Why Windows?

I always thought I was good at algebra, but I can’t make this work…

A+B=C where:
A=Scrivener is primarily developed for Mac OSX, which is based on UNIX
B=Linux is POSIX compliant (a UNIX clone)
C=Let’s build a Linux version based upon the feature-limited, possibly buggy Windows version



Mac OS X might be BSD-based and POSIX compliant, but the majority of development for it is done with very high level toolkits, commonly referred to as Cocoa. They are in a lineage that can be traced back through NeXTSTEP and OpenStep, where GNUstep on Linux is a fork alongside OpenStep—but not a complete enough clone to host a modern OS X application that makes heavy use of various proprietary Mac frameworks. In fact OS X applications are no longer even compatible with OpenStep. As I understand it, only the fairly basic Cocoa-based programs could conceivably be ported to run on GNUstep.

The Windows version, on the other hand, was written in modern (at the time) C++/Qt.

So, that’s the math. One source code base required a recompile with a different OS target, the other would most likely require a source code rewrite.

I see what you did there. :wink:

Things might get more interesting once someone writes bindings for Swift (now that the toolchain is open source) for Gtk and QT. I thought I read someone that Keith was planning a re-write of the OS X version to Swift but I could have been mistaken.

As AmberV says, it’s more than just the language (and GUI bindings) and none of the high-level Cocoa APIs are available on Linux. Essentially, Scrivener is two products sharing the same branding and the same file format. Given how different C++/QT is from ObjectiveC/Cocoa, I don’t envy the Windows developer’s job in trying to keep up feature parity. :smiley:

As I’ve said in other threads, I’d love to see the Scrivener file format opened up. I live in the uncanny valley of being a Linux desktop user who prefers iOS for mobile. If the file format was open, I’d write my own Gedit plugin to import/export. Then again, I only use Scrivener for one legacy project and the latest Linux version handles my novel just fine. Every project I’ve started since 2011 has been in Markdown (fiction, my blog) or AsciiDoc (non-fiction, technical writing).

I find it a touch ironic that it was Scrivener that introduced Markdown to me with the need to use plain text in my iPad; but through my adoption of Markdown, I realised that I no longer need Scrivener.

Did anyone else read the @AmberV response and think of Goodwill Hunting?! I was like, Daaaaaamn

How you like them Apples? :mrgreen:

I appreciate the answers, I have no programming experience on Apple, so had no idea what the differences are. I guess as a Windows and Linux user, this starving writer just feels like the “poor cousin” just because he can’t afford a Mac. Using a dumbed-down version whilst listening to the fancy features we don’t have, bah!

Well the spec might not be public, and solidified in one place/version, but it’s an extremely easy format to reverse engineer considering it’s %100 xml + rtf, but even if it’s easy to rev eng, making a gedit importer will not be that much fun to make, as scrivener format has separate files for different chapters/sections, lots of config files/options, and relies on templates. So generating a single gedit document from it, well… doable but not necessarily fun.

Agreed, why fight it, I’ve learnt the error of my ways. My time is worth a lot more to me than the price of a Scrivener licence on OS X and iOS :smiley:

Writing Gedit plugins sucks (I know, I’ve written six of them) and three have them have effing broken with the arrival of 3.18. The documentation sucks, my bug reports have gone unanswered for this issue and other’s I’ve raised.

I’m giving up on the Linux desktop pipe dream.

I’ll port my Gedit plugins to Pythonista and Editorial on my iPad mini - their API is a hell of a lot more stable than anything coming of the Gnome project. Besides, Scrivener on Linux, unless resurrected is going to die the slow death of incompatibility every time the blessed versions for iOS, OS X and Windows are upgraded.

I just want to a portable writing set up to complement my Mac mini: everything I’ve heard about the iOS version will fulfill that need.

Sigh that feels better now I’ve got that off my chest.

@ChrisRosser I, too, feel the pain of needing to write “on the run”. Unfortunately, not having arrived at the published stage yet, and being on a “fixed income”, I am stranded with Windows/Linux/mobile Android. As I said, always the poor cousin, looking over the back fence at my neighbors swimming pool… We’re even denied auto- exporting to dropbox to keep an editable version handy for use on my phone.
Oh well, so I continue to outline and keep a scene list with Google Sheets, and write in Google Docs when I’m out, then cut-n-paste-n-format-n-label-n-tag when I finally manage to BIC HOK. sigh Waiting for that One Ring, er, software that will do it all.

