Note Taking Apps For Linux

I have been trying out different tree note and wiki notes software for Linux. Below are several software programs with a blip taken from the home page of each. I included links to their home pages  if you wish to check one or all out. They are all in different forms of refinement and style depending on the authors intent. Some are simply a note dumping ground, others are wiki type, tree storage, and one or two may be all types. Most if not all should be in your Linux repository. If not they can be downloaded and installed.

gJots2 –  gjots2(1) is a simple jotter application for your desktop – an outline processor.

Tomboy – Tomboy is a desktop note-taking application for Linux, Unix, Windows, and Mac OS X. Simple and easy to use, but with potential to help you organize the ideas and information you deal with every day. Tomboy has a lot of plugins that may be useful for you.

Gnote – Gnote is a port of Tomboy to C++. It is the same note taking application, including most of the add-ins (more are to come). Synchronization support is being worked on.

Zim – Zim is a graphical text editor used to maintain a collection of wiki pages. Each page can contain links to other pages, simple formatting and images. Pages are stored in a folder structure, like in an outliner, and can have attachments. Creating a new page is as easy as linking to a nonexistent page. All data is stored in plain text files with wiki formatting. Various plugins provide additional functionality, like a task list manager, an equation editor, a tray icon, and support for version control.

Cherrytree – Cherrytree [is] a hierarchical note taking application, featuring rich text and syntax highlighting, storing data in a single xml or sqlite file. If you search on this blog you will find a more in depth previous article on cherrytree.

nvpy – nvpy [is a] Simplenote syncing note-taking application, inspired by Notational Velocity and ResophNotes, but uglier and cross-platformerer. If you search this blog you will find a more in depth previous article on nvpy.

TreePad for Linux, one of several tree note type software packages for Linux.

TreePad for Linux, one of several tree note type software packages for Linux.

Treepad – TreePad Lite for Linux is a freeware personal information manager designed specifically to run on Linux (PC and Raspberry Pi). It supports Unicode, is fully portable, and does not need to be installed.

Plume – Plume Creator helps you to write your stories in chapters and scenes, write fullscreen, edit notes and synopses, export in html and odt formats, edit in rich text, and manage characters, places and items.Are you a writer ? Plume Creator will help you with this hard task! This software gives you an outliner, a distraction-free mode, a note manager and much more!

Kabikaboo is a simple tree-branch note organizer. It is meant to be used to help aid in the writing of a novel. Users can plan out their story, plot, and characters. Created with Python, PyGTK, Geany, and Glade, on Ubuntu Linux.

I did not include KDE Basket notes which many people do use and enjoy, due to the additional programs I would need to run Basket Notes with XFCE. If you use KDE and Basket Notes is not installed you may wish to check the program out.

I gave most of these a test and settled on what works for me. I hope if you are in need of a notes program, one of the above work well for you.

Friendlier Debian Linux Discovered

If you have read any of my Linux posts, you know I am a fan of Debian and XFCE. I found a couple of Debian Distributions and each do better at bringing Debian to the Desktop than Debian itself. Both are based on Debian and use Debian repositories. Both make some modifications to Debian to enhance Debian and make it a more complete desktop experience.

Debian 8 screen shot

Debian 8 screenshot

Debian is not the most user friendly distribution. Nor is Debian recommended as a beginner Distribution. When using Debian, one is pretty much on their own when looking for answers. There excellent resources and references for Debian, but they are scattered and at times difficult to understand. Some of the material of course is outdated which complicates things. There is a Debian newsgroup, but it is stuffy and mostly unfriendly to beginner questions.

Basic Debian is pretty much basic upon install. Debian is boring and like it that way. Depending on your needs Debian is incomplete and will need you to install additional programs. You need to have some idea of what additional programs you want added.

What Debian does do in an outstanding manner is produce a small footprint, very fast OS. The system is not cluttered with junk you do not want or need. The blandness of Debian allows each user to create the system they want. What these two distributions do is take Debian from bland to outstanding.

