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GNU nano for (frugal) writers

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If you’ve ever used a Linux distribution or any of the BSDs then you’re probably already familiar with the GNU nano editor.

In 2016 I tested dozens of text editors to see if they’re compatible with my needs as a writing person. I became frustrated with most of the programs and I’ll dedicate many blog posts to this issue in the future. One of my criteria is simplicity.

The perfect writing tool should be as close to the classic typewriting experience as possible.

While editing my .conkyrc configuration (with nano) I thought: “Wouldn’t it be nice to use nano for my daily writing as well?”

It works just fine if you start nano like this:

$ nano -wl$ yourfile.txt

For me, nano is ideal in many cases. It’s what I call a “distraction-free writing environment”.

Files saved with those options active can be read by any other text editor (that I’ve tried).

It looks like this in Geany.

Needless to say, I also use other programs than nano to write. But it’s a nice editor for many purposes and due to the limited functionality (e.g. mostly keyboard-based) it can easily become a viable option if you just want to, well, write.

GNU nano also forces you to think a bit more before you type because editing the text is not as easy as you may be used to coming from Microsoft Office or LibreOffice or Apple’s Pages.

It works even better when the window is maximized. (In Solus pressing F11 makes it fullscreen.)

BTW: If you’re looking for a great fullscreen writing application with lots of bells and whistles, try Ghostwriter.