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Linux writing setup, FTW! · 9:48am Dec 14th, 2020

Just thought I'd share what my current writing setup looks like these days. There's been a lot of changes since the last time I uploaded such a thing. These days, I finally got around to switching to open source, and know I'm running a pretty customized version of Kubuntu Linux. It is not good for gaming with any kind of good graphics -- at least not with 6 monitors running off of 3 video cards! -- but that's not what my writing computer is for, anyway. Not that I did all that much gaming before on Windows. Thankfully, though, my favorite game (OpenRCT2) works great natively on Linux!

For a little explanation of what you can see here:

My main monitor is the center bottom one, where I have the main document of the story I'm working on ... with OpenOffice, which was already my favorite writing program even before going to Linux. And fun colors and fun fonts because writing is more fun that way.

The one in the top center is my time tracking sheet, which I always have open. It's a combination of to-do list, schedule, and tracking sheet to make sure I get as many writing hours as I intend to.

The one on the top left is where I usually have my working folder(s) open, whichever part of my very organized writing files I'm working with at the moment. Right now, it's also showing the cover image of the story I'm working on.

The one on the top right always has a few things: the system monitor at the top (partly transparent so as to be less distracting), the stopwatch program that tracks my writing time, and just another clock I can use when anything is fullscreen on the main screen. In this screenshot, it also has one of the notes files from this project open.

The bottom left and bottom right are both being used for more notes files in this project. (It's a really big project with lots of notes.) Bottom left is my standard place to put my notes/plan/outline of whatever project I'm working on -- the vertical screen is great for that -- and the bottom right is just extra. Oh, and by the way -- that text editor is Kate, and it's utterly awesome. Note the purple lines along the left side -- those indicate lines of text that have been modified and saved since the window was opened. Lines that have been modified but not saved yet show up with a green line next to them. And the tiny lines of text along the right side? That's actually a scrollbar, using a tiny preview image of the text file as the scrollbar itself, complete with little bits of purple or green to indicate if it's changed or saved.

Now ... that's a lot to have open at once. Opening and closing all of that every time I want to write must be a pain, right?
But that's when one of the beautiful things about Linux comes into play: multiple workspaces. If you look at the main (bottom center) screen, at the bottom left part of the taskbar, you see the numbers 1-5 with some little boxes in some of them? Those are 5 different workspaces, and the boxes in them are open windows in each one. I can switch between them with one click ... which means all these writing-related windows can come or go in one click. Besides having thumbnail previews of text files, it's probably my favorite thing about Linux. Makes it super-easy to have multiple projects and side-projects open at once, being easy to switch between them whenever I need to. Oh, and another favorite thing: just about everything in Linux has a 'night mode', and I'm really starting to enjoy that!

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Comments ( 14 )


Welcome to Linux, it's better in every way (unless you play AAA games, or use a VR headset, or are a student and are forced to use spyware like Respondus).

Open Office? I thought everyone ditched that for Libre Office back when Oracle bought out Sun. Assuming you didn’t misspeak, you might want to switch. It’s a more modern fork of OOo.

I started writing in OpenOffice after I finished school, when my subscription to Microsoft Word expired. I’ve never heard of Libre Office, but I’m content with OpenOffice currently; is Libre Office free to use?

Yes, Linux is a thing of beauty. Also, thank you for calling it just "Linux."

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It is LibreOffice in the screencap. And yes, LibreOffice is free software, in both the "you don't have to pay" sense and the "you're free to do what you want with it" sense.

Libre Office is a more up to date fork (they copied an older version of OO, and kept updating and expanding it since it's an open-souce program) of Open Office

Heh. Not my first time with Linux. I used to run SuSE way back in the early-mid 2000's.
But yeah, things have come a long way since then!

Yeah, that was a misspeak. :facehoof: It's LibreOffice.
I confused myself because I had OpenOffice back when I was on Windows, and I got used to that. (I once tried LibreOffice for Windows, and it wouldn't work for me. Always crashed on startup.)


I once tried LibreOffice for Windows, and it wouldn't work for me. Always crashed on startup.

:applejackconfused: That’s odd. Which version of Windows and LO was this?


It is LibreOffice in the screencap.

Eh. It was a 4K screen shot and I didn’t care enough to check it.

Also, thank you for calling it just "Linux."

Oooh! Oblig. copypasta time!

I'd just like to interject for a moment. What you're referring to as Linux, is in fact, GNU/Linux, or as I've recently taken to calling it, GNU plus Linux. Linux is not an operating system unto itself, but rather another free component of a fully functioning GNU system made useful by the GNU corelibs, shell utilities and vital system components comprising a full OS as defined by POSIX.

Many computer users run a modified version of the GNU system every day, without realizing it. Through a peculiar turn of events, the version of GNU which is widely used today is often called "Linux", and many of its users are not aware that it is basically the GNU system, developed by the GNU Project.

There really is a Linux, and these people are using it, but it is just a part of the system they use. Linux is the kernel: the program in the system that allocates the machine's resources to the other programs that you run. The kernel is an essential part of an operating system, but useless by itself; it can only function in the context of a complete operating system. Linux is normally used in combination with the GNU operating system: the whole system is basically GNU with Linux added, or GNU/Linux. All the so-called "Linux" distributions are really distributions of GNU/Linux.

Plasma has got to be my all time favorite Desktop environment. It's just so sleek and modern. It's miles better than Windows 10, though the spectre of software incompatibility and poor power optimization has never let me get past dual boot territory :P

Win 8.1 with a lot of aftermarket crap and the update system disabled.
Frankly, a lot of stuff didn't work on it ... including anything with .NET dependencies, no matter how many times I tried installing .NET.

Eh, there's only one software that didn't transfer over perfectly: Final Draft. But that's not even my primary screenwriting software. I only need it for a couple functions that other programs don't have or don't do well. So it lives in a shitty little VM windows installation that I rarely run.

personally using libre office on windows to, happy with it for what i need :3

If your windows VM isn't "activated" and you want it to be, there's a tool here that you can run which activates your installation. It's also able to upgrade to pro and enterprise versions if you're into that

I might have installed it with the same old pre-cracked version of 8.1 that I'd been running as my main OS before this. Whoever made that installer was excellent, and it just does all that garbage during installation.

Seriously, though, it's only there to do a couple of the more esoteric screenplay formatting tasks. Very rarely needed.

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