About bif

Bif is a distributed topic tracker with a command-line interface. It tracks bugs, tasks and issues in a local database. Updates are exchanged with "hub" databases on demand. The tool has several features of interest to distributed project teams:

Offline Operation
Many bif actions work offline; you can create and update tasks and issues while disconnected from the network.
Federated Cooperation
A topic in bif can be tracked by multiple projects, reflecting real-world organisational dependencies.
Timesheet Management
Bif has built-in time-tracking for those who need to accurately report their project efforts.

Bif should run on any system that supports Perl and SQLite. The primary source of bif information and news is https://bifax.org.

Who is bif for?

Bif could work for you if the following statements resonate:

Bif is typically useful for software development teams and other distributed project organisations.

What problems does bif attempt to address?

In addition to the generic problems facing every project organisation, bif aims to answer the following specific challenges:

Uncertain network connectivity
It is a difficult task to maintain good communication and status tracking within a distributed project when the data network is an unreliable or expensive resource. Efficiency and productivity are improved with a local tool.
External dependencies
Projects can experience time and cost difficulties when they have external dependencies. Keeping track of the status in someone else's issue tracking system is a thankless, manual process. If you can't find the resources to do so then the lack of coordination leads to duplication of effort, delays, or important issues falling through the cracks.
Command-line/browser context-switching
It takes a certain amount of effort to get your mind fully into a good edit/compile/test cycle. Switching contexts to record your progress in a browser is a painful and inefficient way to break up your day. You would be better off going for a walk.

Software Status

Although functional, bif is still under active development. Documentation and tests are incomplete, and the database schema changes regularly. DO NOT USE BIF FOR REAL DATA! We are actively seeking contributors. See below for how you can help.


Pre-Compiled Binaries

Before building bif from source you might see if there is a pre-compiled binary for your system at https://bifax.org/bif/download/:

$ DIST=bif-0.1.15_8-$(gcc -dumpmachine)
$ wget https://bifax.org/bif/download/$DIST.tar.gz && \
  tar zxf $DIST.tar.gz && \
  cd $DIST && \
  sudo make install

Building From Source

Bif is a Perl wrapper around an SQLite database, and depends on several packages from the Comprehensive Perl Archive Network (CPAN).

If you already have Perl and a C compiler available you can install bif and its dependencies system-wide with the cpanm tool:

# Install cpanm
$ curl -L https://cpanmin.us | perl - --sudo App::cpanminus

# Install bif using cpanm
$ sudo cpanm App::bif


The bif-doc-intro document contains an easy introduction to bif. The main entry point for reference documentation is the bif manual which you can read with man bif or perldoc bif. You can also browse the documentation table of contents at https://bifax.org/bif/doc/.


The main support channel for bif is via email. Subscribe via http://www.freelists.org/list/bif-devel and then send your message to <bif-devel@freelists.org>. See bif-doc-support for more details and alternatives.

If an issue is accepted by the development team it is tracked via ... [doesn't exist yet]


Development is centered around the "dev" branch of the git repository at git://bifax.org/bif.git/ with communication via the development mailing list. The bif-doc-dev document contains detailed information on how to set things up and hack on bif.


You do not have to be a developer to contribute to bif! It is arguable that many key aspects of successful open source projects have more to do with the community and non-development contributions than technical skills.

What long-term project members lose relatively quickly are those fresh eyes and first impressions that easily identify missing, broken and unexplained things. Therefore feedback from first-time users, both positive and negative, is extremely valuable. Please get in touch!

Otherwise some help would be appreciated for practically anything:


Bif is free software: you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation, either version 3 of the License, or (at your option) any later version.

This program, and all material accompanying it, is distributed in the hope that it will be useful, but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. See the GNU General Public License for more details.


Bif was started by Mark Lawrence <nomad@null.net>. Other contributions are listed in bif-doc-changelog.