The first Distribution I stumbled upon is from the Mepis folks, actually a subgroup of Mepis. The Debian modification they are putting out is called MX-15 based on Debian 8. The changes you are most likely to notice is a change in XFCE. They have upgraded XFCE and are using the version in Debian Testing. The next thing you will notice is MX-15 is complete both on the desktop or with the software.

Mepis MX-15 screenshot

Mepis MX-15 screenshot

MX-15 Linux makes other less obvious but enjoyable changes to the main distribution that the average user may not even notice. MX-15 is worth checking out. Of the two distributions in this post MX-15 is more user friendly to install. EFI install is an option during install. You will wish to read the notes during install.

http://www.mepiscommunity.org/mx

The second and flashiest Debian distribution I found is from Voyager Linux which originates in France. The Debian spin Voyager has created is named Voyager X8 and is based also on Debian 8. Voyager Linux is interesting in they take Debian and Xubuntu (Ubuntu XFCE) and give each distribution a colorful change over and dress up, from the desktop to the programs included.

Voyager X8 screenshot

Voyager X8 screenshot

Voyager X8 is less beginner friendly for install, but if you understand how the hard drive should be formatted, install is easy. Not only is Voyager X8 a live CD when you download the ISO, but you have some options to decide on before you start your download. Voyager X8 comes in two live versions, one for EFI installation and one for a normal Grub 2 mbr installation.

Click on X8, select your language on the right.

Between MX-15 and Voyager X8 and MX-15 both distributions go a long way towards making Debian a better Debian. MX-15 created some changes which Voyager X8 does not do. Documentation and help is on the main screen when you log in. MX-15 has a grub repair tool on the live CD. Voyager X8 is the most modified desktop with the Voyager group adding their own special additions to the desktop, with MX-15 not modifying the desktop.

Support for both these systems is very good and the documentation is excellent with the edge going to MX-15. If you are looking for a Debian based Linux, check out these two options. Both have a Live CD ISO, so you can try them first. Try them both, decide which you prefer, install it, and make it yours.

Chess Games and Chess Resources for Linux

I listed below the chess programs and resources I have on my Computer running under Linux. Some of these listed below are also cross platform.

3D Chess – glChess and this manual page were written by Robert Ancell bob27@users.sourceforge.net. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU General Public License, Version 2 any later version published by the Free Software Foundation.

On Debian systems, the complete text of the GNU General Public License can be found in /usr/share/common-licenses/GPL.

http://linux.die.net/man/6/glchess

Gnome Chess – GNOME Chess is a 2D chess game, where games can be played between a combination of human and computer players. GNOME Chess detects known third party chess engines for computer players.

https://wiki.gnome.org/Apps/Chess

Brutal Chess – Brutal Chess features full 3D graphics, an advanced particle engine, and several different levels of intelligent AI, inspired by the once popular “Battle Chess” released by Interplay circa 1988.

https://sourceforge.net/projects/brutalchess/

Chessx – A free and open source chess database application for Linux, Mac OS X and Windows.

https://sourceforge.net/projects/chessx/

Chinese Chess – GMChess is an open source Chinese Chess based on XiangQi Wizard. (link is external) Chinese chess (Xiangqi) is one of the most popular chess games to have originated in China.

https://lgdb.org/game/gmchess

One of many configurable from beginner to winner Chess games for Linux

Dream Chess – DreamChess is an open source chess game. Our primary target platforms are Windows, Mac OS X and Linux. DreamChess features 3D OpenGL graphics and provides various chess board sets, ranging from classic wooden to flat figurines.

A moderately strong chess engine is included: Dreamer. However, should this engine be too weak for you, then you can use any other XBoard-compatible chess engine, including the popular Crafty and GNU Chess.

Other features include music, sound effects, on-screen move lists using SAN notation, undo functionality, and savegames in PGN format.

