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Microsoft Releases Free Edition of OneNote 208

Posted by timothy
from the gratis-not-libre-of-course dept.
yakatz writes "Microsoft announced that OneNote, including the full desktop program, will be free for anyone who wants to use the program. A version of the program for Mac also appeared in the app store yesterday. This means that a native edition of OneNote is available for most platforms (including iPad, iPhone and Android, but not Linux or Blackberry). Microsoft will continue to offer a paid version of OneNote with 'business-oriented' features (including SharePoint support, version history and Outlook integration). The partial rebranding of OneNote also includes some new tools like a program specifically designed to make it easier to take a picture of a whiteboard.
Is this a signal that Microsoft decided that they need to compete with Apple by making their productivity applications free?"
(Over at WineHQ, they're looking for a maintainer for their page on OneNote. Anyone running it on a Free operating system? What are your favorite alternatives that are "libre" free, rather than only gratis?)
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Microsoft Releases Free Edition of OneNote

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  • Jeez, basic tools to use a computer coming with the operating system? Do they have any other genius ideas?

    • Perhaps you're not old enough to remember it but back when MS was evil they caught all kinds of hell for giving away free things with their OS.

  • I might have been living under a rock, but I have no idea whatsoever what OneNote is and it is entirely unclear from the submission. Would it be too hard to mention this?
    • by danbuter (2019760) on Tuesday March 18, 2014 @12:23PM (#46516701)
      OneNote is kind of like a heavy-duty yellow sticky program, where you can link everything together incredibly easily. It's one of the best organizational programs out there, for people like writers, etc. I honestly think it's one of the best products MS owns.
      • by Russ1642 (1087959)

        I must have been using it wrong. When I tried it I found it to be a big disorganized mess.

      • by Gothmolly (148874)

        So exactly what are "people like writers, etc." ?

      • Lab notebook too. It's similar to evernote.
    • by rahvin112 (446269) on Tuesday March 18, 2014 @12:48PM (#46516989)

      It's easily one of the most flexible and IMO best products MS has ever produced. The problem is with the amount the charged for it it becomes almost worthless and it received almost no traction because MS didn't give a rats ass about it. Think evernote without the ever portion but far more flexible and with an office type interface. It's been around for more than a decade, had MS been innovative they would have been evernote, except probably far larger more widespread and in nearly every single enterprise. Instead the product was a redheaded stepchild inside MS.

      But it's always been handicapped by MS's policies of not supporting non-windows and all the typical lockout and other games they've played their entire existence. It's because of this, onenote outside small niche's has seen very little uptake and almost no one knows about it.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by udippel (562132)

        Absolutely!! - Mod one this up; the most insightful comment until here, AFAICS!

        Trouble is, being a 100% FOSS-person, there is no close replacement, sorry. Tomboy is comparatively tomfoolery.
        Parent is also right about the prohibitive price. OneNote is the only software that I'd say is unavailable on *nix, that I'd really like to have.
        My partner is an academician and for her, this software is a must.

        Haha, the article says it will be available on *droid, so I'd have it!? Or the usual test or evaluation version

    • by movdqa (1122661)
      The current Mac OS X similar product is Growly Notes, written by a former Microsoft Word developer who now develops Mac OS X Apps. I use Growly Notes extensively for home and work stuff. I put my status information for my projects, record what I do daily and copy in Specs, emails, pictures, PDFs, etc. You can drag in videos, audio files and documents. The program will sync to other computers running the same software as well. I put my tax information in there which makes it easier to do my taxes. I have col
  • Does OneNote store my data in someone's cloud, or can I store my data on my computers?
    • Its stored on OneDrive.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        It can be stored on OneDrive and doing so allows you to access your information from almost anyhwere using almost any device. But it can be stored locally as well (or on a network share), without any cloud servers.
        • by darrylo (97569) on Tuesday March 18, 2014 @01:03PM (#46517219)

          No, if you try creating a local notebook with the free version, you're greeted with a friendly message that says that you can only create the notebook in onedrive.

