checked it had a weird version of Web Start.

maudlin, Java is really a great option for writing and deploying solid cross-platform apps. If the developers do well, the suck factor should be minimal. If they don't, well, cross them off your list anyway regardless of why :) As far as flavor, just use Ninite, install everything you like, rerun the installer whenever you hear of an update or weekly... life will be better.

Sadly I don't have a suggestion directly, just suggesting if you found one that met your requirements otherwise I wouldn't let the implementation details throw you.
posted by vsync at 2:13 PM on September 26, 2013

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