Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

Scrivener Writing Software has a Linux Version

Filed under

In some ways, Scrivener is the very embodiment of anti-Linux, philosophically. Scrivener is a writing program, used by authors. In Linux, one strings together well developed and intensely tested tools on data streams to produce a result. So, to author a complex project, create files and edit them in a simple text editor, using some markdown. Keep the files organized in the file system and use file names carefully chosen to keep them in order in their respective directories. when it comes time to make project-wide modifications, use grep and sed to process all of the files at once or selected files. Eventually, run the files through LaTeX to produce beautiful output. Then, put the final product in a directory where people can find it on Gopher.

Gopher? Anyway …

On the other hand, emacs is the ultimate linux program. Emacs is a text editor that is so powerful and has so many community-contributed “modes” (like add-ins) that it can be used as a word processor, an email client, a calendar, a PIM, a web browser, an operating system, to make coffee, or to stop that table with the short leg from rocking back and forth. So, in this sense, a piece of software that does everything is also linux, philosophically.

And so, Scrivener, despite what I said above, is in a way the very embodiment of Linux, philosophically.

I’ve been using Scrivener on a Mac for some time now, and a while back I tried it on Linux. Scrivener for the Mac is a commercial product you must pay money for, though it is not expensive, but the Linux version, being highly experimental and probably unsafe, is free. But then again, this is Linux. We eat unsafe experimental free software for breakfast. So much that we usually skip lunch. Because we’re still fixing breakfast. As it were.

Details with Screen Shots Here

Anyway, here’s what Scrivener does. It does everything. The full blown Mac version has more features than the Linux version, but both are feature rich. To me, the most important things are:
A document is organised in “scenes” which can be willy nilly moved around in relation to each other in a linear or hierarchical system. The documents are recursive, so a document can hold other documents, and the default is to have only the text in the lower level document as part of the final product (though this is entirely optional). A document can be defined as a “folder” which is really just a document that has a file folder icon representing it to make you feel like it is a folder.

Associated with the project, and with each separate document, is a note taking area. So, you can jot notes project-wide as you work, like “Don’t forget to write the chapter where everyone dies at the end,” or you can write notes on a given document like “Is this where I should use the joke about the slushy in the bathroom at Target?”
Each scene also has a number of attributes such as a “label” and a “status” and keywords. I think keywords may not be implemented in the Linux version yet.

Typically a project has one major folder that has all the actual writing distributed among scenes in it, and one or more additional folders in which you put stuff that is not in the product you are working on, but could be, or was but you pulled it out, or that includes research material.

You can work on one scene at a time. Scenes have meta-data and document notes.

The scenes, folders, and everything are all held together with a binder typically displayed on the left side of the Scrivener application window, showing the hierarchy. A number of templates come with the program to create pre-organized binder paradigms, or you can just create one from scratch. You can change the icons on the folders/scenes to remind you of what they are. When a scene is active in the central editing window, you can display an “inspector” on the right side, showing the card (I’ll get to that later) on top the meta data, and the document or project notes. In the Mac version you can create additional meta-data categories.

An individual scene can be displayed in the editing window. Or, scenes can be shown as a collection of scenes in what is known as “Scrivenings mode.” Scrivenings mode is more or less standard word processing mode where all the text is simply there to scroll through, though scene titles may or may not be shown (optional).
A lot of people love the corkboard option. I remember when PZ Myers discovered Scrivener he raved about it. The corkboard is a corkboard (as you may have guessed) with 3 x 5 inch virtual index cards, one per scene, that you can move around and organize as though that was going to help you get your thoughts together. The corkboard has the scene title and some notes on what the scene is, which is yet another form of meta-data. I like the corkboard mode, but really, I don’t think it is the most useful features. Come for the corkboard, stay for the binder and the document and project notes!