@Parson, I know what that’s like. I’ve got three dependents and have been on a single salary for 6 years. Mix in Australia’s cost of living (and Apple’s prices here) and I shop refurb or when older models get discounted and I hold on to my products for years. My main machine is a 2011 Mac mini, my portable device is an iPad mini 2.

The Apple ecosystem is an expensive luxury, but it’s worth it if your prepared to be frugal where it counts. The hardware has some real staying power too, which in my opinion brings down the total cost of ownership. Unless you are the sort of person who’s compelled to get the latest hotness, the faster graphics etc, an older machine will still run Scrivener great.

I really, really tried on Linux for several years but Scrivener is first and foremost a Mac OS X app. It also benefits from things that are unique to the platform, like the system-wide dictionary and other gems that are often overlooked.

I feel your pain, mate!

PS Don’t think publishing is your pathway to riches. Even aiming for a living is tough unless you work as a full time professional/technical/copywriter. Honestly, you have better odds on a roulette table. Write because you love to write.

Over on another forum, we’ve been kicking around the concept of ‘distraction free’ writing systems, prompted largely by the EOL of the AlphaSmart Neo and Dana authoring keyboards. (No longer in production, but widely available on eBay)

As always, thread drift has focused on ‘basic’ systems, even including DOS and writing apps, and on to Linux and OSX, etc. based systems. Key to all of this is ripping the WiFi & Ethernet out by the roots to get rid of 'net distraction.

Okay… first preference here is to stick with Scrivener for Linux and a light-weight stable Linux distro, good for several years. Install on an older computer. Rip out the internet connect. Dedicate the box to writing & file collections. Thumb drive the stuff out for further disposition. The Linux version will be useful for a number of years that way.

The other way is total rebellion against the Windows forced march: there are great old used machines with XP or Win7 that will run for years more. Scrivener runs just great under XP. Dig one out of the closet, beg one from the brother-in-law, or get one on eBay. Rip out the WiFi & Ethernet. Same as above. Dedicate the machine to writing & nothing more. Thumb-drive the stuff in & out.

If Scrivener for Linux should succumb to incompatibility rot, my Linux alternative would have to be the text editor, Geany, with the Markdown plugin, and the ‘file tree’ plugin. That way I can have a raft of my writing files, notes, & research chunks all showing in the file tree on the side, and multiple tab/files open in Geany. It’s not Scrivener, but it’s workable. The other essential part is ReText, the markdown editor for Linux. That, or Pandoc. I’m a dedicated user of text files with markdown coding. One text file serves them all: pdf, rtf, odf, html, xhtml, etc.

The above may suit very few, but it’s pennies on the dollar frugal, it’s powerful, and it gets one off the endless conveyer belt to more, more, more … money, obsolescence, and waste. And it greatly extends the useful life of current Scrivener versions.

I doubt that accuracy of that statement for most users. Given the Linux version of Scrivener is the same QT-based codebase as Windows Scrivener (which is already several major features behind Mac and perceived to be even more so) and given the massive efforts underway for the 3.x wave, this strategy might work for individual users, but it’s not going to be a broad sell. And that’s not even addressing how long L&L are going to want to (or be able to) support those older versions of Scrivener.

While what you’re saying about non-core nature of upgrades and network connectivity are true at some level, the fact remains – in order to get around existing gaps in Linux Scriv, you need at least some additional applications, which probably require some level of network connectivity. It might be time to recognize that Scriv and Linux are a failed experiment and start picking the path one wants most.

That sounds like an interesting thread on the other forum, Graybyrd. Would it be possible to share the link, please?

Sure, brookter. This is a Yahoo discussion group for the Dana and Neo keyboard units (self-contained authoring devices; they run for many hours on three AA cells, the Dana for 15 hrs, the Neo for 700 hours; either can act as a universal keyboard for any USB-connected PC (Win, Mac, Linux). They both have eight internal file storage buffers; the Dana can hold two SD cards for external storage (1 GB limit each card).

Since AlphaSmart (later Renaissance Learning) has discontinued the Dana/Neo line, there’s been on-going speculation & discussion about alternatives. However, to this day, the only practical alternative is to find good used units, such as eBay. They are very reliable and prices are typically low, under $40. The keyboards are among the best; mine is an indispensable part of my Scrivener work-flow. Anything composed in the field is “sent” via USB cable connect into Scrivener when I return home.

flickr.com/groups/alphasmar … 835639538/

Is there anything positive you might say that would help someone who needs the functionality of Scrivener? As I said, my approach is not meant to be universal; it works for me, and anyone else needing an economical & practical solution.

