a non-geek's blog

Random notes on linux and web development

5 ways you can draw a mind map in Linux

with 19 comments

Brain mapping is a graphic way to identify different parts of an issue or to plan steps or consequences of an action.
Experts say mind mapping makes information easier to remember and makes studying more enjoyable.
If you are a fan of mind mapping, you could use specific software to create mind maps. Here are 5 ways to draw a mind map:


FreeMind is a premier free mind-mapping  software written in Java. The recent development has hopefully turned it into high productivity tool. We are proud that the operation and navigation of FreeMind is faster than that of MindManager because of one-click “fold / unfold” and “follow link” operations.

In my opinion, FreeMind is the most advanced mind-mapping
software available for linux. I’m not a Java-based software fun so I don’t use it too much.

Some Features:

  • following of HTML links stored in the nodes
  • supports folding
  • fast one-click navigation
  • undo
  • smart Drag’n Drop
  • smart copying and pasting into
  • export of map to HTML
  • use and edit long multiline nodes
  • built-in icons, colors and different fonts
  • maps in XML format
  • file mode enables you to browse the files on your computer, seeing the folder structure as mind map

VYM (View Your Mind)

VYM (View Your Mind) is a tool to generate and manipulate maps which show your thoughts. Such maps can help you to improve your creativity and effectively. You can use them for time management, to organize tasks, to get an overview over complex contexts, to sort your ideas etc.
VYM is not another drawing software, but a tool to store and modify information in an intuitive way. For example you can reorder parts of the map by pressing a key or add various information like a complete email by a simple mouse click.

This software was made having in mind simplicity. The graphic elements (icons and emoticons) available in VYM are not so many as in FreeMind. That is not necessary a weak spot, because many prefer to use their own  graphical elements, it gives you freedom and that is, finally, a more personalized mind map. I prefer simplicity, and that is way, VYM is the tool I use.
Some Features:

  • import of Freemind maps
  • function to export from tomboy to vym
  • export to CSV spreadsheet
  • copy from past steps in history to current one
  • autosave
  • simple Editor for scripts
  • syntax highlighting for editor
  • undo
  • following of HTML links stored in the nodes
  • export of map to HTML or XML
  • fast one-click navigation


Semantik (previously Kdissert) is a mindmapping-like tool to help students to produce complicated documents very quickly and efficiently : presentations, dissertations, thesis, reports. While targeted mostly at students, Kdissert can also help teachers, decision maker, engineers and businessmen. Semantik is also available exclusively for Linux and other free operating systems.
Though this application shares some similarities with general-purpose mindmapping tools like Freemind or Vym, the very first goal of Semantik is to create general-purpose documents through the use of mindmaps.

This tool is somewhat different from the previous presented, being, IMHO of course, less intuitive then the previous two. Anyway, as the author of the application put it, Semantik it is much more suited to writing whole documents (”dissertations”), allowing writing long text on each node.

Some Features:

  • undo
  • tree view with integrated search
  • export in several common formats
  • add text and attachments for each item
  • add diagrams
  • supports pictures


Labyrinth is a lightweight mind-mapping tool, written in Python using Gtk and Cairo to do the drawing. It is intended to be as light and intuitive as possible, but still provide a wide range of powerful features.

As previously stated, Labyrinth is (very) lightweight tool, meaning that only the basic features are available. Comparing Labyrinth with FreeMind is like comparing  TuxPaint with Gimp. If you  want to draw very fast a very simple mind-map and nothing more, than Labyrinth is the perfect tool for you.

Char Tr

CharTr is an artistically software realized just for the fun of programming. It’s a fork of labyrinth 0.3. Inspiration sources are vym and vim :) . But apart from being artistic, it tries to give an answer to the problem of mind mapping, and aims to usability.

If you thought trying Labyrinth, then you might as well give Char Tr a try.

UPDATE: Here are another three mind-mapping apps (based on Java) recommended by readers, that can be run on Linux:

Xmind (“The world’s coolest brainstorming and mind mapping software and the best way to share ideas.)



If you know other mind-mapping tools, please mention them.

Written by nongeekboy

August 27, 2008 at 8:02 am

19 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. You can always use sth like http://www.mindmeister.com/


    August 27, 2008 at 9:26 am

  2. Aha, it’s a online tool. I’ll have a look. Thanks Night!


    August 27, 2008 at 9:39 am

  3. A Mind Map is simply a way of putting that structure down on paper. Java Programming

    Java Programming

    August 27, 2008 at 9:50 am

  4. You could also look at PersonalBrain ( http://www.thebrain.com )


    August 27, 2008 at 10:14 pm

  5. Cool :D
    I’m used to draw my own map, I’m going to try FreeMind and VYM.


    August 28, 2008 at 12:17 am

  6. Don’t forget the free tool Compendium from OpenLearn, here:


    Rob Mitchell

    August 28, 2008 at 1:45 am

  7. I have a list of all mind mapping software here:

    You can filter by map format and operating system.

    The master list of mind mapping &
    information management software

    Vic Gee

    August 28, 2008 at 6:13 am

  8. @Al and Rob
    Thanks guys for your suggestions, I will try both applications (didn’t know about those two)!

    To be honest, I think it’s more interesting to draw your own mind map on a paper, but let’s face it, it’s more comfortable, easy and fast to use the computer (at least you don’t have to gather all the pencils in the house on your table).


    August 28, 2008 at 6:15 am

  9. Try http://bubbl.us for an online version, where you can save your work, password protect it, invite other “brainstormers,” etc.

    Cool post!


    August 28, 2008 at 12:46 pm

  10. What about kdissert?

    Jason B.

    September 1, 2008 at 6:37 am

  11. Kdissert is now known as Semantik (it is mentioned in the post too). See http://freehackers.org/~tnagy/kdissert.html for more information.


    September 1, 2008 at 11:41 am

  12. […] | user-saved public links | iLinkShare 4 votes5 ways you can draw a mind map in Linux>> saved by ravenofanime 1 days ago3 votes68 Seconds Of Pure Thought: Visualize In 4 Creative Ways>> […]

  13. […] Allah Aboard: Give Peter King a Piece of Your Free Mind Saved by GothChick360 on Thu 02-10-2008 5 ways you can draw a mind map in Linux Saved by niphonese on Wed 01-10-2008 Mindmapping with FreeMind Saved by masterchef on Mon […]

  14. Thanks :)


    November 28, 2008 at 9:53 am

  15. My favorite one is freemind and I’m quite happy with it. It is available for windows and linux as well.

    Cheers :-)


    December 19, 2008 at 11:34 am

  16. Have you looked at XMind?


    December 29, 2008 at 4:17 pm

  17. […] Style Tab saved by Foomandoonian2009-01-04 – links for 2008-10-20 saved by smartia2009-01-04 – 5 ways you can draw a mind map in Linux saved by LesHorizons2008-12-28 – O, The Oprah Magazine Suggests Using a Mind Map saved by […]

  18. thx a loooooooooooooooooooooot

    that’s exactly what I need


    June 4, 2010 at 8:02 am

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 274 other followers

%d bloggers like this: