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Are there good selfhosting note-taking software?

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Posted by tsahar
Dec 23, 2016 at 04:59 AM

 

I am interested in finding a decent open source note-taking software that I could host on my server (or on any VPS) as an alternative to Evernote or to have an online/cloud version of KeyNote NF. Any recommendations? I came across this https://github.com/Kickball/awesome-selfhosted#note-taking—editors but would like to hear from people who are using such software.

 


Posted by Dr Andus
Dec 23, 2016 at 04:38 PM

 

There are wikis and blogging platforms that you could self-host. For me the problem would be that note-taking is supposed to be quick, so it does not disrupt the reading or research process too much. And online wikis and blogs just take too many steps to record a note.

 


Posted by Slartibartfarst
Dec 24, 2016 at 01:58 AM

 

Dr Andus wrote:
There are wikis and blogging platforms that you could self-host. For me
>the problem would be that note-taking is supposed to be quick, so it
>does not disrupt the reading or research process too much. And online
>wikis and blogs just take too many steps to record a note.
__________________________________

Yes, and these wikis and blogs are thus effectively shown to be infeasible methods/systems for acting as ergonomically and pragmatically usable note-capturing tools. It is very frustrating.

In my now 8-year experiment in using OneNote as my “21st-century Zettelkasten PIM”, I only recently (and rather reluctantly) - and after an extended trial - decided to commit to using MS OneDrive as the host for my OneNote Norebooks, because it seemed to be the only choice open to me. I mean, I preferred having my Notebooks stored ON the client device, but then I couldn’t easily “share” them with other client devices in different locations that I or my colleagues would want to use.
I know I could use another Cloud-based storage service to host my OneNote Notebooks - whether my own server or some other third party - but using OneDrive would probably make a lot of sense for most OneNote users.

To be fair to OneDrive, one is completely unaware that one is using a remote host, because the system is specially set up to accommodate OneNote databases. It initially caches the Cloud-based Notebooks as you use them, ONTO the client, whilst they are being worked upon, and only the updated components of the “database” (which is a set of relatively small .ONE files) have to traverse the network, minimising traffic. This also means that the user can work offline on a cached Notebook, and the changes are automatically synced when the client is connected online. It’s a sort of “fire-and-forget” fuss-free mode of working, and one forgets where the client Notebook is (it ceases to be a consciously relevant fact).

Having said that, I don’t LIKE having my Notebooks located in the Cloud, though one can cause automatic backup copies to be made of them onto the client - so I do that as well. (Belts and braces.) I am therefore glad that I can at any point make a backup or simple copy my Cloud-based notebook to the client device (maintaining the integrity/consistency of all internal wiki-links and internal hyperlinks.

I suspect that the MS developers would be well aware of all the potential and real issues around OneNote Notebook security, and they seem to have done a remarkably good job in making it all secure and recoverable. For recovery, there are the backups, and also a large store of the history of deleted pages/versions of notes, and if a user (like me) has a Cloud-based version of a Notebook AND a possibly different version of it on a client device, then MS have the “Merge” command (as well as Copy and Move), which seamlessly takes account of the relative dates and authors of changes made to Notebook pages. Pretty nifty.

This is not a polemic for OneNote per se, but rather an explanation as to why I use it in the way I do, in hopes that other users with similar needs will see what I am on about. OneNote (for me) took a LOT of getting used to and learning about. and trying to understand. It seems to have been worth the effort. I rather dislike the ergonomics of OneNote’s GUI (I’ve used what I consider better - e.g., InfoSelect 8), but I actually have not found anything better-suited for me in my 8-year experiment - though I am always looking! By “better-suited”, I mean that OneNote is the only tool I have found which meets my peculiar and currently-defined requirements - including, especially and for example, the ability to recognise as valid data types:
* plain text,.
* RTF,
* HTML,
* BBS text (though this is limited at present),
* spoken words in audio sound files and audio-visual files,
* embedded text in images (OCR)
________________________________________

Hope this all helps or is of use.

By the way, I should stress here that $Cost is a primary deciding factor for me and at US$10 for the Corporate Home Use licence, getting MS Office Professional (which includes OneNote) is a no-brainer anyway. Kudos to Microsoft and its software developers (which organisation I am often highly critical of).

 


Posted by Luhmann
Dec 24, 2016 at 08:46 AM

 

It seems to me that the best option for someone who doesn’t trust commercial cloud services is to host your own cloud either with OwnCloud or with a network enabled NAS. Then just use plain text files with apps that can sync to such services. This seems preferable to actually installing a cloud based note server. (Several apps work with WebDav which should be supported by OwnCloud.)

 


Posted by tsahar
Dec 26, 2016 at 05:53 AM

 

Dr Andus wrote:
There are wikis and blogging platforms that you could self-host. For me
>the problem would be that note-taking is supposed to be quick, so it
>does not disrupt the reading or research process too much. And online
>wikis and blogs just take too many steps to record a note.

I have always found note-taking to be a “disruptive” activity—even when I do it with a pencil (or highlighter) on a physical book or printed paper—as it surely interrupts the flow of reading. Sometimes, I read a text twice: the first reading being uninterrupted; and the second one meant for note-taking. But, yes the process of note-taking is not quick as in addition to a basic select-and-paste, I often write comments along with the selected text to annotate it.


On software: Piggydb was discussed on this forum four years ago [http://www.outlinersoftware.com/topics/viewt/2490/ ]. It looks quite useful. A major downside is that it is a single-user application which *may* not let one access it simultaneously from two devices (say, a laptop and a mobile phone). Is there anyone here who has used it recently?

 


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