Writer's Cafe Writing Software program for Linux

Has anyone used the program, Writer's Cafe? writerscafe dot co dot uk/ It is available in Windows and Linux.

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OSX too.

Just for the record, there's a dmg file for Mac OSX as well. :-) I'm downloading it as I type this.


What do you think?

Jon could you provide a short review of Writer's Cafe for OS X please. Followed the link in the original post and saw like you did that there was an OS X version but I was not impressed with the Windows-based screen shots (I expect better stuff on a Mac).


I launched it, clicked on one item, and a pdf opened up. Clicked on another item, and it changed the window to something that didn't seem to match what I thought the title of the button would have me to believe, and then, I couldn't find a way to get back to the main screen.... Since it didn't really interest me that much, and since it didn't seem to want to help me too much, I quit the app, and deleted its disk image. :-) Frankly, it did feel too much like a Windows app. I prefer Scrivener, to be blunt.



for your comment. Saved me some trouble. I was hoping it would be good as there are not a lot of writing programs out there for Linux.

Okay Jon...

I am going to try Scrivener. Of course being a Windows and Linux user, I have had to buy a Mac laptop. Someone had just listed a clamshell 466mhz, 320mb ram, 10gb hard drive blue and white with Tiger 10.4. I needed the 10.4 for the software. I got it just for writing. It had only been listed for 6 hours on a seven day list and I got it for the ridiculous price of 79.99 with free shipping! They had good feedback, so things should be okay. What do you think? It should work for writing, right??? Thanks for your help. Mary

potential issues

The 466 mhz is very much on the low side, esp. since it's a G3. My wife, though, still uses her 400mhz G3 Powerbook (codenamed the Pismo). But the real issue will likely be the 320 meg of RAM. If you only use this for writing, and stick with simple software, you should be ok, though. Don't go adding extras to it, and don't use it for going online, except for the most basic things. If you run one or two apps, you should be ok. One other suggestion would be to shut it down at night, and not let it run for days on end, as that will definitely show the weakness of your low RAM (and small hard drive).

I don't know if you will be looking for software other than Scrivener, but if you are, shout out. I've got lots of ideas. ;-)


Sure, this is new to me....

so I am grateful for any help you are willing to give. Thanks :)


I'm thinking word processing here, as an adjunct to Scrivener, of course.

For an older computer, AppleWorks is great, as it dates from this time period. You have to find it used on eBay or someplace else used. It's no longer made, and I don't recommend its replacement, Pages on this computer. Of course, due to its age, it may not be the best option. :-) But it's worth consideration.

There are some more modern apps to also consider. However, whatever you pick, you need to consider that they are able to export in rtf format. It's the best lowest-common-denominator file format, and quite powerful. In fact, a few of them, I believe, have made rtf their native format. The first one that comes to mind, in fact, is the text editor that comes with Tiger. It's creatively named "TextEdit." ;-) It's very simple (no margin control, etc.) but for quick bits, it can be ideal. However, I presume you will want more.

One of the more simple ones is Bean. it's free. But it is only a step above TextEdit.

Up higher on the totem pole, and much closer to a program like Word are two apps. They are Mariner and Nisus Writer Express and Mariner Write. I'm partial to Nisus, but Mariner is also a great app.

Those are the apps I recommend. :-)


Thanks so much

I will look into all of them. It will be fun learning a new OS! Right?! :)

So saying....

