There are a lot of different note taking applications available for Linux. Many distributions ship with Tomboy installed (while others choose GNote). There are others as well, including outliners such as CherryTree, and even NeverNote, a Linux clone of Evernote. In this article, I’ll be talking about yet another note taking application, called MyNotex.
Unlike many note taking applications, MyNotex is strictly a plain text utility. There is the feature to allow for lists (both bullets and numbered lists are available), but MyNotex is not an outlining program. There is no capacity for automatic indents, for example. And the no formatting, i.e. plain text, means exactly that. You will just get text. No bold, italics or underline; no strikethrough, superscript or subscript. Nothing but numbers and words. And that’s fine. The more features you add to a simple program, the more complex it becomes, and the more it begins infringing on an already existing application with more features (such as a regular word processor). MyNotex keeps things simple, with nothing but multiple notes in plain text, tags and attachments.
But a couple of those features are really nice. You can set up multiple notebooks, then open whichever you want. This is nice for someone performing research. All research related to a particular subject could be bundled into one notebook. Different subjects can be added to a particular notebook, and different notes can be added to each subject. In this way, along with tags, your notes can be very specific, yet still fit into a larger grouping. Tags are assigned when you create a note, or you can go back and set them later. A note can have multiple tags, and by using the built-in search feature, you can quickly bring together all the various notes that contain the same tags.
The search feature is pretty nice as well. In addition to being able to search by tag, you have the option to search by Subject, Note Title and Tag, in addition to being able to search the actual text of your articles. And if you perform a search only to notice that a couple of notes located under a particular subject actually belong in another, it’s no big deal. You can move any note at any time.
One concern I’ve always had when using a note taking program is that these types of programs sometimes use their own formats for keeping all your notes together. And that would be a concern for MyNotex as well, as it saves each notebook, no matter how many subjects or notes it contains, in a single Sqlite database. This databse, however, can easily be exported or saved as HTML. This HTML can then be imported into other programs, such as OpenOffice writer (or most word processors, actually).
In addition, if you use MyNotex in different locations, you can synchronize two copies of the same notebook. This allows you, for instance, to use MyNotex on your home computer, work computer and laptop, and always have the most recent versions of all your notes.
MyNotex isn’t a program that’s going to be for everyone. It’s a bit more complicated than using a simple text editor to jot down your ideas, and although very powerful, maybe “too much” for some people to use, or to learn how to use effectively. It’s fast, however, very fast, and even without fancy formatting options, is a great way to store ideas. I love the attachment feature, as well. I didn’t go into it much, but any file can be attached to a note; the attachment it zipped and saved in an identical file structure to the note’s location within a subject or notebook, so even if the original item is deleted, your attachment remains.
MyNotex can be downloaded from the project’s Google Sites home page. There are installers available for Debian-based Linux systems, such as Ubuntu, as well as an executable file for non-Debian-based distributions, the source code, a user’s manual saved as PDF, and a couple of translations for French and Italian.