Managing appointments and contacts with Osmo


© Alvin Teo, Fotolia

© Alvin Teo, Fotolia

Article from Issue 101/2009

Thanks to its compact interface, the Osmo PIM application is perfect for small screens. We help you make the most of Osmo.

Osmo [1] is a simple tool for managing appointments, contacts, and notes. The Osmo personal information manager, which is based on the Gtk+ toolkit, is designed to run easily on systems with restricted screen space. Versions are currently available for desktop systems as well as Internet tablets. I tried out the September 2008 Osmo 0.2.4 release on a desktop computer with Mandriva 2009.0 and an IdeaPad S10e running Ubuntu 8.10.


To launch the program, type osmo & in a terminal emulator (Figure 1). On startup, Osmo tucks into the system tray in your panel, where it is easily accessible. When you mouse over the icon in the tray, Osmo will show you that day's appointments as a tooltip.

Figure 1: Osmo combines standard calendaring functions with a compact interface.

If you just want to check the calendar, pass the --calendar option when you launch Osmo to open the calendar view only. Another interesting start option is --tinygui, which tells Osmo to scale down so that it fits a small screen.

An online help function is on the developer's roadmap but is not available yet. When launched, the tidy Osmo interface shows the current month in the Calendar view. Tasks, contacts, notes, and program options are available through various tabs. Osmo also supports keyboard-only controls. For an overview of keyboard shortcuts, look at Keyboard shortcuts in the Options module.


The calendar highlights the current day's date in the month view, and the arrow keys in the toolbar let you browse by day, month, or year. Below the calendar, Osmo shows the time of day, week number, and day of the year. The current date is highlighted with a circle. Days with defined appointments show a single quote mark beside their number.

More Modules

Osmo displays tasks, notes, and contacts in a list format. To add a new note, click the Notes tab on the right then the green plus (+) icon in the toolbar. The program prompts you to enter a heading and choose a category for the note.

Osmo encrypts notes for protection against shoulder surfers. When you create a note, the software prompts you for a password and then displays a field at the bottom of the program window in which you can enter the text (Figure 2). The application also has simple formatting tools for bold, italic, and underlined text.

Figure 2: The note editor offers simple formatting tools.

To enter tasks for the day, use the text box below the task list. Osmo does not support multi-day tasks. To structure your task notes, the program displays a timeline in the text field of the Tasks module (Figure 3). In addition to assigning a title, you can set a deadline for each task, and Osmo can remind you before the deadline expires.

Figure 3: Osmo manages tasks on a day-by-day basis only.

Osmo has the standard data fields for managing private and business contacts (Figure 4). The list view gives you the option of sorting your contacts by various criteria.

Figure 4: Osmo offers the standard contact management functions.

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