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How do you store, maintain, search and index documents, manuals and personal notes?

I, as a programmer regular collect api documentation, manuals, articles, code snippets and programming related documents (pdf, doc, ....). How to other programmers handle this situation?

I would like to setup a personal document management strategy on linux.

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first you need to learn how to tag things ... – user8228 Dec 1 '09 at 20:02

10 Answers 10

I just dump them in folders somewhere and let Beagledead handle them.

Beagle website dead.
Last archived copy: Source code at

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+1 easy to use and finds just about everything (that I care about anyways). Plus has KDE & GNome native front ends. – DaveParillo Dec 1 '09 at 23:32
The Beagle site is now dead, btw. I dunno if there's any development continuing, but the site is definitely gone. – nickf Nov 29 '11 at 23:20

I use a private TWiki web on my webserver. TWiki is available as a "managed application" from my hosting provider; all I've had to do has been to customize it to my liking. But I know from experience it's also pretty straightforward to install by hand.

That way the information's available to me anywhere - not just on the computer I happen to be using right now. And it works regardless if my current machine is running Linux, Windows, Macintosh, BSD, or UNIX... or anything else for that moment, so long as it has a "modern" browser.

  • TWiki topics can have attachments so that covers PDF format documentation.
  • TWiki topics can have links to web pages anywhere so that covers URL references.
  • TWiki topics can have embedded iframes so you can get straight to the content of other pages.
  • TWiki topics can have embedded html content as well as creole-ish wiki markup.
  • And of course TWiki's got great searching capabilities as well.

    There's nothing quite like knowing all that information is safely stored off on my website; my hard drive could crash out today and I'd be back in business by tonight.

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    I'm with Ken on just letting desktop search handle the messiness for me, I'm not that organized!

    I prefer Tracker over Beagle. It's a bit lighter weight. Metapackage is 'tracker'.

    Tracker integrates with Deskbar, Nautilus, Totem, Catfish, & Kio-find & more.

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    Another advantage of tracker is that it is still developed and is the standard. Beagle is more or less dead now that Novell sacked most of their desktop team. – Pridkett Dec 2 '09 at 2:13
    I didn't know that. go figure. – DaveParillo Dec 2 '09 at 7:02

    On the Mac I use Yojimbo, which rocks and does it all, with a great interface. On Linux, I use Tomboy for notetaking and lists, which is probably 60% of what I use Yojimbo for, but at the moment I'm just using bare directories for document management.

    Also, this topic is probably a good wiki candidate.

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    Have you tried Google Desktop for Linux? The Windows version is simply awesome.

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    Note that this was discontinued (and no longer available for download) since September 2011. – nickf Nov 29 '11 at 23:23

    I am using DokuWiki (wiki without db backend, just text and attached files) for three years, recently tried twiki (this seemed to me to be too slow, but it has wonderful plugins) and Redmine (more programming oriented - features, projects, bugs ... nicely integrates with svn/git repositories, has its own wiki).

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    I maintain a list of useful documentation links in my browser bookmarks. On top of that a Documentation folder on my hard drive for the small number of things not available online. Most times I just Google for the manual in question when I need it since maintaining a local copy of online manuals is a waste of space and more or less a loosing battle.

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    I use Evernote, and pay for the expanded service (though I used the free version for a very long time). Being able to email anything, add notes from various browsers, access from the Blackberry, etc. all make it worthwhile. The paid version holds attachments of all types, which I've found useful over time. That and it gets rid of the darn annoying ad. Probably why the ad is there in the first place.

    Using it from anywhere is a huge plus in my book. The web client lets me get at something if I'm on a strange and foreign computer.

    I do cleanup every couple weeks to move out anything I forgot to file in the archive once I'm done with it. I've tried to start a GTD organization with it, but I'm not organized enough for that yet. But I'm getting there...

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    I have a Dropbox account, and I place all my documentation, snippets, etc as files in directory structure.

    It has hierarchy and easily searchable with grep and find. Very low-tech and has very low "play with cool tools as procrastination" value, but it seems to do the job.

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    I had a look at tracker running on Ubuntu 9.04 and had index corruption. I like Google Desktop but i'm not sure what the implications are for a business environment.

    I'm going to try Tracker again on Ubuntu 9.10, maybe the bugs is fixed.

    I indexed my documents with Hyperestraier and setup a personal site with apache + userdir + cgi for a front end search. I works good, but it feels a bit over the top. Also your files need to be in your public_html dir otherwise the links does not work.

    Is there anything else out there for Linux?

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