tnote: Simple is good

Simple is good. Simple takes up little space, simple requires very little external support, and simple implies speed. There are always exceptions here and there, but those three points — sometimes more — are usually implied.

For a console note-taker, tnote is extremely simple. It weighs all of about 19Kb when packed, untars into a space smaller than your fingernail, and when installed runs no slower than your machine can spit things out on to the screen.

“Cool,” you say, “but what’s it do?”

This is the delicate part. Without getting entangled in that whole Mono discussion, tnote basically does the same thing as Tomboy, gnote or even xpad — in the sense that it gives you something like sticky notes for the terminal.

Don’t suddenly imagine floating yellow sticky notes on your terminal screen: You won’t get that effect unless you combine tnote with something like twin, or run it in an emulator on the desktop. And even then it won’t feel quite the same.

But it’s quick to access and needs only Python to run. Trigger it with tnote, use the -a flag to add a note, -m to modify, and notes are indexed with numbers. So picking out a note and rereading it is quick and painless.

One of the best parts is that you determine the editor you want to use with tnote, so not only can I hopefully dodge the whole Mono discussion, but I can also throw sand in the eyes of the vi-emacs-nano-ed debate. 😈 Check out the ~/.tnote/tnoterc file for more tweaks, and the help page for ideas.

I’ve mentioned a lot of other “note-taking” applications in the past — things like hnb, or even vimwiki — and I still keep those on hand because of the particular way they arrange notes, whether it’s in a hierarchical style, or in a wiki fashion.

But for a flat, direct, and easy way to jot down a memo or paste in a string of text, tnote is probably the quickest and simplest one I’ve found. And simple is good. 😀


13 thoughts on “tnote: Simple is good

  1. Jarek

    Whats wrong with old fashioned flat text files? if the notes are all separate with no links to each other, wouldn’t it actually be harder to use numerically indexed notes than just text files? Maybe I misunderstand this app (haven’t actually installed it) but it seems like
    vim notes/todo.txt
    is better than
    tnotes -m todo

    (except for vim. REAL programmers use a magnetized needle and a steady hand)

    1. K.Mandla Post author

      To each his own of course, but take a look and see if it appeals. I like that I don’t have to cue vim any time I want to read a note, or edit it for that matter. And if you assign aliases for the modify or add functions, you might make it a little more intuitive.

      No harm done if you don’t care for it. I find it useful in that it will also show a brief summary of all the notes you’ve made thus far, which might be a trick with straight vim.

      Then again if you want to link pages, you might look at vimwiki, if you haven’t already. 🙂

      1. Rickard

        For a while I’ve used: alias todo=’nano ~/documents/todo-list’ to handle all the notes. Perhaps it’s a little to simple, but it get the work done.

        Although it would not be lot of trouble to write a little script to handle arguments like -a to add -v to view and -r to remove.
        I think this could be a great way for you to start learning bash. =)

  2. IceBrain


    alias tadd='echo $* >> ~/todofile'

    Then you can just do “tadd my note text” to add a new note. For removing, sed is your friend:

    alias trem='sed -i -v "$*" ~/todofile'

    Then you just have to give some identifiable word or substring (read: only present in that note) to remove the note.

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  4. n2j3

    I’ve been using taskwarrior for a couple of weeks now and although not as small (it’s around a megabyte) it’s still as simple and definitely more versatile than tnote (it even supports GTD stuff if you’re so inclined). oh i almost forgot; it supports colours for different event priorities/tags !
    get it here:

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  6. pescobar

    simple note function inside my .bashrc

    nn() {
        local NOTE_FILE=$HOME/.notes
        #if file doesn't exist, create it
        [[ -f $NOTE_FILE ]] || touch $NOTE_FILE
        #no arguments, print file
        if [[ $# == 0 ]]; then
           cat -n $NOTE_FILE | less
        #clear file
        elif [[ $1 == "-c" ]]; then
            > $NOTE_FILE
            #   for i in ; do
            #   sed -i -e "$i d" $NOTE_FILE
            #   done
        #edit file
        elif [[ $1 == "-e" ]]; then
            vim $NOTE_FILE
        elif [[ $1 == "-s" ]]; then
            tail -"$2" $NOTE_FILE
        elif [[ $1 == "-h" || $1 == "--help" ]]; then
            printf "Make quick notes\nUsage:   nn [options|note]\n\t\t show notes from ${NOTE_FILE}\n\t-c\t clear ${NOTE_FILE}\n\t-e\t edit ${NOTE_FILE}\n\t-s  show last  lines\n"
        #add all arguments to file
            echo ">> $@" >> $NOTE_FILE
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