... it's not a Windows computer. ;-) Actually, from that, I speak from experience. I've used Macs since 1987. Ran DOS computers for a few years shortly after that, but jumped ship back to Macs in 93, and have never owned a Windows computer. In 2007, I discovered Linux, and have had a blast learning it, and especially several/many of the Linux distros. I even installed a commandline Darwin install (Darwin is the BSD-based underpinnings of OSX). :-) However, last year, I bought an MSI Wind netbook with Windows installed. Now, to say I've never _owned_ a Windows computer is not the same thing as never having _used_ one. In fact, I have been known to help my less-computer-savvy friends with their Windows installs. I know my way around Windows, but never had it on my own computer. So, I was rather looking forward to having my own Windows computer. First thing, the wireless didn't work! This is factory-fresh, mind you! I had to install updates to the driver to get it to work! That took me over an hour to figure out and fix. Next, I had weird problems happening. I finally figured out that it was one of those "utilities" demoware apps that Windows seems to always come with. I went and deleted them all except malware program (AWN?) I added a few things, and was amazed at how easy it was to sync it to my MobileMe account and I had all my addresses and calendar items on Windows! Cool! This went on for a couple days, but then one day when booting, Windows complained--said I hadn't shut down properly, when I know I did (I think I had installed Firefox, so restarted?) It "fixed" my hard drive, and essentially hosed everything. I could "run" Windows, but some apps no longer ran, and everything was flakey. I can assure you, I didn't use the computer enough to actually _do_ anything to it. It was my web browser, and that's all. :-( So, I made the fateful decision to try a reinstall. That didn't work (seriously, it hung, and wouldn't finish!) so I made the more fateful decision. I installed OSX on it, and Ubuntu Linux. I did Linux last, but used it first. Wireless didn't work, of course, but I fixed that in about 5 minutes! Other than that, it was flawless. OSX also installed flawlessly, but wireless didn't work, so I stuck with Ubuntu for several months until wireless drivers came out for OSX. Since then, I've upgraded my hard drive, and played with several versions of Linux and reinstalled Windows, but my main os is still MacOS on this guy.

All this for what? Learning new OSes is fun! But not Windows! ;-) I've used many different systems through the years, and of them all, Windows is the most inscrutable OS I've ever used. I think Microsoft engineers work overtime making it as opaque as possible, so that the average user will have to _pay_ somebody else to work on it for them. I really can't understand otherwise, why they do things as they do! And I laugh when I hear Windows users say that Linux is too difficult! If only they knew!!! ;-)


Too true...!

I have been with Windows since DOS 4. Through Windows 3.0 and the break through of Windows 3.1. I nearly made a suicide attempt during Windows 95! :) Then Windows 98 came out and stuck with it till Windows XP. As I look back at those years I have never thought using a computer was fun! I have always wondered what is going to break today. Then I tried Linux with Ubuntu 5 and I enjoyed it. I like the latest version of Ubuntu best. I am REALLY hoping that I can understand Mac X and enjoy it. If it goes well, then I will upgrade to a Mac Pro and deal with the cost to my budget! I was wondering. Can you install Mac X on any pc? I am thinking about My Toshiba M35x I bought in 2006. If I can, I may take it to the Mac repair shop in the next town, Idaho Falls. Anyway, thanks or all you help!!!!

Only if....

....you are ready to deal with all the issues you also face with Windows (namely driver issues--sound, video, internet, etc.) You see, the Mac OS is only made to work with Apple hardware--so forget about having an Apple store help you with it on your Toshiba--and not with anybody else's. In fact, it is arguable that installing it on non-Apple hardware breaks the license agreement contract. Certainly breaking the contract means no help from Apple. If you want to run away from hardware issues, I would only recommend Macs. In that, I would not forget to check out Apple's online store--but down toward the bottom, on the left, you will find a tiny item, called "Refurbished". That's where the best deals are.


I, too, have an MSI Wind

I, too, have an MSI Wind running Mac OS X - love it! Runs pretty flawlessly, a zippy little machine. I have it dual-booted with Win-doze, but rarely boot to it. Pretty much everything works except the camera, which works with iChat and a few other programs, but not Photobooth or Skype. Waiting for a driver or patch for the Bison webcam (ver. 0.03)
Good to know there are others out there who have found this little gem.


Are there different webcams put into these things? My webcam works just fine with both iChat, Skype and Photobooth. In fact, the past few weeks have been much better for us, thanks to Skype's webcam (My wife is in the States). Weird. I didn't know that. I knew there were two trackpads, but webcams?


Wind webcams

Yep, there are two webcams - actually more than two, I believe, but two Bison cams for sure. The earlier one, v.02, is the one that plays nice with pretty much everything. The more recent version, v.03 (which I have), must have skipped that lesson in kindergarten - it doesn't really get along with much of anything aside from iChat.
I figure a fix will come along soon (says the eternal optimist!)
Have you checked out the MSI Wind forum? I tried posting this earlier with a link and it disappeared, evidently taken by the link goblins...if you haven't been there yet, google it - it's got lots of great info.

