I have a very deal of trouble filtering visual information and so have problems working with lists, digital or analog. When I realized that the inherent visual nature of lists was the source of most of the anxiety I felt when working with the early versions of my productivity system, I switched to index cards.
For the most part, that set-up is lovely. Each "list" is a stack of cards and the card (usually a task) I'm working goes on top, with the rest easily accessible but out of sight. The downsides are portability and searchability (or, rather, the lack thereof). It hasn't taken very many misfiled cards to give me doubts about the long-term viability of the method. There's not much in the way of back-ups, either.
So, what are the digital alternatives? They needn't be a literal interpretation; the key functionality is just having items grouped in collections, being able to view either a single item or the whole collection, and having an easy way to switch between the two views. I'd prefer a desktop solution, but will consider web applications. In either case, it needs to work on Linux.
(Just to head off what is likely to be the first suggestion: I know about Trello and am considering it. It looks lovely and Fog Creek is trustworthy enough overcome my suspicion of web apps. However, I did want to still check for a desktop option and it's good to have backup options.)