Thursday, April 21, 2011

Notes on notes

I've been looking for many years for a good note-taking application. While still on Windows, I used (and paid for) ClipCache, which was perfect. I've not found anything that meets my needs as well, yet, in the FOSS world.

I used Basket for a long while, until an update lost all my stored notes! My efforts to restore them were futile. Now Basket is no longer being developed, or I would give it another try. A student proposed making Baskets and Notes shareable as a GSoC project, however, no mentor could be found. So I've given up hope there.

I also tried out TuxNotes for awhile, but again, my notes were lost in an upgrade. This is just not acceptable. This project seems to be totally gone, or maybe I am remembering the name of the app incorrectly.

Big windup for my decision to download and install Tomboy, with the announcement of TomDroid, which I can use on my phone too. I really hated to download all that gnome/ubuntu/mono stuff to support it, but oh, well! I do have an UbuntuOne account, whether it works natively on Kubuntu or not (it does not). Now my notes will be available to me *everywhere*, which is what I want. AND, I'll never lose my notes again!

Sad update: UbuntuOne didn't work in Maverick, and it still doesn't work in Natty. Not even the ugly Gnome version. Le sigh.


  1. Valorie,
    A good note taking app is something I've struggled to find in Linux for a long time. I've used Microsoft OneNote for a very very long and still can't find an app to replace it.

  2. There's also Gnote, which is a port of Tomboy to C++, so it's an option if you're against Mono for any reason. I have no idea if it interoperates with TomDroid.

  3. You should take a look at Emacs Org Mode if you're into powerful, portable, fast note taking systems. With Dropbox and Mobile Org, it is really amazingly powerful. And it's all just plain text, which is perfect for editing or reading notes on systems that don't have Emacs.

  4. Comment fail -- deleted this one by mistake!

    Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Notes on notes":

    I use vim and the file system. What more could you possibly need? ;) I've never lost any data and it's completely portable.

  5. I do leave many notes to myself in Kate, which works well. But it is not a note app, and not enough. Of course I could share them with Dropbox or UbuntuOne as well, but that is much clumsier than I would like.

  6. I use mobislenotes on android that syncs with google docs and has a great interface but I cant find any good in linuxland.

  7. It is sad to hear that you lost all your notes! I also use Basket and it would be really a disaster to lost mine!

    I thought Basket was going to be integrated with Kontact. Maybe I also ought to give it up?

  8. Did you try:

  9. Replacement for MS OneNote would be KOffice-based Braindump which will maybe be included into the Calligra suite, not sure about the latter. But I tried it at some point at it was quite comparable with OneNote :)

  10. If Basket turns around, I will come back. I think I know more about backups now, for starters. :-)

  11. Basket is still under development, see:

  12. Why not consider an online solution such as or an open source clone of evernote called nevernote

  13. I use Zim ( which is excellent. The notes are stored in plaintext, and you can always sync them with the cloud by having the appropriate folder shared on Ubuntu One.

  14. You're scaring me, I know BasKet is buggy but that much?

    Otherwise, I have used KJots which is a little too simple, and the Notes widget as TODO list until I lost my ~/.kde4 folder... since then I prefer my personal online wiki and a piece of paper.

  15. I like OneNote, but don't like the lack of (as far as I can tell) any sort of tool to convert the data files into other formats. I considered writing one myself until I read the documentation on OneNote's data format...

    BasKet is what I normally use, although recently I cut a huge amount of text from one basket and went to paste it into another, but my clipboard was empty, there was no undo functionality, and BasKet already saved that I removed that text. And I keep my BasKet files in a folder on an external hard drive that at the time wasn't part of my daily back-ups with RSnapshot.

    My solution now (which wouldn't be for everybody) is Apache+Sqlite+MediaWiki, storing data in an SQLite database on the external drive (allowing offline access from my PC or my laptop; I don't need online access).

    MediaWiki works for me in place of BasKet because I used BasKet for notes on stories I write. For "normal" notes, it's KNotes.

    I do hope BasKet improves at least to the level of OneNote. I've looked at the code for it a bit, but it's a pretty large project and a bit intimidating for someone who struggles with C++!

  16. As tosky said, Basket is very much alive, and I'm using it heavily. The only major regression since the old days is that search across all notes is not functional.

  17. You could have a look to KeepNote (

    For myself, like "Chris Fritz", I have adopt a local wiki solution.

    I use DokuWiki ( to keep my notes.

    It is very surprising that web solution are more powerful that desktop one in this field, but it's the state of art in 2011.

  18. I'm using silence. It's a slower development paste but atm it does almost everything I need:


  20. I have also been using OneNote on Windows and was also searching for a long time until I setteled with a Linux software. It has already been mentioned twice: Zim (

    I would like to point out two things that you might like:
    What I used a lot in OneNote is the possibility of quickly inserting screen-clips. This also works with Zim with the Screenshot plugin (it's possbile to make a "clip" i.e. limiting the picture to a rectangle)

    One feature I have been missing with Zim that OneNote supports, was tags. I implemented it and it is included starting from Zim version 0.51 (see the Tag plugin).

    Although it's a PyGTK application, you should really give it a try. On my openSUSE it intergrates very well with the KDE look and feel.


  21. I personally settled on evernote. The web interface is pretty descent, but it also has an offline mode with two OSS clients:

  22. I like Notecase (the original, open source version), but I recently switched to Vim with the Outliner plugin.

    One thing that I really, really want in a note taking application is the ability to launch other applications or scripts. For instance 1 is reminders of tasks I have to manage frequently, like managing my account, with a link to launch my account spreadsheet in OpenOffice. For instance 2 is keeping some documentation of useful scripts that I have written alongside a link to launch them, like updating all the index files in my web pages and uploading them via FTP.

    Live links are also important to me in managing work projects, where I need my own reminders, comments and private notes that I don't want to keep within the deliverable documents.

    I don't like all the graphical layout and bubble-gum options in some of the newer outliners that add a mass of complexity without any real increase in productivity features - all I want is a hierachical outline that folds (and remembers folds).

  23. I use OpenSuse and I use Notebooks
    If you are using Kontact then install kde4-kjots
    This will give you Notebooks within Kontact
    Has formatting and links

    This is as good as I can find
    Been looking for 10 years