Linux With Education – Writing Aids – Best Free Software

It has often been said that information confers power, and that the most important currency in our culture today is information. Keeping track of bits and pieces of information is a minefield. In part, this is because of my passable short term memory, coupled with what can only be described as ‘brain fog’. To combat this, arm myself with open source software that helps me efficiently capture a lot of information. I recommend students keep their information local and cloud-free, primarily for security reasons.

There is a wide range of competent note taking software for Linux, and this article recommends the finest open source solutions. The software featured here provides a good array of advanced features.

Our gold medal winner is Laverna. While development has slowed in recent months, it remains our favorite note taker. It’s written in JavaScript.

All of our medal winners are, of course, released under a freely distributable license and can be downloaded without charge.

Writing Aids - Best Free Software
Gold medal awardLaverna is a marvelous JavaScript note-taking web application with a Markdown editor and encryption support. It's unarguably the best open source alternative to Evernote.
License: Mozilla Public License 2.0
Silver medal awardBasKet Note Pads is a KDE program for organizing, sharing, and taking notes. It can manage various types of information such as to-do lists, links, pictures, and other types. It has evolved from a simple sticky-note-type application into a powerful program used to collect data of many types, and it neatly organizes the whole thing.
License: GNU General Public License v2
Bronze medal awardZim is a graphical text editor used to maintain a collection of wiki pages. It's great for taking notes during meetings or lectures. You can also use these notes as the basis for more structured writings such as articles and presentations.
License: GNU General Public License v2

Let’s take a brief look at some of the features of Laverna in more detail.

  • Markdown editor based on Pagedown – it’s simple and robust.
  • Manage your notes, even when you’re offline.
  • Secure client-side encryption.
  • Synchronizes with cloud storage services (Dropbox and RemoteStorage are supported).
  • Three editing modes: distraction free, preview, and normal mode. The distraction free mode helps you focus solely on writing notes.
  • WYSIWYG control buttons.
  • MathJax support – a JavaScript display engine for mathematics that works in all browsers.
  • Syntax highlighting – including support for C, C#, JavaScript, Python, and Ruby programming languages.
  • Create tags.
  • Tasks – keep simple to do lists organized in notes and notebooks.
  • Import and export – export your notes from Laverna and import them back anytime.
  • Intelligent keybinding support – work without taking your fingers off your keyboard.
  • No registration process.
  • Web based software.
  • Internationalization support – translations are available for many languages.

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