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Open Source Resources for Online Writers

May 3, 2008

Ms Laun at jobprofiles.org lists 50 open-source resources for online writer. Some of them I know, some not. These tools are useful not only for writers but also for anyone who needs to write sometime. Below is my comment regarding the choices of softwares.

Word Processors:

yWriter and RoughDraft are specialized in story or screenplay writing.
NotePad++ is better for programming (unless you use it to write in LaTeX)
WikidPad and TiddlyWiki should be placed in the category of Organization for note taking.

Reference:

For dictionary and thesaurus, StarDict is more updated and available in multiple platforms. JaLingo is new to me, but it hasn’t been updated since 2006. I heard of WordWeb from Lifehacker but at that time many commenters didn’t like its licensing statement. Another choice is JWord.

For citations and references, it’s pity that the author didn’t include Zotero, which is more convenient, easy to use yet powerful tool than Bibus. For academic writing with LaTeX, one should try JabRef (Read related posts JabRef vs Zotero and Manage with JabRef).

I’m quite interested in Reserach Assistant, but I couldn’t find more detailed information about how to use this software. When I downloaded it to try, it gave me some error message. :?

Organization:

It’s really strange that the author puts Lyx in this category. Lyx is a WYSWYM TeX/LaTeX word processor , not a organization tool.

EverNote (free version) is quite useful tool for note taking and online researching. However, I prefer KeyNote (not maintained any more), a tabbed notebook and tree-structure editor. I tried TreePad before (even the Business version) but it still lacks the tabbed feature in KeyNote (See my Note-Taking post).

Useful Tools:

The author suggests ASuite for launching portable documents. I would suggest PortableApps, where you can find lots of free tools that can be run from your USB thumb drive. The site has packed two suites (standard & lite) for easy installation.

Tellico is a KDE application for organizing your collections. Also check my post “Personal Library Organizer Softwares” for other choices.

PDF Creator is very useful to produce PDF files from any documents or images.

Inkscape is a vector graphic editor. I am quite interested in this software. Look forward to 0.47 for better PDF export.
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Web Tools:

It’s also strange to see TrueCrypt here, instead of in “Useful Tools”. If I want to send something encrypted to friends or colleagues, I wouldn’t use this. This tool is best for encrypting files/folders in your hard drives (or complete partition) and in portable USB drives (with some limitation).

GIMP is a scalar graphic editor, a poor-man (in terms of money not the features) Photoshop. Shouldn’t it be listed in “Useful Tools” with Inkscape?

NVU is good (used it before) but has been postponed for update. Try KompoZer instead.

(via Daily Writing Tips)

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