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Author Topic: Let's Fork The Thread! Linux Notetaking Thread!  (Read 19423 times)
tinjaw
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« on: June 18, 2009, 10:38:56 AM »

Fork

I now find myself in uncharted territory. I need to find an uberapp to keep my notes in while working on Linux boxen. I shall begin my quest with a Google search.

In the mean time, please talk amongst yourselves.
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40hz
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« Reply #1 on: June 18, 2009, 12:11:52 PM »

I use BasKet. ( http://basket.kde.org )

There's a bit a learning curve if you plan to take advantage of its full feature set (which I don't BTW!). It's far from being perfect. But IMHO it's the best of what's out there for NIX. Even worth it if you're not running KDE as your primary desktop.

There's a quick review of Basket and four other note taking apps over at LinuxFormat Magazine. Read it here: www.tuxradar.com/content/group-test-note-takers

TreePad also has its Lite version available for Linux ( www.treepad.com/linux/treepadlite/ ). This might be the first thing you'll want to test if you're one of TP's many users over on the Windows platform. I keep meaning to give it a try, but I haven't gotten around to doing it yet.

If you want a nice quick & dirty outline/note app that gets the job done without too many frills, take a look at TuxCards. ( www.tuxcards.de ) The name says it all.

Note: TuxCards isn't found in most mainstream distro repositories, so you'll probably need to compile it for your machine.



Just my 2ΒΆ  smiley


« Last Edit: June 18, 2009, 12:23:47 PM by 40hz » Logged

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housetier
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« Reply #2 on: June 18, 2009, 01:39:12 PM »

I use "Pen & Paper" for various reasons: it works when the computer is turned off, you can add notes offline as well as online, it has 100% accurate handwriting recognition and can easily be used by multiple users. It even supports a limited history feature: you can still read old but x-ed out notes.

Oh yeah, and pen & paper lets you add freeform graphics, but no moving or audible media. The storage format is open and well-known (for I dont know how many centuries). The backend is compatible with any input device, there cannot be a driver conflict.

On the other hand, Pen & Paper is not free.
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TucknDar
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« Reply #3 on: June 18, 2009, 01:51:49 PM »

it has 100% accurate handwriting recognition and can easily be used by multiple users
Strange, my version of pen&paper only has about 85% accurate handwriting recognitiion, and while I've tried it with multiple users, there seems to be some problems with their recognition engines embarassed
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steeladept
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« Reply #4 on: June 18, 2009, 01:56:37 PM »

WOW, TreePad looks really, really cool!  Once I setup my computer room and have more time to test (ha.  Fat chance with a two year-old and three year-old, but I can dream Grin), I think I will install this and check it out.  It might be perfect for my upcoming doctoral studies.
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steeladept
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« Reply #5 on: June 18, 2009, 01:57:07 PM »

it has 100% accurate handwriting recognition and can easily be used by multiple users
Strange, my version of pen&paper only has about 85% accurate handwriting recognitiion, and while I've tried it with multiple users, there seems to be some problems with their recognition engines embarassed

LOL Grin Grin Grin
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tinjaw
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« Reply #6 on: June 18, 2009, 02:05:59 PM »

Google found me Zim, but I checked out BasKet and that looks nicer. I think I will start with that. (Side note, I wish I would have gone with kubuntu instead of ubuntu.)
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Edvard
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« Reply #7 on: June 18, 2009, 02:06:53 PM »

I use "Pen & Paper" for various reasons: it works when the computer is turned off, you can add notes offline as well as online, it has 100% accurate handwriting recognition and can easily be used by multiple users. It even supports a limited history feature: you can still read old but x-ed out notes.

Oh yeah, and pen & paper lets you add freeform graphics, but no moving or audible media. The storage format is open and well-known (for I dont know how many centuries). The backend is compatible with any input device, there cannot be a driver conflict.

On the other hand, Pen & Paper is not free.
Grin Grin Grin

Seriously, the one time  I have needed a note-taking app, I found NoteCase to be more than adequate.
I use Xubuntu and so I get a cringe-y feeling whenever I have to install anything that depends too much on Gnome or KDE libs, so BasKet would not be tops on my list, however feature-rich it may be.
Tomboy depends on Mono, so that one's a DEFINITE out.
TreePad has always seemed like something I might like if I had money to spend on software.
I haven't felt a need to try anything else
 two cents
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40hz
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« Reply #8 on: June 18, 2009, 04:20:02 PM »

Seriously, the one time  I have needed a note-taking app, I found NoteCase to be more than adequate.
I use Xubuntu and so I get a cringe-y feeling whenever I have to install anything that depends too much on Gnome or KDE libs

Edvard raises an excellent point..