The DreamChess team currently consists of only a handful of people. We could use help in many areas, such as programming, graphics, sound and testing. If you’re interested in helping out, please send an email to feedback at dreamchess.org.

http://dreamchess.org/

EBoard – EBoard is a user-friendly chess interface for ICS (Internet Chess Servers). While it will focus on FICS (www.freechess.org ), should work with any other ICS. It supports playing against local chess engines too.

https://sourceforge.net/projects/eboard/

Knights – Knights aims to be the ultimate chess resource on your computer. Written for the K Desktop Environment, it’s designed to be both friendly to new chess players and functional for Grand Masters. Here’s a quick list of Knights’ key features:

Play against yourself, against computer opponents, or against others over the Internet.

Customize your board and pieces with over 30 different themes, or create your own!
Audio cues help alert you to important events.
Novice players can preview potential moves.
Save your unfinished matches and play them again later.

http://knights.sourceforge.net/news_archive.php and http://www1.knights-chess.com/?kw=chess+pieces

Pychess –  PyChess is a gtk chess client, originally developed for GNOME, but running well under all other linux desktops. (Which we know of, at least). PyChess is 100% python code, from the top of the UI to the bottom of the chess engine, and all code is licensed under the GNU Public License.

The goal of PyChess is to provide an advanced chess client for linux following the GNOME Human Interface Guidelines. The client should be usable to those new to chess, who just want to play a short game and get back to their work, as well as those who wants to use the computer to further enhance their play.

Use Any Chess Engine

With PyChess it is easy to play a game against the computer or use the computer to help you find the best move during a game with the Hint Mode feature.

PyChess comes with its own built-in chess engine and will automatically detect and work with most popular chess engines as long as they’re installed on your computer. This includes engines such as GnuChess, Crafty, Sjeng and Fruit, and even Windows engines like Rybka.

In the case PyChess doesn’t automatically detect an engine you’ve installed, you can manually add and configure it engines menu. See the wiki for additional engines.

http://www.pychess.org/about/

Scid – Scid is a chess database application (cross-platform, for Unix/Linux and Windows) with many search and database maintenance features.

https://sourceforge.net/projects/scid/

XBoard – XBoard is a graphical user interface for chess in all its major forms, including international chess, xiangqi (Chinese chess), shogi (Japanese chess) and Makruk, in addition to many minor variants such as Losers Chess, Crazyhouse, Chess960 and Capablanca Chess. It displays a chessboard on the screen, accepts moves made with the mouse, and loads and saves games in Portable Game Notation (PGN). It serves as a front-end for many different chess services, including:

Chess engines that will run on your machine and play a game against you or help you analyze, such as GNU Chess, Crafty, or many others.

Chess servers on the Internet, where you can connect to play chess with people from all over the world, watch other users play, or just hang out and chat.

Correspondence chess played by electronic mail. The CMail program automates the tasks of parsing email from your opponent, playing his moves out on your board, and mailing your reply move after you’ve chosen it.

XBoard runs on Unix and Unix-like systems that use the X Window System.

https://www.gnu.org/software/xboard/

XShogi – GNU Shogi is a computer program that plays the game of Shogi, also known as Japanese Chess.

https://www.gnu.org/software/gnushogi/

Manjaro Linux Brief Overview

I recently installed Manjaro Linux, wanting to see what was out there for the leading edge of Linux. There are only a few Linux distributions which are difficult to install these days. There are several Linux distributions aimed at new users. Manjaro is fairly straightforward, is simple to install and maintain.

I downloaded the ISO, and went through the install which is quite a simple task. Manjaro Linux installed smoothly and update Grub without any issues. One nice touch with Manjaro and Grub, is Manjaro defaults to the last boot option you picked. This is good if you are using more than one operating system on your computer.

My desktop flavor of Manjaro is XFCE. I enjoy the right click menu of XFCE. Manjaro itself comes with a complete set of programs already. Not too many and not too few. Unless you need to do something an ordinary user would not do, you will get along fine with Manjaro’s default programs.

Everything went smoothly with my time with Manjaro, In fact Manjaro is still one of the systems on my computer. There were a few silly things that happened after the first update, but they went away with the second update. Nothing show stopping by any means.

Leading edge and great performance too!

Leading edge and great performance too!