More in Tux Machines

today's leftovers

  • 5 Things To Expect From The World Of Linux In 2017
    Linux has come out of oblivion to become a mainstream technology today - making its presence felt in the world of marketing, finance, operations and in every other domain. The New Year 2017, should hold promise for Linux, as Bryan Lunduke said recently. There will be some crucial outcomes of the Linux Foundation-Microsoft partnership as well, which made waves in the tech circles the world over. From the predictions available, there will be increased focus on some areas, while the others will witness a lot of trial and error, and even predictive failure, for that matter.
  • Over 1,000 games have released on Steam this year with Linux support
    Don't adjust your screens, as you did read that correctly. Over 1,000 games have released on Steam this year alone with Linux support. I've been slowly writing up an end of year roundup and something I wanted to know was how well we have done this year in terms of actual releases. It took a while to add it all up, as some games show up in the list with a date that’s passed and they aren’t actually released. I had to be pretty careful and do it slowly to make sure it's right.
  • KDE Neon User LTS Edition Released, Powered By Plasma 5.8
    Jonathan Riddell has announced the KDE Neon User LTS Edition availability. Rather than tracking the bleeding-edge KDE developments as KDE Neon traditionally does, the User LTS Edition tracks Plasma 5.8 LTS.
  • KDE e.V. Community Report - 2nd Half of 2015
    The KDE e.V. community report for the second half of 2015 is now available. It presents a survey of all the activities and events carried out, supported, and funded by KDE e.V. in that period, as well as the reporting of major conferences that KDE has been involved in.
  • Best distro of 2016 poll
    Time for you to express yourselves. It's been another year full of ups and downs, good distros and bad distros. Or if I may borrow a quote from a movie, Aladeen distros and Aladeen distros. Indeed. The rules are very similar to what we did in years gone past. I will conduct my own annual contest best thingie wossname, with a sprinkling of KDE, Xfce and other desktops, having their separate forays. But then, I will incorporate your ideas and thoughts into the final verdict, much like the 2015 best distro nomination. Let us.

Networking and Servers

  • Best Open Source Hosting Control Panels
    Most website owners use web hosting control panels to manage their hosting environment. The fact is, the control panel facilitates the server administration and allows users to manage multiple websites without hiring an expert. Today, with so many options available, you don’t have to be a command line guru in order to host a simple website. All you need is a server and a web hosting control panel. There are paid control panels like WHM/cPanel or DirectAdmin which are very powerful, but if you don’t like to pay for a control panel you can simply choose one of the open source alternatives. In this guide, we will present to you some of the most popular open source hosting control panels.
  • ZEPL Announces $4.1M Funding to Accelerate Innovation and Adoption of Apache Zeppelin For End-to-End Analytics Workflow
  • Apache Zeppelin Gets Commercial Backing from ZEPL
    NFlabs rebrands as ZEPL and announces $4.1M in funding in support of open-source Apache Zeppelin data analytics project. The open-source Apache Zeppelin project is an increasingly popular, web-based notebook for interactive data analytics that directly integrates with the Apache Spark project for Big Data analytics. Among the commercial backers of Zeppelin is ZEPL, formerly known as NFLabs. On December 8, the newly branded ZEPL announced that it has raised $4.1 million in an initial funding round. The funding round was led by Vertex Ventures and it included the participation of Translink Capital, Specialized Types and Big Basin Capital. The funding is set to be used to help ZEPL build a successful business model. Sejun Ra, co-founder and CEO at ZEPL said that the plan for the new money to help his company build and develop a single platform for end-to-end data analytics workflow.
  • New Amazon Web Services Region Opens in Canada
    Amazon launches AWS Canada (Central) Region in Montreal, extending Amazon's cloud infrastructure to 15 regions and 40 availability zones around the world. At long last, the cloud is coming to Canada. Amazon Web Services (AWS) announced on December 8, the official launch of the new AWS Canada (Central) Region, providing cloud infrastructure from data centers in Montreal, Quebec. The new AWS region is set to help serve customers in Canada with Amazon already highlighting a number of well-known organizations including National Bank of Canada, Porter Airlines and clothing retailer Lululemon.
  • MEF, TM Forum Unite With Open Source Groups on Network Vision
    MEF Thursday announced the release of a new white paper – “An Industry Initiative For Third Generation Network and Services“ – spearheaded by MEF and co-authored by ON.Lab, ONOS, OPEN-O, OpenDaylight (ODL), the Open Networking Foundation (ONF), Open Platform for NFV (OPNFV), and TM Forum. The white paper describes an industry vision for the evolution and transformation of network connectivity services and the networks used to deliver them. MEF refers to this vision as the “Third Network,” which combines the agility and ubiquity of the Internet with the performance and security of CE 2.0 (Carrier Ethernet 2.0) networks.
  • The New Role of Assurance for Virtualized Networks
    For as long as any of us can remember, fulfillment and assurance were two independent processes, mostly because they were conceived, operated and purchased by separate departments. As Alfred D. Chandler demonstrated in his classic book “Strategy and Structure,” operations and even business structure follow organizational charts and vice-versa. Fulfillment and assurance are no exceptions, with those organizations driving processes and supporting software purchases. While many know that its not ideal, the situation has mostly worked.
  • IBM building blockchain ecosystem
    IBM believes blockchain technology, with its capability to create an essentially immutable ledger of digital events, will alter the way whole industries conduct transactions. To make that happen, Big Blue asserts, requires a complete ecosystem of industry players working together. To that end, IBM today said it is building a blockchain ecosystem, complete with a revenue sharing program, to accelerate the growth of networks on the Linux Foundation's Hyperledger Fabric. IBM envisions the ecosystem as an open environment that allows organizations to collaborate using the Hyperledger Fabric.

today's howtos