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Linux for Users: A Bulletin Board Window for Notes

A Wboard with Wnotes memos.
A Wboard with Wnotes memos.

This piece did not set out to re-define the term, "computer bulletin board," but that is the easiest way to describe Wboard, a window that provides a background for text notes and allows you to manage and save groups of notes easily.

Wboard is designed to be easy to install and use. You can download it by clicking on the link below, then use, "tar," to unpack the file, and follow the instructions to build the program with the usual, "make," and, "make install," shell commands. Wboard, like many programs that use the basic X Window System libraries, does not require much extra software. You'll need to install the X library header files, which all Linux distributions offer as an optional package. If you haven't yet installed them, Look for the suffix, "dev," or, "devel," in X11 section of the distribution's package directory.

The notes we have discussed previously. They are Wnotes, and you can find the description and instructions to download and install Wnotes here, and you can also download the source code from the link below.

The more recent versions Wnotes have acquired the capability to interact with a Wboard window. So you'll need version 1.3 or later of Wnotes.

Essentially, when you open a note, it looks for an open Wboard window. If it finds one, it uses Wboard as its parent window. The note also periodically checks the status of the Wboard window. When you close a Wboard window, it updates its own status, and each note interprets that to mean, "save your configuration and exit," which the wnote program does by acting as if you had used the, "-c," command line option when you started the program. The Wboard window does not close until all of the note windows have saved themselves and exited.

Even if a Wboard window is open, you can still open note windows independently, by using the, "-i," option.

The only other difference in the way a Wnote window acts is that when you click on the close box, in the upper-left hand corner, and the note is within a Wboard window, it closes the note immediately, without waiting for the Wboard window to signal that the note should save itself. In effect, it deletes the note completely.

The Wboard program is not very monolithic. It stores notes as one-line text files, and provides you with a personal note directory, "$HOME/.wnotes;" that is, the, ".wnotes," directory under your home directory. The note directory doesn't show up in normal directory listings unless you use, "ls -a," command, but you can, "cd," to it, and then work with the note records (after you've closed the Wboard window) as normal files. You can edit them, copy them up to back ups, send them to other users, and do anything else that you can do with text documents.

The manual pages for, "wnote," and, "wboard," describe the options of each completely. For ideas about how to extend these programs, you can look at articles here and elsewhere that discuss shell scripting and various UNIX and Linux file utilities.

Of course, you should back up the notes if you're going to use them to store important information. The, "wboard," program is meant to be simple, it's new , and neither, "wboard," nor, "wnotes," make any claim to being bullet proof. Perhaps the easiest way to keep your notes secure is to start, "wboard," from shell script that also copies the notes to a backup directory, and can restore them if necessary. However, the program is in constant use here, and the program is going to be updated frequently, so it's possible that if you notice a bug, it will be fixed quickly.


 Last updated on August 28, 2012

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Comments 1 comment

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