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Linux Apps

tomboy-ng – Simple Note-Taking Application for Desktops

Tomboy-ng Note Taking App for Linux
Written by Martins Okoi
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tomboy-ng is a free and open-source note-taking application for Linux, Mac, and Windows desktops. It is built with simplicity in mind which makes it easy to use for organizing different ideas and managing notes using typical note-taking features such as rich text markup, spell check, printing, import and export, MarkDown editing, and backup recovery.

tomboy-ng is a fork of the now-discontinued note-taking app, Tomboy, whose best ‘selling point‘ was its ability to relate notes together thanks to its WikiWiki-like linking system. All you need to do in order to digitize your idea in an organized manner is to type a name. When you press the link button, tomboy-ng create a branch of the main idea, and all branches (as links) won’t break even when you rename or reorganize them.

That being said, it is important to note that tomboy-ng has little to no dependencies and works efficiently as a standalone application.

As is expected of every note-taking app, tomboy-ng supports bulleted lists, inline spell checking, note synchronization across computers, font styling, and backup & recovery. As if that’s not all, you can extend its functionality using any of the several add-ins referenced in its Gnome page and more (third party options included).

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Features in tomboy-ng

  • Free software available on Linux, Mac, and Windows.
  • Open-source with source code available on GitHub.
  • WikiWiki-like linking system.
  • Highlighting text
  • Inline spell checking
  • Auto-linking web & email addresses
  • Undo/redo
  • Font styling & sizing
  • Bulleted lists
  • Note synchronization across several computers.
  • Sync notes to Tomdroid on Android.
  • Backup and Recovery
  • Support for Add-ins.

Install tomboy-ng on Ubuntu via PPA

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tomboy-ng is available for Linux, Windows, and Mac with the installation instructions for different platforms on its GitHub releases page. If you’re running Debian Bullseye and its derivative, you can install tomboy-ng from the normal repositories.

Before the project died, Tomboy was installable as a flatpak. Hopefully, tomboy-ng will receive such an upgrade which will make it easier to access. If you’re running Ubuntu 21.04 (Hirsute), tomboy-ng is already in your repository.

$ sudo add-apt-repository ppa:d-bannon/ppa-tomboy-ng 
$ sudo apt-get update
$ sudo apt install tomboy-ng

We’ve covered a thousand and one note-taking applications and the list goes on. While applications like Cherrytree ship with the ability to manage virtually any data entry type thrown at it, apps like Tomboy ship lightweight with the ability to do just the simple thing but still allowing users to extend their functionality a bit more when they see fit.

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tomboy-ng is now the currently active manifestation of Tomboy for desktop machines so we expect to see more upgrades rolled out with time. Until then, what do you think about this one? Have you got an alternative we haven’t checked out yet? Let us know in the comments section below.

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About the author

Martins Okoi

Martins Divine Okoi is a graduate student who loves the Open Source community. With 700+ articles under his belt, he continues to recommend the best software that the app market has to offer while tackling several discussion topics in IT.