 It's not always a great idea to mix apps from different desktops. KDE and Gnome apps can usually (usually mind you!) peacefully co-exist with very few problems. As long as the app in question can be found in one of your distro's main repositories, you'll seldom encounter a problem.

However, if you're running one of the lighter desktops, installing a KDE or Gnome app can very well cause major headaches. And even if the app doesn't break anything else, you'll almost always wind up dragging a huge number of software dependencies along with it. Not a pretty sight. Especially if Synaptic decides it needs to install something like the entire Gnome or KDE desktop (along with a dozen additional libraries) just to get some little 200K app to run!

Rule of thumb: If you decide to go "off the reservation" for an app - and your package manager reports something like: 410 Mb to be downloaded for a total of 1647 new packages...  - then do yourself a big favor and just hit the CANCEL button.

Also think in terms of what hardware you have.
I run an Xfce desktop on my laptop! (Did I say that right?). Toshi's getting on in the years, and doesn't really have the oomph to run Gnome or KDE. So NoteCase would be a much better choice for my old Toshiba.

 smiley

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Stoic Joker
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« Reply #9 on: June 19, 2009, 06:17:23 AM »

I use "Pen & Paper" for various reasons: it works when the computer is turned off, you can add notes offline as well as online, it has 100% accurate handwriting recognition and can easily be used by multiple users. It even supports a limited history feature: you can still read old but x-ed out notes.

Oh yeah, and pen & paper lets you add freeform graphics, but no moving or audible media. The storage format is open and well-known (for I dont know how many centuries). The backend is compatible with any input device, there cannot be a driver conflict.

On the other hand, Pen & Paper is not free.

I'd like to 2nd this vote, as it's something I also do. ...and given that my handwriting is atrocious, I also consider my notes to be "encrypted" ... because when I write in a hurry nobody (else) can read them.
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urlwolf
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« Reply #10 on: August 10, 2009, 07:55:26 PM »

ok, I found a solution to break free of onenote and thus windows smiley
rightnote is good enough. It should run on wine fine (note: I haven't tried yet)

here's a quick rundown:

rightNote
positive

  • can edit/search an External file (example html); this is killer for sharing
  • portable; stuff inside a sqlite db
  • search is fast
  • has excel-like tables
  • code highlighters
  • makes a line break like jedit smiley
  • better visibility
  • can bold, tag the notes
  • icons
  • wrap note title

negative
  • no "print to onenote", no good for filling pdfs
  • no in-line sums (but google does that) also one can create a spreadsheet table
  • no different notebooks
  • could be abandoned
  • no folding
  • no roundTrip export/import. Loses indentation, headings
  • not very fast creating a table

Everything stored in a sqlite db, so push comes to shove, you can retrieve your notes brute-force. No more vendor lock-in.
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iphigenie
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« Reply #11 on: August 11, 2009, 04:28:52 AM »

I am looking for a better solution, at the moment I use... opera notes  tongue

The good things about opera notes
- sync across machines and OSes
- if added from a web selection, remembers the original location link
- live search as you type
- exports to xml and other formats

The missing bits about opera notes
- no rich text or structured format
- no code highlighters, icons

In firefox there's evernote, ubernote and a few others - including one that integrate with linux native sticky notes apps (have to go on linux to get the names, the laptop is upstairs will edit)

Note: I too go for lightweight desktop / window managers solutions whenever I am given the choice, openbox+lxde at the moment but experimenting with a tiling window manager to see if it helps with staying focused

« Last Edit: August 11, 2009, 04:38:17 AM by iphigenie » Logged
urlwolf
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« Reply #12 on: August 12, 2009, 08:23:54 AM »

ok after tesing under wine and crossover, rightnote is not a good solution.
It doesn't keep formatting when copying from the web, nor the url the snippet came from.

Anything that works on linux for web snippets and has a good search?
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urlwolf
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« Reply #13 on: August 14, 2009, 05:37:54 AM »

I'm reading the forums here:
http://www.outlinersoftware.com/topics/tlist/608
(nice resource)

Looks like lots of companies making outliners are going out of business (e.g., Ultrarecall), partly because Microsoft entered the scene with oneNote and pretty much outclassed everyone (!). Others reacted by increasing prices (e.g., surfulater) or cutting them down (TexNotes)... There are some interesting developments (zoot coming back with version 6, connectedText, etc) but things look bad.

This is a pity. There is lots of talent in this subclass, I'd hate to see innovation die.