MSIWind forums

Yes. In fact, I probably would not have bought my Wind had it not been for the forums, and certainly would not have been able to install Ubuntu and OSX without them. It's just that, since my webcam worked out of the box, I never read any of the posts about it, so I'm ignorant of that aspect of the Wind. It's kind of a bummer of a revelation, though. I was considering getting my wife a Wind, but if it has webcam issues, it sort of reduces its functionality when I or she is traveling. :-(



I used yWriter from Spacejock software (it's free). it doesn't have all the beginning writing stuff like this product does. It's more utilitarian but has many of the story boarding tools this one does.

If you use it write a review and I'll review the latest version of yWriter, deal?

Writer's Cafe

I spend about half my computer time in Linux (with the other half in Mac OS X), and I too have searched for decent writing software. Most word processors out there are fine for what they do, but they're really not built for how creative types often work.

I own both Scrivener and Writer's Cafe. The former is definitely more polished by way of look and feel, but is also more focussed on a particular sort of draft-to-final workflow (see Innowen's review). Writer's Cafe is more of a "creative workstation" of sorts. It's part trimmed-down word processor, part notebook, part research shoebox/scrapbook, part mind mapper, part plot tool (the index card plus timeline app), part character profile tool, and part inspiration generator. I'm being a little obtuse here with the latter, so I should explain: it comes with an ebook covering writing concepts and advice (great for beginning to intermediate writers), a series of inspirational quotes (a.k.a., "cookies"), instant writing prompts, writing timers (for those "you got 15 minutes, now WRITE!" exercises), and so forth. These can be quite handy for overcoming writer's block. It also has a built-in desktop interface for linking to your word processor and other external programs. While I don't personally find much use in the desktop, nor the "stress buster" game, I have no doubt that some writers might find them useful.

In short, it's a hybrid application that may prove very useful to many different types of writers. As a bonus, it runs on Linux, Mac OS X and Windows (among other OSes), and even has the ability to be run from a USB thumbdrive. The lead developer, Julian, is quite a nice chap and is very helpful.

The only downside of the application that I can see is a certain lack of graphical polish. Due in part to its development kit (or that's my theory), it has a certain "Windows 98" era visual sensibility. Anthemion is not a big shop that can afford fancy design services, and this application is quite polished in terms of functionality, so I'm more than happy to overlook the interface graphics in return for a mature piece of software driven by two passionate individuals who truly care about their craft. As long as it works well, I don't need fancy glass icons.

Hope that helps. If you're a writer of any type, it certainly wouldn't hurt to give the trial version of Writer's Cafe a try. I did, and was quite happy to purchase a sophisticated product that supports writers on Linux.

all my best,

Thanks for the great review

I somehow missed this post when I posted the online reviews. Thanks for your review. I'm curious which program you personally like better, Scrivener or Writer's Cafe?



Scrivener too

I'm not a WritersCafe user but looking at the web site I'll stick with Scrivener. WritersCafe is targeted deliberately at writers of fiction whereas Scrivener is aimed at general writing activities: be that fiction, academic papers, scripts, notes, or whatever. While there are some features (time line and character profiles) in WritersCafe that might help "novelists" these would be wasted when working on other genres. And other features available in Scrivener would needed.

On those occasions when I have written novels (none published) each text has been different and required fundamentally different approaches. In this a follow Lawerence Block's advice in his excellent book "Writing the Novel: From Plot to Print".

I wouldn't say no to WritersCafe if it were all that's was available but I'd want Scrivener.

I found some good online reviews


I'm going to download it and give it a try, thanks for pointing it out. I've never heard of it before. I read it was created by a husband and wife, the husband is a software developer and the wife is an author with some books to her credit.

I've been having a very

I've been having a very quick dabble with Writers Cafe and I have to say it looks like a good piece of software for planning and developing ideas etc. I haven't delved very far but over the next couple of weeks I am going to play around with it.

I also found another piece of software (did some random Googling) called Jarte (it's free but has a paid for pro version - around £13.00). It is a basic word processor that allows you to have a number of tabbed pages - a bit like One Note I think - and save these as "personalities" or projects to you and me. Anyway it's very simple and looks easy to use and I wondered if anyone had had any experience of it for planning or writing?

I use it for my diary

I think it's too limited for writing novels, but I find it handy to use for my diary because it has an 'automatically reopen last file' feature, so I click on it, hit F5 to insert time & date, and start typing.


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