My only concern with Manjaro and an average user, is the amount of updating, and the time it takes. Frequent updates are to be expected using Manjaro Linux as Manjaro is a leading edge Distribution and updates arrive shortly after they are created. Updating takes time however, so time needs to be set aside to update Manjaro.

Is Manjaro right for you? If you have a high bandwidth connection such as cable and want to be on the leading edge with as little fuss as possible, and you do not mind frequent updates, Manjaro is for you.

If your bandwidth is metered or limited, you may want a smaller distribution with less updating. I use Manjaro from time to time, and for my needs Manjaro just the way it installs is fine for my needs. I am an ordinary user, and for me the frequent updates for me are a detractor.

As mentioned updates are the proce you pay for leading edge Linux. Manjaro’s Team ensures all updates are tested and checked before you will see them. Crashing has not been an issue with Manjaro with credit going to the Manjaro Team.

All in all except for the first update Manjaro has been a good performer. You can do worse than use Manjaro Linux.

Linux XFCE Thunar Browse Network How To

If like me, you are using XFCE Desktop and are unable to browse network files, you see this using Thunar File Manager:

XFCE Thunar

This is what Thunar looks like without network browsing

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here is your solution!

Using Synaptic Package Manager or if you know how, the command line, add two files to your system.

You need to install gvfs-backends and gvfs-bin for browsing network with Thunar File Manager.

Now you will see this:

Thunar with Network Browsing

Thunar with Network Browsing

Debian Linux Jesse Install No Sound Fix

As I am promoting Debian Linux in this post, I thought you would like to know how to manage two of Debian’s install quirks. Debian is an outstanding distribution however and well worth a little frustration to set it up and use it.

Debian has several of these small annoyances. Debian prefers not to hold your Linux hand, but expects you to be self sufficient in the ways of Linux. Easier said than done, especially if you are not sure of what you are looking for.

The first roadblock of the Debian Live-CD is repositories. Repositories are remote network servers where all the packages you could possible want, and all those upgrades are stored. Taking the default answer seems like a no brainer, but Debian has managed to make it more complicated.

During the install process, there was a pause and a screen asking you about using a network mirror. A network mirror in Debian Linux is a round about way of saying repositories. As I read the question, I thought to myself, “I have no debian mirror, I do not even have a network.”

Jesse Repositories

Using correct repositories makes life simpler

As I read, I answered without thinking. I said the natural answer for me, no. Wrong answer. What the Debian Install is really asking, is: Do you want access to all those programs available to use with Debian, or are you happy with those files and programs on the live CD?

I went through the process again and I answered yes this time. The repositories for all mainstream Debian repositories were listed instead of only the files and programs on the live CD. Now it seems like everything is as it should be. Not quite.

The second miss when installing Debian from Debian Live-CD is youtube. You go to youtube all excited to be trying out your new Debian Linux install, , click on your favorite video, see great video and hear no sound!

You search the web for an answer, and there are at least ten thousand links to answers for this problem. One of two things happen at this point. Whatever has been written may as well be written in a language you never heard of before. You have no idea what they are talking about. Or, after trying out the first few few ideas you realize that none of these fixes, fix your problem.

Here is a good fix for youtube. You need to install Adobe Flash Player. Here is what you need to do in a hopefully simple step by step process:

Open Applications (Menu) -> System -> Synaptic Package Manager

Under Menu -> Settings you will see the word ‘Repositories’. If you did not enable mirrors, the first line with be black and the bottom lines grayed out. You can fix this.
In the repository screen open click the box of the second line:

“deb http://ftp.us.debian.org/debian/”

At the bottom of the screen where you read the word Section(s): add these words:

non-free contrib main

Click OK when you are done.

You should be back on the main page of Synaptic Package Manager. See the blue arrows and the word Reload under them? Click on the blue arrows and wait until the repositories are updated.

Now you are finally ready to fix your youtube sound problem.

Debian No Sound Fix

Enabling sound in youtube videos using Debian

Using Synaptic Package Manager, click on ‘search’.

