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Integrating Standard Notes into Linux

Standard Notes is a simple and private note taking app that is both cross-platform and fully open source. I made the plunge to try out Standard Notes Extended and so far I’m loving it! In this article I will show you how you can integrate the Standard Notes Linux AppImage so that you can launch it in pretty much any desktop environment.

Why Standard Notes?

This isn’t a promotional blog post or anything. You may know that in an earlier post, I made a video showing how you can use Epiphany to create a Notion web app. Notion is another note taking client but after discovering their privacy policy and the access they give to their employees (i.e. direct access to notes), it’s worried me a bit. I’ve known Standard Notes for quite some time now but it was a hard to swallow their subscription plan. That said, they do have a relatively sustainable plan where you can commit from 1 or 5 years and basically get a huge discount.

Standard Notes is designed around encryption and privacy. They have done security audits and reading their blog on how they encrypt, not to mention the entire system being 100% open-source, it’s something I can trust. It gives me the peace of mind and from a productivity standpoint, it’s quite a joy to use.

My Standard Notes note-taking setup!

Running AppImages

Standard Notes comes with an AppImage which is similar to a Flatpak or Snap where the application is basically sandboxed. Sandboxing is where an application has restricted access to system services, libraries and resources. For instance, the Discord Flatpak can’t see my running tasks and can only see my Downloads directory.

When you go to Standard Notes’ website and download the Linux app, you simply download it and launch it. If it doesn’t launch the first time, you may have to right-click on the executable and allow the executing the file as a program.

Nautilus file manager, make sure “Execute: Allow executing file as program” is checked.

Depending on your distribution and desktop environment, it may actually do the integration for you. Manjaro for instance allows AppImages to be installed and you can launch it from your application menu or whatever have you. On Fedora and I’m guessing a lot of other distros (specifically ones that use GNOME), you can’t just double-click and have it automatically installed into your system.

Integrating Standard Notes

Now we come to integrating Standard Notes into our system. You want to create a file inside the ~/.local/share/applications/ directory called standard-notes.desktop. The file name doesn’t matter but to keep it consistent, we’ll use that.

You want to put the downloaded AppImage file somewhere where you won’t move it around. I keep downloaded AppImages in ~/Downloads/software . I would also recommend that you rename the AppImage to something like standard-notes.AppImage

To edit the standard-notes.desktop file, you can either use a terminal text editor or whatever you have. Simply navigate or cd into the “~/.local/share/applications” directory and create that file. Then, paste the following contents:

[Desktop Entry]
Encoding=UTF-8
Name=Standard Notes
Comment=A Simple And Private Notes App
Exec=<PATH-TO-APPIMAGE>
Icon=standard-notes
StartupWMClass=Standard Notes
Type=Application
Categories=Office;

Of course, you want to replace <PATH-TO-APPIMAGE> with the path to the Standard Notes AppImage. For me, it will look like this:

[Desktop Entry]
Encoding=UTF-8
Name=Standard Notes
Comment=A Simple And Private Notes App
Exec=/home/berk/Downloads/software/standard-notes.AppImage
Icon=standard-notes
StartupWMClass=Standard Notes
Type=Application
Categories=Office;

Once done, save it and you should be able to launch Standard Notes from your start/app menu. If you’re on GNOME, simply press super or start (what do we call it these days? 😀 ) and type the name of the app.

There it is!

That’s it, happy editing. If you have any questions, feel free to drop a comment below. Hope this helps!

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