        • It can be stored on OneDrive and doing so allows you to access your information from almost anyhwere using almost any device.

          That also allows Microsoft to access my data.

          Since others have said the free version requires the use of storage on Microsoft's computers, I suspect Microsoft will be scanning the OneNote data for monetizing purposes. Why else would they prevent the free OneNote users from storing data on non-Microsoft servers?

          • by darrylo (97569)

            Since others have said the free version requires the use of storage on Microsoft's computers, I suspect Microsoft will be scanning the OneNote data for monetizing purposes. Why else would they prevent the free OneNote users from storing data on non-Microsoft servers?

            lol, you haven't looked at the free version, right? They're preventing you from storing data locally, because you have to pay money and subscribe to their online office offering to get local notebooks.

            Now, they might still be scanning your notebooks, but the main reason is money.

        • by ohieaux (2860669)
          I can't use OneDrive on my 8.1 computer without using a "Microsoft Live" log in. So, this is a deal breaker for OneNote.
    • It has the ability for both. You don't have to use the cloud support if you do not want to, it can save your notebooks where ever you want. It has built in support for Microsoft OneDrive, or you can just have it save your notebooks in your copy.com drobox etc folder.
      • by darrylo (97569) on Tuesday March 18, 2014 @01:02PM (#46517197)

        No, the free version is cloud-only.

        Go on, try creating a local notebook -- you can't do it with the free version.

        I uninstalled it after I discovered that.

        • It's easy enough to get a free 107GB of storage.

        • by Chelloveck (14643)
          Thanks, you saved me the trouble of installing it. Not allowing local storage is a deal-breaker for me.
          • by darrylo (97569)

            Well, in all fairness, you can create a local notebook if you pay ($$$) for an office subscription. However, for what I use, I think it's way too expensive.

        • This may actually be a good thing...and I can't believe I'm actually saying that about a Cloud Computing (tm) product...but roll with me for a minute; I think this may be a worthwhile system for them to be using...

          1.) Onenote's first release was back in 2003. After over ten years of existence, plenty of people still don't know what it is. Onenote was originally intended to be the killer app for tablets (back when they all had pens and keyboards and were running Windows XP Tablet PC Edition...). Why not do w

      • I just looked at the OSX version. There is no way to 'save as....', only sync. Command S (save shortcut on OSX) is mapped to sync in the file dialog.
        • by darrylo (97569)

          On windows, local notebooks are a subscription-only feature ($$$). I imagine it's the same on the mac. :-(

    • by King_TJ (85913)

      I know with OneNote 2013 for Windows, it stores the "master" copy of your data wherever you configure it to go. It could be on a local drive, a network share, or the cloud (if you default it to SkyDrive or DropBox or Google Drive or whatever).

      Then, it always keeps a cached copy on your C: drive in a big cache file for improved performance. (For Windows users, it's found under C:\Users\username\AppData\Local\Microsoft\OneNote\15.0)

      AppData is a hidden directory, BTW.

    • On Windows, OneNote data is stored where you specify. You can save directly to your skydrive, to your library on your hard drive, to an individual folder on your harddrive, or to an enterprise network location.

    • Its a standalone program just like Word, with cloud hooks. You dont have to save to the cloud, you can save locally.
  • I've had no direct experience with OneNote before, but I have used Evernote off and on - in case anyone was wondering which one was more useful, there's a good (though year old) comparison here [pcworld.com].

    To summarize, since I've been using Evernote already I'll probably stick with that. Sure OneNote is free but even taking the time to really try it out means something.

    If anyone else has practical experience with why you would use OneNote over Evernote, I'd love to hear it...

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      The Windows version of OneNote is the most powerful note taking program ever produced. It was also one of the first programs of its type, and offers excellent integration with other Office applications.

      If you are using a Windows computer with stylus input and the MS Office suite, using OneNote is a no brainer. The handwriting recognition is pretty good. The Math equation recognition needs some work but is passable if you are a very neat writer.

