Time Tracking for Linux

Time Tracking for Linux

It has never been easier to create and grow startups than it is today. One of the main reasons – the Internet makes it so easy to leverage talent from across the globe. You are no longer limited to local talent – the kind you can squeeze into an actual physical office.

And let’s face it, not all startups can afford office space when they’re just starting out. All in all, being able to contract workers over the globe is proving to have a lot of advantages.

There are some hidden disadvantages to hiring contractors however

It’s hard enough making sure your office workers are being productive. How are you going to achieve this with someone working in their pajamas at home, halfway across the globe?

If you think about it, both sides are looking for a fair arrangement. The worker doesn’t actually desire to be less productive, they simply want to be paid fairly. The employer doesn’t want to “exploit” the worker, they just want to make sure the worker is being reasonably productive.

What if there was a way to benefit both sides by boosting worker productivity while ensuring the worker gets paid fairly for the actual work done.

With time-tracking software, the manager gets insight into the working patterns of the employee, and this gives them leverage in coaching the worker on productivity. At the same time, the fact that the work is quantified in actual working hours – ensures that the worker feels they are paid a fair wage.

“Not all software is created equal, and this is true with time tracking for Linux as well”

Some options are nothing more than glorified timers, while others are full-on project management suites. Some trackers offer limited support in terms of operating systems, while others work across all platforms.  You have to do your research and decide which one is right for your organization.

linux time trackingLinux poses some unique challenges

If you employ freelancers and contractors that use Linux-based computers, you have one additional challenge. Even though Linux is well respected and boasts some 70 million users, software choice is somewhat limited. The same lack of choice is apparent when looking at time-trackers for Linux.

Hubstaff – a professional time tracking service for professionals

Hubstaff offers free software that covers all the major operating systems, and further …it actually covers every major Linux distribution. Hubstaff shamelessly has decided to introduce a fully cross-platform solution that allows all of your workers to work together regardless of what operating system they have at home.

When using Hubstaff for the first time, employees will see that they are required to install and run a simple tool that will only take a few minutes of their time. For employees, the workday starts off by hitting the start button.

Then, the employees minimize the window to the system tray and they never have to look at it while they work. The software will collect every important bit of data without interrupting the employees’ work.

The software bundle runs in the background until the user explicitly exposes it, otherwise, it sits in the background tracking time and taking discrete screenshots.  Such an intuitive and unobtrusive light design makes it a joy to use for workers.

To ensure that the software remains optimally secure, safe and fast – Hubstaff releases regular auto-updates and patches and tests every release on every major Linux Distro. In fact, Hubstaff software is natively compatible with, and thoroughly tested on every major Linux distribution

        Arch Linux         CentOS 6        Debian 6+        Fedora 16 >
            Magia     OpenSuse 12+         Redhat 6      Ubuntu 10.04 >

If your Linux workers are used to using cumbersome and bloated software packages or manual time entry – they will surely appreciate this refreshing change.

Make full use of the Hubstaff service

The Hubstaff software installation was designed to be used in combination with the Hubstaff website. In fact, the only thing the software does is collect data about the employees’ activity.

The moment that data is stored on the website, you as the employer, can use it to get see and manage all the reports, graphs, logs, screenshots, and trends on as many projects and workers as you wish.

Hubstaff Dashboard - Time Tracking for Linux

Hubstaff Dashboard for Tracking Time in Linux.

 The dashboard represents all activity in visual statistics-driven manner

Online-based services are the future

In our opinion, the service-based approach to time-tracking makes a lot more sense today as it offers many opportunities that stand-alone desktop software simply cannot. The future potential is stunning as well, what with APIs, integration with third-party services, mobile apps and more. Only the sky is the limit in terms of flexibility

You can literally have a team where some of your workers are Linux-based, others are Windows based, and then others yet are Mac-based. And you get to manage all of them from the same dashboard, using the same service and the same methodology and protocol.

If that weren’t enough Hubstaff is literally risk-free as the software is free with any plan, and they offer a free-forever plan that includes tracking a single worker. If you want to expand from there, you can move to the paid team-management plans which let you automatically payroll based on the hours logged.

Enter Klok, a time tracking app for those on Linux

Klok offers both free and paid versions and can be installed on most Linux Distros. While Klok was initially developed with Windows in mind, it happens to be an adobe air application. This means that as long as you have Adobe Air installed, you can use it. Not all Linux distros support Air however, so this can be an issue.

Klok - Time Tracking For Linux

Klok Dashboard

If you are still willing to give Klok a try, you get a decent time tracking tool that will meet most of your needs. However, there are a few issues with Klok, even at first glance:

  • Demanding Adobe Air as a prerequisite for time tracking is a put off for most Linux users.Most Linux users agree that software shouldn’t depend on intermediaries, such as Adobe Air, it should work straight out of the box. In that sense, Klok is not a Linux program, merely a program that can be run in Linux under certain circumstances.
  • No cloud services whatsoever. All the data is stored locally on the user’s computer and there is no way to sync data between different computers, let alone access it on the go.

  • Many unpolished, incomplete and buggy features

Realistically, Klok only makes sense for a small time freelancer that wants to track his or her own time when they want to bill employers. If you are an organization or employer that needs to manage and oversee different workers, Klok is far from optimal. You would have to ask each Klok-based worker to send in reports manually.

Hamster is more suitable for Linux “Purists”

Hamster is a Linux-only program that has been developed strictly for, and by the Linux community. It operates flawlessly as time tracking software and it offers most everything that a worker might need. It adheres to general Linux design protocols – It’s simple, straightforward and allows the user complete control over every aspect.

This, however, can also be considered somewhat of a flaw. Managing and organizing your time-tracking takes a lot longer than in other time trackers, as you have to do most things manually.

Hamster - Time Tracking for Linux

Hamster Dashboard

Linux users are, by default, used to doing more work than users of other operating systems. That is the price of full control. However, when buying and using time tracking software, one expects a tool that doesn’t actually waste time. To that end, Hamster will not do.

Services as an alternative Linux option

The main problem with Klok and Hamster is that apart from the time tracking tools, they do not offer any additional features, extras or services.

To make things worse, you have to pay a license for each installation, so the more Linux-based workers you have, the more expensive it gets. This is why most successful businesses and corporations prefer using time tracking services.

Such services introduce a platform through which employers can track, bill and pay their employees from a single dashboard, and all data is kept safe and synchronized in the cloud. This makes time tracking services the primary choice for any serious organization these days.

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