The premise is two-fold: to take advantage of the current Scrivener offering, and to escape the insanity of the forced-march upgrade path. As far as writing and authoring (which is the primary focus of this entire website) there’s been damned little “advantage” offered by hardware and software upgrades in recent years. My antique Dell 5000 with Pentium III CPU and maximum 512 Mb RAM, running Debian “Jessie” 8.3 and Scrivener for Linux, with light-weight Openbox DE, costs me exactly $0.00 and it very nicely does everything I need to produce internet-ready epub, html, and pdf-formatted books and articles.

And that’s my point. For an individual focused on work production, and a stable platform, it just works, to quote a former innovator. Your “technical” points are very correct; it’s just that many of us do not benefit from that rat race and some of us choose to jump ship. A self-contained software system, air-gapped from forced internet upgrades, serves the purpose.

It’s a lot like the hysteria of the stock market crashes; if you don’t sell the stock, you don’t take a loss. Wait for a better day. Same with the housing market implosion. A house you’re living in is just as useful for a residence whether it’s appraised as “under water” or not; the catastrophe comes when you decide to sell. Same with current computer hardware and software: the financial punishment comes when you blindly follow the forced obsolescence path. I’m a contra rebel; I jumped off that path to nowhere a long time ago.

I hear what you’re saying, and you have the technical skills and experience to make it work – therefore, it’s the right solution for you at this time. All I’m trying to say is that it’s a cost (in time if nothing else) vs. reward equation.

In IT, I have to deal with customers who have vital workflow on obsolete, legacy systems. They will spend hundreds and thousands of dollars on parts, etc. to keep these systems alive, but refuse to spend even an hour thinking about what to do if/when that fails and they are stuck with a non-working system and no way to get their data out. The line of mine you quoted was aimed (and failed) more at that – do what you gotta do to keep the system working now, but start thinking about (and prepping) for that day down the road when the payoff of maintaining these systems is no longer worth it.

Personal case in point – I lost years of previous writing (none of it was very good, but that’s not the point) because I didn’t copy the files from 5.25" floppy to 3.5" floppy to CD to USB. I was able to find the mechanical hardware to get it done, but by then, some of the files were corrupted, and the rest were in a format I could no longer find software that would read.


Thanks for the link, I shall read it with interest.

Some interesting debate on this thread with good points made on either side of the discussion.

I was like @Greybyrd for the most part, and have even argued similar points with @devinganger on other threads. I can still see both sides of the argument.

Linux has very recently burnt me (as I pointed out with the Gnome/GTK 3.18 issues). That’s a big problem with the platform (indeed all platforms, including OS X). If you upgrade to take advantage of security improvements you risk having to put up with new features you don’t like and often a greater resource overhead, pushing you to buy new hardware. In the open source world, you can fork, I guess but that only gets you so far and introduces a lot of problems in itself as the world moves on (I’m looking at you Mint).

I like Markdown and text editors a lot and for years I thought it was the answer to everything. Reality is though, I kept having to rely on third-party plugins or write my own solutions for things that Scrivener already gave me. Honestly, that’s time I should have been writing or playing with my kids. It was cool messing around with development and hacking Linux in my twenties - but now I’m in my mid thirties and my most valuable commodity is time.

Tick, tock, tick, tock.

I can’t slow it down, I can’t save it up for a rainy day, I can’t buy more of it. The only thing I can do is strive to use it efficiently.

If Scrivener for Linux is indeed dead I have three choices:

  1. Use another product
  2. Build my own solution
  3. Go back to OS X (and iOS), where it’s best supported, offers the best experience and has a clear future

For me, it’s not a difficult choice and having made it, I feel like a burden has been lifted and I can I’m free to write.

Probably the best choice, all things said & done: OSX.
Scrivener for Linux: on indefinite hold, if not abandoned.

Scrivener for Windows: coming along, with promises of parity with Mac version. However, here’s where I scream in the cathedral: Windows is unfit for purpose! MS has gone off the rails. Vista, 8, 8.1, and now 10. A slow motion self-destruct performance.

Scrivener for Macintosh: nothing can touch it. I’m not thrilled with the directions Apple has taken, but Scrivener is unmatched by anything on any platform. So that’s the clear choice.

One further point: DevonThink. Mac only. Superb personal knowledge base software. Scrivener can do it, for small journals and research notebooks. But for a project, there’s no equivalent to DevonThink.

I’ve searched endlessly for equivalents on Windows and Linux. Nothing comes close.
Those two make a killer combination, and one needs OS X to run them.