      If Evernote is already fulfilling your needs and you are not

    • by mlw4428 (1029576)
      I like OneNote because of the whiteboarding features, multi-user editing, and the click-anywhere/write-anywhere type functionality. I feel that the search functionality leaves a LOT to be desired, but IMHO it's more functional than Evernote.
    • If anyone else has practical experience with why you would use OneNote over Evernote, I'd love to hear it...

      I have actually used it, although only on my corporate computer that has the required Microsoft office suite anyway. It really is pretty handy, my use is limited because of the way it stores data (all one big data blob). Evernote stores everything the same way, though, so that's not different. Now that OneNote is free for lots of platforms I'll probably start using it a lot more.

      I tried Evernote a while back when looking for a note-taking app for my tablet, and didn't like it. I don't know if things hav

  • OneNote is one of the most innovative software programs of the last decade and one that I have found particularly useful, as I have been using Windows tablets since 2005. While there have been imitators, none have been able to match it feature-for-feature.

    I am unsure of the business logic behind the decision, but this is a big win for consumers, especially since Microsoft is now offering it on third party OS's, although in a much-reduced form.

    Microsoft has had some really good ideas since Gates left, like

  • What are your favorite alternatives that are "libre" free, rather than only gratis?

    This seems pretty thorough: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/C... [wikipedia.org]

  • by rpdillon (715137) on Tuesday March 18, 2014 @12:46PM (#46516953) Homepage
    If you're looking for libre notebook/organization software, I've never found anything better than Org-Mode. It runs across all major desktop operating systems (via Emacs), and is included with the default distribution of Emacs. I don't think OneNote even comes close to Org's feature set.
  • Ulterior motive (Score:2, Flamebait)

    by nickmalthus (972450)
    Who wants to bet that if one carefully reads the EULA for the free edition of OneNote that Microsoft has buried a clause in there that they can data mine all information stored in their Cloud service? Providing the OneNote client and Cloud storage for free would be a bargain given the data bonanza they would have access to: personal contact information, shopping lists, todos, etc.
  • Free is too expensive since I don't trust Microsoft to continue to offer the product. One of the big problems is we need to continue having access to our legacy data. When Apple, Google, Microsoft or other companies decide a project is no longer worth supporting we lose access to our data going forward. They are not good about providing legacy support or data conversion.

    • by Shados (741919)

      OneNote data is easy to extract and several tools allow it. Also not free, but Evernote will happily gobble it all up. Your data is on your own box (even if you use the online version, as it will get synced up with OneDrive), and it does have publicly available APIs.

      The moment they try to close it down, move your data elsewhere. Problem solved.

  • The best version of One Note was back in 2003 that on a tablet edition computer you could do handwriting. Why MS decided to be morons and NOT include the handwriting notepad on the ipad version I'll never understand.

  • It looks like you are supposed to sync your OneNotes through OneDrive. Since OneDrive doesn't work with Windows 8.1, this seems like a deal breaker.

    I know you can use a public Microsoft account to log in to 8.1 and use OneDrive. But seriously, who would do that? Need to cancel my Sky..err..OneDrive
    • a) Since when does OneDrive not work with Windows 8.1? It is embedded into the operating system (although it does stupidly require you to log on to the computer with your Live/OneDrive/SkyDrive/Hotmail log-in if you want to use the integrated client, which I refuse to do... but you can always use the web-interface through your browser of choice)

      b) regardless of how you access OneDrive, you can install OneNote on Windows 8.1. It will request your log-in credentials during installation. Even if you log onto

  • You can download the "desktop" client from Microsoft's website [onenote.com] but all you get is a 2MB loader that then downloads the remaining 1GB of the program. This makes me wonder two things:

    1) Why doesn't Microsoft make an offline installation available for people, since the whole point of the program is to have a note-taking program that can be synced across multiple computers and devices. It would be nice not having to download 1GB on every computer I own (not to mention it would probably do wonders for their own

Almost anything derogatory you could say about today's software design would be accurate. -- K.E. Iverson

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