Simple Opensource alternative to OneNote and EverNote – OpenNote

If you are looking for an alternative to Evernote or Microsoft OneNote, I’ve previously introduced Laverna that is in my opinion a very good alternative to OneNote or Evernote. However its installation might be a little complicated and you might be looking for a simple open web based note taking.

And this is where OpenNote fits best!

OpenNote was built directly as a replacement of OneNote/EverNote with a very simple to use interface.

It includes the following features:

  • Full WYSIWYG editor
  • Touch friendly web interface
  • Upload manager
  • Multi user support
  • Note History
  • Search
  • Notes easy management (Drag and drop, …)
  • Themes

while still being a lightweight alternative.

OpenNote screenshot

Currently MySQL and SQLite are supported, but it seems they are working (or at least considering) PostgreSQL too.

You can actually try directly their demo to give you a good idea of the simplicity, yet good enough tool.

Let’s not present further… install it!


Not sure I need to mention it at every article, but you need a webserver such as Apache but also MySQL and PHP. If you don’t have it, you can read my article on LAMP.

1) Clone their git master branch into your /var/www

The best to get the latest master version is to use git and to clone their repo.

If you don’t have git install, simply run as root (or with sudo):

apt-get install git

and now clone OpenNote branch into your /var/www folder

cd /var/www
git clone

Or simply download their latest zip and extract it.

2) Create a dedicated MySQL database/user/password called OpenNoteIf you don’t know how to do it, you could simply use PHPMyAdmin, or Adminer.

3) Run the OpenNote/model/sql/notebook.sql in your OpenNote databaseEither you know what you are doing and use directly mysql command line, or you prefer to use PHPMyAdmin, go to your newly created database and on the SQL tab SQL buttonSimply copy/paste the notebook.sql. (You can use the one available on git directly) and run it.

4) Change the database connection information inside the OpenNote/Config.php file

nano OpenNote/OpenNote/Config.php

and modify the part:

               $dbUserName = "notebook";
               $dbPassword = "password";
               $dbServer = "";
               $dbName = "notebook";

And that’s it, you should now have access to your OpenNote application through:
http://YourIP/OpenNote/OpenNote (If through git)Next step (optional) will be to force HTTPS connections and have a friendly subdomain name instead of your this long URL.

Virtualhost configuration

What you will need:

1) Create a A redirection in your DNS server/registrar with on.domain.tld to your IP

2) Have SSL certificate ready. If not you can read this tutorial. (Optional)

3) Create your virtualhost as following:

In /etc/apache2/sites-enabled/, create a file called OpenNote (In root):

nano /etc/apache2/sites-enabled/OpenNote

and paste the following content:

<VirtualHost *:80>
        ServerAdmin webmaster@domain.tld
        ServerName on.domain.tld
        Redirect / https://on.domain.tld

<IfModule mod_ssl.c>
<VirtualHost *:443>
        SSLEngine on
        SSLCertificateFile /etc/ssl/certs/myblog.pem
        SSLCertificateKeyFile /etc/ssl/private/myblog.key

        ServerAdmin webmaster@domain.tld
        ServerName on.domain.tld

        DocumentRoot /var/www/OpenNote/OpenNote
        <Directory />
                Options FollowSymLinks
                AllowOverride All
        <Directory /var/www/OpenNote/OpenNote>
                Options Indexes FollowSymLinks MultiViews
                AllowOverride All
                Order allow,deny
                allow from all

Adapt the content (Servername, webmaster, SSL certificate and directory).

When done, save the file (CTRL+X then Yes) and reload apache: (In root)

/etc/init.d/apache2 reload

You should now be all set and ready to use OpenNote service in a more secure and friendly way!

If you need some support, you can post comments here (I’ll  see if I can help), or directly post a message in their issues tracker.

forget, so take notes!


Loves to discover web-based apps to install on his own server@home and write articles about it


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