arbtt: Automatic Rule-Based Time Tracker

[ desktop, gpl, program ] [ Propose Tags ]

arbtt is a background daemon that stores which windows are open, which one has the focus and how long since your last action (and possbly more sources later), and stores this. It is also a program that will, based on expressive rules you specify, derive what you were doing, and what for.

WARNING: The log file might contain very sensitive private data. Make sure you understand the consequences of a full-time logger and be careful with this data.

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Versions [RSS] 0.1, 0.1.1, 0.1.2, 0.1.3, 0.1.4, 0.1.5, 0.2.0, 0.3.0, 0.4, 0.4.1, 0.4.2, 0.4.3, 0.4.4, 0.4.5,, 0.5, 0.6, 0.6.1, 0.6.2, 0.6.4,, 0.7, 0.8, 0.8.1,,,,, 0.9,,,,,,,,,,,,,, 0.10,,, 0.10.1, 0.10.2, 0.10.3, 0.10.4, 0.11, 0.11.1, 0.12,,,
Dependencies base (>=4.5 && <4.6), binary, bytestring, containers, deepseq, directory, filepath, mtl, old-locale, parsec (>=3 && <4), pcre-light, strict, time (>=1.4), unix, utf8-string, Win32, X11 (>1.4.4) [details]
License LicenseRef-GPL
Copyright Joachim Breitner 2009-2010
Author Joachim Breitner <>
Maintainer Joachim Breitner <>
Category Desktop
Home page
Source repo head: darcs get
Uploaded by JoachimBreitner at 2012-09-28T16:57:31Z
Distributions Arch:, Debian:0.10.2, NixOS:
Reverse Dependencies 1 direct, 0 indirect [details]
Executables arbtt-recover, arbtt-import, arbtt-dump, arbtt-stats, arbtt-capture
Downloads 42504 total (49 in the last 30 days)
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Status Docs not available [build log]
All reported builds failed as of 2016-12-24 [all 7 reports]

Readme for arbtt-0.6.4

[back to package description]
arbtt, the Automatic Rule-Based Time Tracker

© 2009 Joachim Breitner <>

The Automatic Rule-Based Time Tracker is a desktop daemon that runs in the
background and, every minute, records what windows are open on your
desktop, what their titles are, which one is active. The accompanied
statistics program lets you derive information from this log file, i.e.
what how much of your time have you been spending with e-Mail, or what
projects are your largest time wasters. The mapping from the raw window
titles to sensible „tags“ is done by a configuration file with an powerful


You can build and install this program as any other Cabalized program:
 $ runhaskell Setup.hs configure
 $ runhaskell Setup.hs build
 $ runhaskell Setup.hs install

You also need to make sure that arbtt-capture is started with your X
session. If you use GNOME or KDE, you can copy the file
"arbtt-capture.desktop" to ~/.config/autostart/. You might need to put the
full path to arbtt-capture in the Exec line there, if you did not do a
system wide installation.

If you want to record samples at a different rate than one per minute, you
will have to pass the "--sample-rate" parameter to arbtt-capture. 


Full documentation is now provided in the user manual in the doc/
directory. If you have the docbook xsl toolchain installed, you can
generate the HTML documentation by entering "make" in that directory.
Otherwise, you can use the online version at
Beware that this will also reflect the latest version.

Creating the Windows Installer

The file setup.iss contains an installer script for Inno Setup and can be used
to create the windows installer for arbtt. It can be used under wine. To build
arbtt under Windows, you need to install the Haskell Platform. Because the
Haskell Platform ships an older version of the w32api package from mingw, you
also need to download w32api-3.14-mingw32-dev.tar.gz and copy at least the files
include/psapi.h and lib/libpsapi.a over the files installed by the Haskell
Platform. For the pcre-light package, you need to install the pcre library.
Unless you run a German version of Windows, you’ll need to adjust the path to
the pcre3.dll file in setup.iss. Install Inno Setup. Create the documentation
(make -C doc) and configure arbtt with the --with-ISCC-flag:
$ wine runhaskell Setup.hs configure --with-ISCC='C:\Programme\Inno Setup 5\ISCC.exe'
again adjusting the path if you do not have a German version of Windows. This
will put the version name into setup.iss and create the output file as

Download links:


You are very welcome to help the developement of arbtt. You can find the
latest source at the darcs repository at

User and Developer discussion happens on the arbtt mailing list:
To subscribe to the list, visit:

Some of my plans or ideas include:

 * A graphical viewer that allows you to expore the tags in an appealing,
   interactive way. Possibly based on the Charts haskell library.
 * Looking forward and backwards in time when writing rules. (Information
   is already passed to the categorizing function, but not exposed to the
 * $total_idle time, which is the maximum idle time until it is reset. This
   would allow the user to catch the idle times more exactly.
 * Rules based on day of time, to create tags for worktime, weekend, late
   at night. (Partially done)
 * Storing the current timezone in the tags, for the prevoius entry to be
   more to be more useful.
 * Storing the hostname, in case a user has several. 
 * Statistics based on time, to visualize trends.
 * Possibly more data sources?

Any help cleaning, documenting or testing the current code is appreciated
as well.