Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

Scrivener Writing Software has a Linux Version

Filed under
Reviews

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

FOSS in 3D Printing

  • Open source wifi enabled 3D printer controller Franklin speeds up with new release
    3D printing hit the mainstream a few years ago thanks in part to the open-source 3D printer market. The origins of this transition had to do with expiring patents held by the traditionally held commercial 3D printing companies. Since then, several small businesses have sprung up around the emerging low-cost 3D printer market. Some of these companies embraced the open-source mentality, while others are seeking shelter with patents.
  • Hackaday Prize Entry: Open-Source Myoelectric Hand Prosthesis
    Hands can grab things, build things, communicate, and we control them intuitively with nothing more than a thought. To those who miss a hand, a prosthesis can be a life-changing tool for carrying out daily tasks. We are delighted to see that [Alvaro Villoslada] joined the Hackaday Prize with his contribution to advanced prosthesis technology: Dextra, the open-source myoelectric hand prosthesis.
  • BCN3D Technologies releases open source files for BCN3D Sigma 3D printer
    As our readers will know, an important part of the 3D printing community is the idea of accessibility. Of course, it is more than just an idea, as everyday makers around the world share their 3D designs and models for free, and even 3D printing companies exercise an open-source philosophy with DIY 3D printers and accessible models. Recently, Barcelona based 3D printer developer BCN3D Technologies decided to further embrace the additive manufacturing open-source philosophy with their latest initiative, Open Source 360º. As part of the initiative, the company has announced that it will share all of its engineering, design, and fabrication information used in the manufacturing of their flagship product, the BCN3D Sigma 3D printer.
  • Shellmo: Aquatic 3D printed robot for fun and education
    Recently I came across a very interesting open hardware project called Shellmo. What caught my eye was that it's a 3D printed crustacean that seems to have no apparent real world use, though with a little creativity I can see educational implications. Shellmo is a unique, almost cartoon-like creatures that could captivate the imagination of children while at the same time affording them an opportunity to 3D print their own robot. With the current emphasis on STEM in education, Shellmo appears to be the kind of project that would stimulate student interest.

LibreOffice Liberation

  • Sun, sea, and open source: How Spain's Balearic islands are trying to turn into a tech paradise
    However, work remains to be done, especially on civil servants' desktops. "We started by replacing MSN Office", explains Villoslada. "Thanks to free office suite LibreOffice 5, we may overcome compatibility problems with documents coming in from different versions of MSN Office. We already have 1,000 Office licenses which are not necessary anymore, and we plan not to renew over 5,500 licenses purchased in 2007", he adds.
  • The Document Liberation Project: What we do
    While The Document Foundation is best known for LibreOffice, it also backs the Document Liberation Project. But what exactly is that? We’ve made a short video to explain all…

Kali Linux Alternative: BackBox Linux 4.6 Released With Updated Hacking Tools

BackBox Linux, a Kali Linux alternative, is here with its latest version i.e. BackBox Linux 4.6. Based on Ubuntu Linux, this hacking operating system is now available for download with updated hacking tools and Ruby 2.2. Read more

Chromebook and GNU/Linux

  • Turn Your Old Laptop into a Chromebook
    Once the drive is ready with bootable CloudReady, plug it into the target PC and boot the system. It may take a while for the system to boot into Chromium OS. Once booted, you will see the screen shown in Figure 3.
  • Running Linux and Chrome OS Together Using Crouton
    Leo Laporte is a longtime technology commentator and also the host of the show “The Screen Savers,” on the TWiT Netcast Network. In this video he explains how to install Linux on a Chromebook using Crouton, an open source tool developed by Google employee David Schneider.