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Gnote: a Mono-Free Alternative to Tomboy Notes

Tomboy is a wiki-style desktop note-taking application originally developed for Linux and Unix operating systems, but is now fully supported on Windows and Mac OS X and is very famous amongst Ubuntu users.

This light-weight open source application aims at improving your productivity as it helps you organize pieces of information grabbed from here and there an placed here and there, with wiki-like links,
Case Sensitive search, out-of-the-way advanced editing features and more.

Tomboy notes is a pre-installed in Ubuntu since GNOME 2.16.

So far so good, but I must mention that Tomboy notes is written in C# and runs on cross platform, open source Mono – .NET development framework, a Novell production. For those who say NO to Novell and Microsoft and therefore to Mono (for patent issues) like Roy Schestowitz of Boycott Novell this is a big big issue.
– In the first place, Mono should not even be part of Gnome, they say.

Here is where Gnote practically steps in. Gnote is a port of Tomboy to C++. No Mono, No Novell.

To install Gnote on your Ubuntu and get constant updates, add to your apt sources.list entries
deb http://ppa.launchpad.net/gnote/ppa/ubuntu jaunty main
deb-src http://ppa.launchpad.net/gnote/ppa/ubuntu jaunty main
and authenticate with
sudo apt-key adv --keyserver keyserver.ubuntu.com --recv-keys 5AAB5553

then sudo apt-get update
and install with sudo apt-get install gnote

Your newly installed Gnote alias C++ ported Tomboy lands on Applications -> Accessories -> Gnote



The screenshot above clearly show what plugins/add-ins to expect in Gnote. Gnote has a good number of in-built plugins like Bugzilla links, Export to HTML, Fixed Wclassth, Printing Support, Sticky Notes Importer and the Tomboy Importer ~ Import your notes from Tomboy but unfortunately it lacks Synchronization support, so you can’t sync your notes to Dropbox or UbuntuOne.

What Next: Will Gnote replace Tomboy notes as pre-installed in Ubuntu? Chi vivrà vedrà.

Boycott Novell Ref:
Tomboy is Afraclass of Gnote, Its Mono-free Sibling
New Push for Gnote in Ubuntu by Default

Download Gnote


  1. clair
    2:58 pm on July 12th, 2009

    I’d like to ask if plugins written for Tomboy work for Gnote. 🙂 Just curious. Thanks!

  2. Martin Kaba
    10:28 pm on July 12th, 2009

    @CLAIR: well it has a good number of plugins like Bugzilla links, Export to HTML, Fixed Width,Printing Support, Sticky Notes Importer and the most important is Tomboy Importer ~ Import your notes from Tomboy but unfortunately it lacks Synchronization support .

  3. Teo
    3:12 am on August 26th, 2009

    In gnome-system-monitor:
    Tomboy -> 15.4 MB
    Gnote -> 7.1 MB
    For the same number of notes. C++ rules!

  4. bealer
    1:19 am on March 3rd, 2010

    Hmmm I know C# will use up more memory, but Gnote isn’t better because it uses less memory. Especially when we’re talking about 7 to 15mb.

    Using up memory isn’t a bad thing. It’s the fastest form of storage. Just as long as it doesn’t over use it.

  5. Colin Williams
    7:24 am on April 17th, 2010

    More options == Always better!!!

  6. Fernando
    10:26 pm on August 12th, 2010

    The interface could be more direct, like the note application of the Windows 7… no menus is better, only q button to add a new note… the other options should be on the right click… 😉

  7. James
    11:17 am on November 12th, 2010

    If I can’t sync with Ubuntu One or elsewhere, I say “What’s the point”… although on my Redhat box Gnote is noticeably faster, so I might well switch if it had U1 syncing.

  8. grarp
    3:50 pm on June 6th, 2011

    You can workaround a gnote sync with ubuntu one or spideroak (better than u1 imo) by synching the folder ~/.local/share/gnote