What Linux program similar to Scriv OR just good?

Which free (as in free beer) Linux program is most similar to Scrivener?


Aside from Scrivener, which free Linux program would you recommend as a word-processor for authors?

Honestly, I’ve yet to find anything that is similar to Linux. There was at one point a TeX (or maybe LaTeX, or LyX, I can’t remember) addon in the works that was intended to duplicate Scrivener’s core functionality, only it would would tex as the default file format. I haven’t heard anything about that, it dropped off the face of the earth.

Most of the other things that I’ve seen focus more on outlining than writing – fair outlining tools and then really lousy editors (essentially just cells you can dump text in). That’s one of the reasons I suffer the slings and arrows of Linux Scrivener. Even as an imperfect implementation (especially on 64 bit systems) it’s a lot more useful than anything else I’ve found.


Sorry, couldn’t find a free typewriter, but you’ve paid for hardware to run Linux before, so I can’t see that as too much of a barrier. :smiling_imp:

On a more contemporary note, there’s always google docs/drive, and whatever flavor of OpenOffice; plenty of authors these days use them and seem happy (though I suspect few of them know what Scrivener might offer).

I have all my texts in Google Docs. But I’m not writing books or long papers with GDocs yet. I was using mind-mapping software for the time I was working on a term paper.

You might want to consider web-based writers, which often sync to
Google Drive or Dropbox. Outliners that I’ve used include
Fargo and Oak Outliner, and there’s Fountain for screenplays.
Many folks love EverNote, which I like except for its limited export options.
Google Docs is extremely versatile, and it has supporting mind-mappers, too.
Basically, I would install the Chrome browser on Linux and then
Use all the various web tools that support RTF export to Scrivener.

Honestly, I think the closest free-as-in-speech-and-beer alternative to Scrivener on any platform is probably Emacs org-mode. That’s assuming that you are looking for the functionality of the software, not the user interface and conceptualisation models. For that I don’t know of anything like Scrivener, on Linux, other than Scrivener. As mentioned there are plenty of outliners, notepad style programs and so forth, but they aren’t really designed with the author in mind, and it shows. org-mode embodies the concept of a draft being a sum of many small parts, and the notion that those parts might be part of a larger network of ideas, many of which won’t be used to produce the final PDF or text document: fundamental Scrivener stuff. These are concepts that most word processors, outliners and notetaking applications completely disregard. As with Scrivener, org-mode isn’t for word processing (at least not in the modern sense), so if you need one of those I would recommend LibreOffice, or LyX if you don’t mind using a LaTeX foundation (which org-mode supports on output).

As for anything Google provides: that ain’t free because you’re the product. :neutral_face:

Emacs? gasp Say it ain’t so…

Used LyX for ages. It does make for pretty papers and things. (I use a LaTeX variant, lilypond, for music.)

I know, I know, but last I checked the VimOrganizer mod isn’t nearly on the same level as org-mode. I admit that was a while back though.

I’ve been using Writer’s Cafe(combination with focus writer) for a couple of years and really like it.

It has a native Linux port.

True of any computing environment, including so-called open source? :unamused:

I’m not sure what qualifies as “so-called open source”, but if it is only so-called, then it must not be truly open and so perhaps there is a barb in using it—and then I don’t know, without a specific example. If something is what we could refer to as pure open source, like say the Apache web server which basically is responsible for most of the Web’s content delivery, I would say there is no direct “you are the product” cost to using it. For example did you know your Mac has Apache installed on it? In fact you can switch on web sharing, and the “Sites” folder in your account can be become a part of the global Internet, with a little setup. Is clicking that checkbox (which actually isn’t the best way to put it, since flipping the checkbox is not strictly speaking using Apache, but rather using Apple to use Apache, which has important implications mentioned below—but pretend for a moment the checkbox is a direct extension into Apache itself and not something made by anyone else) submitting some commodity (like your metrics information) to third-party info vendors, or even first-party data mining resources? Of course not, such shenanigans would be spotted immediately in an open source project like Apache.

You would however, be relentlessly tracked by Apple, which is where the checkbox comes in. They would likely “know” the moment you flipped web sharing on and when you turned it off. Of course, with Apple we pay them to extract this information (unless we learn to block it with firewalls), whereas with Google we just pay with our metrics and raw data. :slight_smile:

Calligra (the KDE-related office suite) announced one called Calligra Author last year. I doesn’t look like anything is released yet. I’m seeing another called Plume Creator http://www.plume-creator.eu/site/index.php/en/ as well. Doesn’t look as polished as Scrivener, though. Or as well documented.

Ken McConnell, an author who wrote a pretty good how-to-write-a-novel-with-Scrivener post or two on his website a few years back, has switched to Plume Creator. It’s certainly not as polished as Scrivener, but then again, what is?

How about Storybook 4 (novelist.ch/joomla/)? I feel it does have something in common with Scrivener but I haven’t really had chance to put it to the test. What I can say is that it is REALLY easy to install which is a treat for a Linux neophyte such as myself.

Thanks, everyone. I appreciate all the recommendations so far!

I really like the easybook project: easybook-project.org. Free as in beer and speech.

Granted it’s command-line driven and it doesn’t have Scrivener’s organisation tools but much of that can be added to your workflow with a little imagination. It’s written in PHP using a variant of the Symphony framework so it’s very easy to hack and customise (albeit I am a PHP developer so take my claims with a grain of salt :smiling_imp: ).

As an aside, what I love about *Nix is how much you can get done with the built in scripting languages and command line utilities. Hack together a workflow (be it writing fiction or code) using the tools like and with the skills you have (or are prepared to learn).