Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the lights on at MakeUseOf. Read more.
If the title made you think of Evernote, I don’t blame you. It’s a great tool which is capable of a lot, plus it syncs with whatever devices it can run on. However, Evernote is still a proprietary tool, and some Linux users may not wish to use it simply because of this reason. It’s also possible that they don’t want all of their notes stored on a different server, where they don’t own their data.
Linux users who are in this predicament will preferably need a native tool which stores all notes locally, all while being very functional and flexible.
About Tomboy Notes
Tomboy Notes is a native Linux application which uses the Mono framework which allows you to take notes and keep track of them. It includes some very useful features which give it a “wiki” style, as well as other usual tools which help you distinguish between different types of information within a note. For those who are concerned about the Mono framework and the possible patent infringements hovering around it, one may also take a look at using Gnote. It’s identical in look and functionality, as it is merely a C++ port of Tomboy Notes.
While Gnote doesn’t depend on Mono, it does lag slightly behind Tomboy as it ports new features after they are released with Tomboy.
When you first start with Tomboy, you’ll be presented with the main screen – which contains a list of some sample notes – as well as an open note, titled “Start Here“. This special note welcomes you to Tomboy and introduces to you some of the important unique features in the program – links. These aren’t just any regular old website links – they’re links between different notes. Each time you type out the name of a note while writing in another, the entire name automatically turns into a link. Clicking on this link will open up the note with the same title.
Another neat trick – say you have a note called “School Homework“. You have a link to “School Homework” in a number of other notes. If you suddenly change the title of “School Homework” to something else such as “Unfinished Homework”, all of the links in the other notes will change names as well.
While writing notes, you can do whatever your heart desires to organize the information. You can make lists with bullets, highlight certain words or phrases, underline/italicize/bold parts of the note, make them larger or smaller, create new notes by using the wiki-style “ThisIsANote” (when the correct preference is enabled), find items within a note, and much more. Printing a note and exporting it to HTML is available as well.
You can also create notebooks and assign notes to them. These are similar to categories, and make it easier to find notes that have to do with a particular subject.
There’s a wealth of information which can be changed in the preferences. For example, you can enable/disable spell check, automatically create lists with bullets, edit the new note template, use a custom font, customize hotkeys, enable synchronization with your favorite location in case you do actually like such functionality (including Ubuntu One if you’re using Ubuntu), and enable add-ins which can add extra functionality such as automatic daily notes of which you can change the template as well.
To install the application, simply search through your favorite package manager for tomboy or gnote, whichever you’d prefer the most. Ubuntu users can also install the program using
sudo apt-get install tomboy, while Fedora users can issue the command
sudo yum install tomboy. For installation of Gnote, simply replace “tomboy” with “gnote”.
This application is great for my rather busy life, as I’m balancing social life, work, and college classes all at the same time. Tomboy is great at working with me, and doesn’t get in the way. It’s a highly recommendable way to stay organized using just one simple application. If you need to keep notes or have a place to keep track of what still needs to be accomplished, give Tomboy a try!
What’s your favorite note-taking application? What’s your most favorite feature and why is it important to you? Let us know in the comments!