Text Editor

10 Best Free and Open Source Distraction-Free Tools for Writers

Fans of the typewriter remain a vehement group. They view the typewriter as something really special, a tool which makes the connection between languages.

One of the attractions of a typewriter is that it offers a distraction-free alternative of modern day methods for producing a document. They challenge the writer to concentrate on what really matters – the content. They force the writer to think.

In many countries, the typewriter has been firmly consigned to history by the computer. Yet, the computer is jam-packed with distractions. The desktop with its cluttered interface, the chatter of social media, the almost limitless content of the internet, the chirping email notifications, the list of distractions is endless. When writing, concentration is vital.

Fortunately, there are computer applications which are designed to offer a distraction-free environment, to ensure the writer has mental clarity, by not being distracted by the operating system and a cluttered interface.

Here is our take on the finest distraction-free applications to help you focus on writing without interruption. Each of the applications run under Linux, most are available as desktop applications. All of the tools are open source software.

Ratings chart for the best free distraction-free tools for writers

Click the links in the table below to learn more about each tool.

Distraction-Free Tools for Writers
FocusWriterSimple, distraction-free word processor
Mark TextSimple and elegant Markdown editor
ApostropheEditor that stays out your way
Quoll WriterDesktop writing application written in Java
ghostwriterDistraction-free writing experience offering a clean interface
BibiscoNovel writing software
TextRoomBasic full-screen rich text editor for writers
AbricotineMarkdown editor built for the desktop with inline preview functionality
PyRoomEditor that stays out of your way
ManuskriptTool for those writer who like to organize and plan everything before writing

This article has been revamped in line with our recent announcement.

Best Free and Open Source SoftwareRead our complete collection of recommended free and open source software. Our curated compilation covers all categories of software.

The software collection forms part of our series of informative articles for Linux enthusiasts. There are hundreds of in-depth reviews, open source alternatives to proprietary software from large corporations like Google, Microsoft, Apple, Adobe, IBM, Cisco, Oracle, and Autodesk.

There are also fun things to try, hardware, free programming books and tutorials, and much more.
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John Blommers
John Blommers
3 years ago

Textroom has not seen any development activity in ten years. And it does not install on recent Debian-based systems because the dependencies are no longer available. Consider deleting it from this list.

Alan Gomez
Alan Gomez
3 years ago
Reply to  John Blommers

Stop using Debian.

TextRoom is great software, don’t delete it from the recommendations.

Alex Scott
Alex Scott
3 years ago

While I didn’t try very hard, TextRoom doesn’t install on Ubuntu. If anyone has it working on Ubuntu, let me know please.

Dwarf Gourami
Dwarf Gourami
2 years ago

I see NOONE got it Installed on Ubuntu! Duh ! I think John had a point confirmed by Alex. Maybe don’t delete but at least Notify it is a problem

2 years ago

I’ve successfully compiled TextRoom on Ubuntu and Arch, for the latter there’s a package in the AUR.