Under linux, the situation is even worse. Nothing comes close to a working solution for me. This sentiment is echoed in those forums. So after spending 2 days seaching for substitutes, I'm sticking with onenote and forgoing the possibility of something portable and open. If it's difficult to surviving in the (commercial) windows world, chances of a strong linux app are smaller even. BasKet had no main developer for more than a year, and just recently picked up speed (still, light years behind onenote, and several design decisions make it not useful for me, e.g. one has to click to start a note, no tab indentation etc).
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urlwolf
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« Reply #14 on: August 14, 2009, 06:26:49 AM »

more on the dead of outlining software:

Quote
The two main causes of the death of PIMs are,
1) Incompatibility with new operating systems and the failure of developers to update their PIMs to operate in the new OS, and
2) Complete discontinuance of development of a PIM.

My discussion here is limited to PIMs used for information, collection, storage and retrieval, as opposed to those, such as single-pane outliners, used for authoring.

If one uses a PIM only for short-term projects, the obsoleting of a PIM may not be critical, although there will be the aggravation of finding and learning to use a replacement PIM.

But for long term use, the possibility of PIM death can be devastating, unless the PIM has the capability to export its stored information into files using standard formats such as rtf, html and jpg.  Even with this capability, such exporting can be an exceedingly long-term, tedious task, UNLESS the PIM has a batch export capability, or one can use a macro program to create the equivalent of batch export.

Is there, or could there be, an alternative approach?

What about saving information in standard file formats and using other tools to simulate PIM capabilities?  (This would enable cross-platform compatibility.)
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urlwolf
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« Reply #15 on: August 15, 2009, 11:04:24 AM »

Who here would be interested in bundling together a nice donation for some OSS author to either develop a good notetaker for linux or bring new features of the existing ones? We'd need to agree on which project to support, if we do the latter.
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iphigenie
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« Reply #16 on: August 16, 2009, 03:55:19 AM »

i am about to ruin some of your Sunday  Cry

Here are some other tools I have in my diigo bookmark collection (mostly comes from watching icewalkers and freshmeat for years and bookmarking what looks interesting or original)

- there are several emacs based options, wont mention those for now. I will mention vimoutliner http://www.vimoutliner.org/

- i didnt see anyone mention tomboy. it is very simple but it does have the menu integration and there are iirc a firefox extension and an emacs integration. worth a look?

all right, my list:

research assistant - clearly aimed at onenote - http://sourceforge.net/projects/rassistant/
treeline http://treeline.bellz.org/feature.html - not tried, seems a competent outliner style product
tobu http://tobu.lightbird.net/ freeform note organiser (wxpython)
treesheets http://treesheets.com/ - tries to combine wiki linking with onenote-style 2D content box organising
chandler - much discussed - http://chandlerproject.org/ - pim with strong opinions on information management
compendium - topic map and idea organizer from the open university - http://compendium.open.ac.uk/institute/ (not tried the linux one, but on windows the beta is cooler than the release)
mindraider - notes and mindmaps - http://mindraider.sourceforge.net/
gjot - jotter - http://bhepple.freeshell.org/gjots/ (gtk)
tobu - pim http://tobu.lightbird.net/
luminotes - wiki outliner - http://luminotes.com/ desktop+web
tellico - cataloguing apps, but works for bibliographical notes and free text http://tellico-project.org/
storybook - focused on novel writing - http://storybook.intertec.ch/joomla/
celtx - multimedia, focused on preproduction - http://www.celtx.com/features.html

more technical but with powerful note/information features:

leo - leo is a programmers editor but it has an outliner and pim mode http://sourceforge.net/projects/leo/
lyx - lyx is a latex working env. but it has templates/moders for a lot of writing preparation/organisation which works for gathering project related bits - http://www.lyx.org/Features
« Last Edit: August 16, 2009, 03:57:18 AM by iphigenie » Logged
urlwolf
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« Reply #17 on: August 16, 2009, 05:51:25 AM »

Thanks iphigenie!
Killer list!

Text-only PIMs like vimoutliner are out, I started with this in 2006 and soon realized I need more than plain text.

