There's no denying the usefulness of a wiki, even to a non-geek. You can do so much with one—write notes and drafts, collaborate on projects, build complete websites. And so much more.

I've used more than a few wikis over the years, either for my own work or at various contract and full-time gigs I've held. While traditional wikis are fine, I really like the idea of desktop wikis[1]. They're small, easy to install and maintain, and even easier to use. And, as you've probably guessed, there are a number a desktop wikis available for Linux.

Let's take a look at one of the better desktop wikis: Zim[2].

Getting going

You can either download[3] and install Zim from the software's website, or do it the easy way and install it through your distro's package manager.

Once Zim's installed, start it up.

A key concept in Zim is notebooks. They're like a collection of wiki pages on a single subject. When you first start Zim, it asks you to specify a folder for your notebooks and the name of a notebook. Zim suggests "Notes" for the name, and ~/Notebooks/ for the folder. Change that if you want. I did.

After you set the name and the folder for your notebook, click OK. You get what's essentially a container for your wiki pages.

Adding pages to a notebook

So you have a container. Now what? You start adding pages to it, of course. To do that, select File > New Page.

Enter a name for the page, then click OK. From there, you can start typing to add information to that page.

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