Notekeeping tool that doesn't lock you in

We all know that having a good note taking tool is important as a developer.

However, OneNote and Evernote forces us to be locked in to a particular vendor.

Anyone know of good open-source tools, or even other method of taking notes w/o being "locked-in"?

EDIT: I should kick myself in the head for not specifying. Taking text notes is easy. I'd love to be able to write ink notes ( I use a tablet ), add images,and sketch GUI ideas.


Evernote doesn't force you to be locked in. You can export all your notes as plain text or HTML.

Pen and paper.

Try the one file tiddlywiki for which you can get even shared hosting here.

Use a text editor and save as a text file. Guaranteed no lock-in whatsoever.

The open source xournal is what I use. It also lets you annotates PDF files, by using them as a background instead of the more normal blank, lined, or gridded. Very similar is gournal

There are also the java apps in the same space: jarnal and notelab

Try the ones that work on your platform and see which you like. I don't believe any do handwriting recognition, which is a shame, but they all seem to be pretty usable.

(Or another personal Wiki system with vim, just google it).

Plain text all the way...

FreeMind mind mapping editor

It might help a little bit if you elaborated a little on what features you want from a note-taking tool.

Emacs with outline-mode is one option.

While it's not exactly a note taking tool, I create my notes using OpenOffice and save them in my Dropbox folder so that they're available on every pc I log into. It then syncs those notes onto every PC you have it set up on.

Alternately, you can use Google Docs.

I've always used Notepad for quick stuff. From Microsoft:

To create a log file in Notepad: 1. Click Start, point to Programs, point to Accessories, and then click Notepad. 2. Type .LOG on the first line, and then press ENTER to move to the next line. 3. On the File menu, click Save As, type a descriptive name for your file in the File > name box, and then click OK. When you next open the file, note that the date and time have been appended to the end of the log, immediately preceding the place where new text > can be added. You can use this functionality to automatically add the current date and time to each log entry.

It's simple, but only works with Windows > 2k. You should also check out What do you use to keep notes as a developer.

Pen and a nice Moleskine Notebook

Notepad and/or VI

Well, I should reconsider Evernote. As it has a public API it's not that much of a walled garden and I wooudn't mind the "locked to vendor" thingie :) Evernote API

One more vote here for Vim.

It is open source, available for multiple platforms and there is no lock-in, because the files are accessible with other text editors (except when encrypting with the built-in mechanism, but that would be deliberate lock-in).

Drawbacks: It might have some slight disadvantage in ease of use and is not really able do handle filetypes other than text.

"TodoPaper is a simple, lightweight, and easy to use to-do list application for Windows." plus it's based on plain txt files.

I usually use a mix of a spreadsheet program (export to csv in event of lock-in fear) and a plain text editor, with one file per project, or a folder for projects with more notes. I usually use a sheet of paper as quick notes, but always commit all notes to disk before allowing more than a full-single sided sheet of paper to be filled.

I build one based on python and html editor, it works well for me, you can get it from github: MyNote, it loos like:

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