Surprisingly enough, none of the tools would work for me, even remotely.
Here are my requirements:
  • Keeps indentation, Main text area must be an outliner in itself (discards: scrivener)
  • Table support, basic formatting (bold, headings)
  • History (back to previous edit location, like a browser, or ctrl+o in vim)
  • Does not need much mousing to start notes (discards: basket, treenotes)
  • Search must be useful (all notes, highlight all matches). Discards most apps (!)
  • Paste html keeps formatting, url location. Discards most apps (!), none keep the url location but onenote and rightnotes. This should be easy to implement
  • Import/export keeping most formatting. Prevents lock-in. (discards: onenote)
  • Copy/paste to a word processor keeping most formatting (discards: lyX, although no big deal)
  • Deals with images by just pasting them
  • Good overview and moving items around
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iphigenie
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« Reply #18 on: August 16, 2009, 05:57:44 AM »

thinking about it on a unix-modular way:

- the search bit is easy to fix on linux with something like Beagle
- some of the wysiwyg options are also easy to fix, a few of those tools allow a change of view/edit modules

paste html is a good question: when you copy html on linux, does any URL information get put in the clip memory. I know it does on windows, but I dont think it does on linux. You will need a tool that has a "right click to..." function for that. But there is always a way to chain it, i.e. have a tool that does that, even if it does not have all your features, and have the organiser/searcher tool take the data afterwards (auto import)
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urlwolf
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« Reply #19 on: August 16, 2009, 06:52:36 AM »

Quote
paste html is a good question: when you copy html on linux, does any URL information get put in the clip memory. I know it does on windows, but I dont think it does on linux. You will need a tool that has a "right click to..." function for that. But there is always a way to chain it, i.e. have a tool that does that, even if it does not have all your features, and have the organiser/searcher tool take the data afterwards (auto import)

Ah! that's really good information. If no url is kept, then no wonder tools don't do this.
using beagle is a solution, yes. A bit convoluted (one could use ack on the command line too, but it would break the flow of writing).

For a thinking tool like a notetaker, breaking the flow into small specialist pieces (the unix way) is not a good solution (for me!). I'm easily distracted already smiley

Keep the good ideas coming!
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Armando
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« Reply #20 on: August 16, 2009, 12:01:07 PM »

Who here would be interested in bundling together a nice donation for some OSS author to either develop a good notetaker for linux or bring new features of the existing ones? We'd need to agree on which project to support, if we do the latter.

One possibility would also be to support a specific notetaker's Wine compatibility. Not only would it help Wine's development (maybe...), but it would would also make an already good notetaker multiplatform, so to speak.
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iphigenie
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« Reply #21 on: August 16, 2009, 03:16:40 PM »

I am certainly considering splitting activities

1. there is the capturing information part - i cant rely on bookmarks or bookmarking/snipping sites, after all content disappears off the web every day, and as per "snippet" sites they might get bought, hacked, bankrupted without notice. Need local copies, of the bits I am interested in, with link to source. Something like the opera "save note" but now and then with the occasional formatting or image. And it all needs to export or be stored in a standard format

2. there is the organising and writing for thinking - ideally this is in the same tool as above because all the snippets can be part of the process, but I can live with it being separate if no tool does both well.
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« Reply #22 on: August 16, 2009, 03:36:53 PM »

I'd agree with iphigenie's approach.

It's nice to have everything integrated, but it's very possible (without it having an impact on workflow) to have:

1- tools to capture/gather info (doesn't matter if there's only one or several software, as these usually change, get abandoned, etc. with time anyways. I use InfoQube, but not exclusively)

2- one or two tool to organize the gathered info (could be using a database, or using other custom means, tightly integrated with the filesystem -- I use InfoQube, windows only at the moment, plus a custom bullet proof naming scheme)

3- one or two tool to quickly search and filter info (a desktop search tool -- like beagle --, and something that's more a grep/locate/everything etc. tool.)
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« Reply #23 on: August 16, 2009, 03:43:50 PM »

One possibility would also be to support a specific notetaker's Wine compatibility. Not only would it help Wine's development (maybe...), but it would would also make an already good notetaker multiplatform, so to speak.

The problem with wine is that copy-pasting from a linux browser to a wine app will lose all formatting (and the url of course according to Iphi's findings).

This is a show stopper for me.

We are now 3 guys/gals. If we could up our numbers to say 10 people, we could ask a dev to implement some features (and donate a good chunk, or buy 10 licenses).

I'd be more inclined to go for a simple, solid code-base that can grow fast and accommodate our features. A linux tool in say qt is easy to port to windows. Basket is way too big, and some design decisions are really mouse-oriented. I'd say tuxnotes (if the codebase is strong) has good potential. It's a no-frills app, but it keeps web snippet formatting really well. Not sure how active/available the developer is.
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« Reply #24 on: August 17, 2009, 11:23:23 AM »

The problem with wine is that copy-pasting from a linux browser to a wine app will lose all formatting (and the url of course according to Iphi's findings).

would this be also true of a firefox clipping plugin ? I'm asking because InfoQube has a firefox web clipping plugin.
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