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Back in the dark days when I used to run windows I used to use MindJet Mindmanager and I found it to be very good. Since I have been using Ubuntu as my main operating system I have been trying to find a replacement mind map software to use but have not had any luck finding a good replacment. So far I have tried VYM, kdisset and Semantik. I have either found them not to be very good or have a nasty habit of crashing.

So I was wondering could anyone recommend good mind mapping software to use under Ubuntu?

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very nice and informative post and their replies. – user178242 Jul 25 '13 at 9:16

11 Answers 11

up vote 22 down vote accepted

I like FreeMind Install freemind very much, which is a Java mindmapping tool. Colleagues of me like XMind most.

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A small note on Freemind (which I too like): I couldn't get it to function with OpenJDK on a clean 10.04 install. I had to remove all openjdk and icedtea packages and install the proprietary sun-java6-jre packages instead. (Incidentally, I also had to do this to get the Firefox Zotero-to-OpenOffice plugin to work). – eugenemarshall Aug 1 '10 at 10:40
I will try at home and tell you. – ddeimeke Aug 3 '10 at 5:39
Freemind does seem good is there a way to make it automatically balance the tree? – Mark Davidson Aug 3 '10 at 7:28
Unfortunately I do not know how to auto-balance the tree. Concerning openjdk, I took a look at the start script. Maybe installing libgcj9-0-awt or libgcj10-awt is an option. – ddeimeke Aug 3 '10 at 15:58
Freemind is working well with OpenJDK in the current state of the 11.04 development branch of Ubuntu. So it should be working fine when 11.04 is released. – jr0cket Dec 17 '10 at 1:40

XMind has better graphics than Freemind but it's much heavier.

Pro's include:

  1. Good customizable GUI.
  2. Available for any major platform.
  3. There's a portable version for the USB.


  1. It's java based. That makes it a bit slow.
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I use Xmind free version too. – User Aug 1 '10 at 15:52
I started with freemind on Windows. When I moved to Ubuntu I had trouble configuring it. Then I tried Xmind and stuck with it. It's multiplatmform too. I use it with dropbox to sync maps between machines. – lamcro Sep 15 '10 at 9:43

Try using Freeplane Install freeplane.

Freeplane is a powerful and free software for building the mind maps. It is a redesigned version of the well known FreeMind, and is created by one of FreeMind's key developers. I prefer it over FreeMind since there are more options. Also, questions or problems with the program are answered and fixed MUCH faster.

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Mindmeister — online lightweight mind mapping tool.

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+1 ooo this looks cool. – DLH Aug 2 '10 at 13:21
This website seems to be dead. – Murch May 12 '15 at 13:17
@Murch hmmm.. it works for me. Are you sure it isn't blocked by your ISP? – Dmitry May 13 '15 at 11:01
Must have been an outage or something, works for me now as well. – Murch May 17 '15 at 20:20

After browsing through the various options here, which mostly aren't in 16.04 repos I think, I tried xournal, which I noticed Yann LeCun uses in his lectures. It works pretty well. I modified it slightly so its easier to autorecognize lines

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Edit: finally I use labyrinth. Again, I hacked it a bit, to use a desktop load/save/new paradigm, rather than the mobile-paradigm in mainstream. My hacked labyrinth – Hugh Perkins May 27 at 16:01

You could always try running MindJet MindManager under Wine. Apparently some people have had some success doing so. If all else fails, you could run a windows guest system on an Ubuntu host via Virtualbox.

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Another good one to try is Personal Brain, it has a free flow feel to it.

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It is VUE Visual Understanding Environment whic can be download from:, I use it in Windows 7 & love it and having a Ubuntu version is an add to the software...

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I started using VYM (View your Mind)

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I've tried Freemind and really didn't like it. The one I liked the most on Ubuntu was Semantik, both for its ease of use and because Semantik mind-maps are exportable to ODT as outlines.

One downside is that it's a KDE app so it wouldn't integrate with your desktop well.

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Semantik is hard to use. – jeremiah Oct 14 '14 at 9:53

There is no good alternative for Linux. Once you(me) tried good ready-to use soft that you pay for (and may ask for quality and common sense terms of usability) then you realize that all those (in the list above) are just broken toys.

Well the absent of good tool is also may considered to be a good/fair answer for one who is looking for it. The way to go is to lunch on linux that was intended to be used for windows.

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