Are there any programs out there that:

  • Allows me to take notes (preferably including multimedia)
  • Syncs notes between clients without using a server not controlled by me*
  • Supports Linux and Android (and other OSs, if possible)?
  • The data format should be open, preferably standardised, and ideally text-based (markdown?).

* I'm happy to run my own light-weight server, but P2P would be preferable. I'm not interested in web-based note-taking software.


4 Answers 4


ownCloud can be setup on your Linux machine. It supports a lot more than just notes (I use it e.g. for my calendars and contacts, so no Google here for that).

Then there are several apps supporting the ownCloud notes components, e.g. My Own Notes (also available at F-Droid) and MortNotes. I have not used the notes component with Android yet, just on the "Linux end": ownCloud runs as a web service, so you can access (and edit/organize) your contacts, calendars, notes, etc. from within a web-browser anywhere. The notes component supports Markdown, which not only gives you the possibility to well-structure your documents, but also to include/link to multimedia files.

To match this solution against your requirements:

  • it allows you to take notes, to a degree with multimedia as well
  • syncs without the need of a third party's server
  • Supports Linux and Android, and many other OSses (as long as they have a browser and a network connection, you could at least always fall-back to that ;)
  • The data format is open, and even better: it is Markdown.

As you write, you're "not interested in web-based note-taking software." I hope you don't mind if that is avaiable, too – as long as you have the other parts covered as well :)

I'm sorry I must pass on the Linux editor here. I'm pretty sure there was one, but never having the need for it, I don't remember which one it was. As ownCloud also supports, to a degree, OpenOffice/LibreOffice documents (read and write), I could name those; but you couldn't call them "light-weight"... As ownCloud supports WebDav, you could use that to access your files (including the notes), and use an editor like ReText – which offers a live preview to see what you type, PDF export, and more – of course, working with Markdown. I'm using this editor (and can recommend it by heart), but I've not tried to access ownCloud notes this way – so I cannot tell for sure how that works together (but am confident it does well).

  • +1, covers most of the bases, but I have looked in to it before, and it feels like overkill for what I want. I might go and check it out again at some point though.
    – naught101
    Commented Jan 25, 2015 at 22:18
  • If you feel that an overkill, you could just go with any leight-weight WebDav server – and ReText on Linux plus MortNotes on Android. That might remove the "Web FrontEnd from anywhere" option, though.
    – Izzy
    Commented Jan 25, 2015 at 23:32
  • Yeah, that might be worth a go. Not really interested in a web front end, if I can access it from any device anyway - it's just one more avenue for security holes.
    – naught101
    Commented Jan 26, 2015 at 0:11

Bittorrent Sync

BTSync covers all your bases. You can sync what you want and how much you want, limited only by your bandwidth and hard drive space. No real dependence on 3rd-party servers, and cross-platform. This way you can use any program that has a version or compatible app for the platforms you want to interoperate with. Works over LAN as well, and transfers are encrypted.

  • Yeah, but syncthing does the same thing, and it's open source.
    – naught101
    Commented Jan 26, 2015 at 21:57
  • I didn't like syncthing and don't really recommend it yet.
    – Tanath
    Commented Jan 26, 2015 at 22:43
  • They do basically the same thing - here's a basic comparison. (note pulse==Syncthing). What would cause you not to recommend it over BTSync?
    – naught101
    Commented Jan 27, 2015 at 0:12
  • It was months ago when I tried it, but it wasn't very polished and had issues I don't recall off the top of my head. It was more difficult to connect devices. Connection didn't work in some situations where it would "just work" with BTSync.
    – Tanath
    Commented Jan 27, 2015 at 1:22
  • Fair enough. I haven't had those problems, but connecting devices using the (very long) has can be a bit annoying. Discovery over local networks seems to work now though.
    – naught101
    Commented Jan 27, 2015 at 1:23

Posting this because it does work, and I haven't yet seen a better option.

syncthing + vim

I'm already used to using vim to edit text files, so that gives me my todo list and notes. Vim is available for Linux/Windows/OSX and other desktop OSs.

VimTouch (available via the F-droid and the PlayStore) works surprisingly well on android, even without a physical keyboard.

Syncthing is a a P2P sharing app that works in a similar way to BTSync, but is completely open source. Syncthing is available for Linux/Windows/OSX and other desktop OSs, and there is a third-party android app available via F-droid and the PlayStore.


You can consider using NoteCase Pro (http://www.notecasepro.com). If features its own sync server application that you can run on your own PC. Note that Android synchronization is in the works, but you can test sync feature on desktop.

Program is cross platform (Windows, OS X, Linux, BSD, Solaris, Android), multi-language, supports rich text, tagging, tasks, attachments, spellchecking, encryption, custom features using scripts/plugins. And it imports files of many other outliner programs.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.