Type in: flashplugin-nonfree and click on the search button.

Right click on the words ‘flashplugin-nonfree’

Click install.

The box to the left of flashplugin-nonfree will have an arrow in it.

Above, on the second menu bar of Synaptic Package Manager is a green check mark that says: Apply. Click on the check mark.

The file: flashplugin-nonfree and other needed files will be downloaded and installed. You will need to reboot your computer for flash to take effect.

Stay tuned for the next post if you want to see network drives using the XFCE Thunar File Manager.

nvPY is Notational Velocity or Resoph Notes created for Linux

If you are using Linux, or are thinking about trying Linux and you are overly attached to Resoph Notes or Notational Velocity, I found a compatible program for you!

Linux has so many powerful and useful programs, that many programs are lost in the shuffle. I find one every now and then, I really am happy to have found.

This alternative to Resoph Notes and Notational Velocity goes by the simple name, nvPy. Compatible with simple note, and better stated in the Authors own terms:

“nvPY is my ugly but cross-platform Notational Velocity-inspired simplenote-syncing note-taking tool. If you’re a nerd with a note-taking fetish, you’ll love this. BSD open source.”

Linux Note Taking

Resoph Notes and Notational Velocity comes to Linux

The Author is the accomplished, “Charl Botha”, and his website is here. If you click on the link of examples of software Charl has worked on you can read of them on the new page. I found nvPY as a repository download for Ubuntu Linux. If Ubuntu does not work for you you can find nvPY on this link  which will allow you download nvPY as a .deb file.

If you are unsure of what to do with a file named “something.deb”, contact your distribution administrators on their forum, and ask if they could make nvPY available for you in their repository. Usually they get excited about new software and may thank you for finding nvPY. Happy Note Taking!

Linux Distributions Mid 2015 Overview

Notes from my thoughts on the current state of several major Linux Distributions. I am partial to the least mouse clicking and movement over how a distribution looks. I can modify the default settings if I wish to make a desktop into what I want it to be. These Distributions are cream of the Linux crop of distributions I have tried out lately. The Linux Distributions are listed in no particular order.

Voyager Linux – Ubuntu with XFCE Desktop, some nice added touches really classes up XUbuntu. This is probably the most elegant of recent Linux distributions. If you enjoy a pretty desktop with functionality with added Desktop and Browser modifications, Voyager is for you.

Xubuntu Linux – Ubuntu with a XFCE desktop. Well mannered, fast, fairly light, easy to use, and feels to be less mouse movement, clicking than when using KDE, Mate or Cinnamon Desktop. Needs a few wallpapers added for a personal touch.

One modification I do with stock Xubuntu is is add a few pet programs and remove the bottom dock and replace it with Docky. I like Docky as it adds a little fun and eye candy to the desktop. I am thinking about adding some Conky too.

Linux and Coffee

Several Live Linux DVD’s and an old Victor Coffee Mug

Mint Linux – I am not sure how I feel about Mint Linux. Mint is a great product. Mint is on the pinnacle with the best of Linux distributions. Mint comes in several Desktop flavors, from KDE to XFCE. Mint also has a Debian version using Cinnamon and Mate Desktops. Consistency is a virtue of Mint Linux. No matter which Desktop you choose to use, they are all configured as much as possible to mimic each other.

The different desktop look the same, and as much as possible operate in the same way. The menus pretty much contain the same programs. The only differences will be programs and settings for the desktop environment you choose to use.

Personally I am a fan of Mint LMDE – Linux Mint Debian Edition, as I have always been happy with Debian. Mint is not Burger King however, you can not have it your way on the desktop. If you start modifying the desktop, you risk breaking your Mint install.

Debian Non Free live CD – I am surprised to be writing this. Debian Linux has a live CD that contains non free software. I tried Debian live with both the LXDE and XFCE Desktops, and everything I love about Debian without the Debian hassle is present.

Debian is light, fast, and to the point. If you are a mainstream user who is not into elegant desktops, Debian is an awesome distribution. I have used Debian on and off for over a decade, and Debian never disappoints.

Debian it seems wants to be a behind the scenes Linux distribution and not a spotlight player. Debian is one of the most carefree distributions around, but as a desktop it does not always play well.

As long as the software you want is in the repository, you are okay. If you want to use a program not in the repository, in my experience, you will spend time hunting down dependencies to make your program work. Same goes for support. You are mostly on your own.

As much as I want to stick with one distribution, something happens where I end up trying out a handful of Linux distributions. Recently it was Crunchbang Linux who closed their doors while working on a new Crunchbang.

Crunchbang #! Linux Development Ends For Now

Corenominal, founder and developer of Crunchbang Linux announced today on the #! forum he will no longer develop Crunchbang Linux.

To sum it up in a few words, development goes on, and there are desktops that did not exist when #! development and initial release happened. As stated better in Corenominal’s post, there was no easy to use Debian, Ubuntu, or LXDE desktop when #! was developed and released.

Here is a link to Corenominal’s forum post.

I really enjoy using Crunchbang Linux. #! is the first Linux distribution that I stayed with rather than hopping off to another distribution after a few weeks to a few months. That is saying a lot. Over the years, I have tried out more distributions in the top 100 of Distrowatch listing than a reasonable person should. There was always something better in the next distribution.

We will have to wait and see what becomes of #!. I hope Crunchbang Linux lives on. There are many new and great Linux distributions to choose from however. Easy to use use and light on resources desktops, such as LXDE and XFCE. These two desktops are my favorite Desktops for speed and ease of use, after #! of course.

Voyager Linux, Cadillac Style Built on Xubuntu LTS

I installed Voyager Linux a few weeks ago on my desktop, and have been playing with Voyager on and off since. Voyager is Xubuntu dressed to the nines. Voyager makes no claim to be anything but Xubuntu with a fresh look and some modifications. Those add-ons and modifications make Voyager mighty pleasing to the eye.

In the speed department, Voyager is no slouch considering it is Xubuntu dressed up. I found Voyager to be crisp, fast and solid, even after updates, which is an area where other distributions have fallen flat on their faces. XFCE and Docky are running the desktop, with a quick launch bar on the right side, with links to all four screens, selected programs, and system stats.

Voyager is a French distribution based currently based on Xubuntu 14.04.01 LTS, giving it a rock solid base and a long life. I first heard of Voyager a few years ago. I tried Voyager, but at the time I was not swayed to move away from the distribution I was using.

Why is Voyager different? Voyager does not call itself a new distribution which it is not, but refers to itself as “a personalization Xubuntu”, which is correct. Think of Xubuntu all dressed up and ready to show off.

Voyager Linux

Xubuntu with excellent modifications

Voyager is Xubuntu upgraded even to include modifications made to in the Firefox browser. There are other software additions that fill gaps and add choices. A well thought out mixture of programs that everyone should find useful.

Voyager installation is Ubuntu install so I won’t bore you with it. Ubuntu has made installation as simple and boring as possible and that is what you get.

While I am on the fence about switching to Voyager in the moment, Voyager is made made for someone like me. I want fast over pretty, and I want pretty over base install. Voyager is as fast as Xubuntu and more pleasing to the eye. It will stay on my hard drive so I can play with it and see if Voyager reaches out and grabs me.

I enjoy XFCE for what it adds to the speed side of the Linux desktop. I do not enjoy XFCE in its basic state. I also am not someone who derives pleasure from dressing up my desktop. That is where Voyager shines. No one is going to see Voyager on your desktop and think it is too plain, or too slow. I imagine anyone who sees Voyager on your desktop will want to know what is, and where you found it.

In finishing, Voyager is Ubuntu dressed up for a very special Friday Night. Voyager comes in both 32 and 64 bit flavors. There is one fun quirk in Voyager, and that is the software center. Parts of it on the main screen are in French. I find it refreshing, and not a deterrent, as most of us already what programs we want to add.

If you want XFCE on your desktop and are not inclined to dress it up, but want a polished desktop and an excellent selection of programs, Voyager belongs on your computer.