In a fresh install of Ubuntu Mate 19.04 (64 bit) when I try to install Tomboy this is what I get:

$ sudo apt install tomboy
Reading package lists... Done
Building dependency tree       
Reading state information... Done
Package tomboy is not available, but is referred to by another package.
This may mean that the package is missing, has been obsoleted, or
is only available from another source

E: Package 'tomboy' has no installation candidate

sources.list has the Universe repository (as by default), packages.ubuntu.com shows it's not available, and apt-cache search comes back empty and I can't install it.

Is Tomboy completely gone ? Is there another way of geting it in 19.04 ?

I'd appreciate any suggestions on this, I couldn't find previous reports of this problem.

4 Answers 4


Tomboy has been discontinued in Ubuntu 19.04 and later, however Gnote is almost identical to Tomboy and in fact you can export Tomboy notes and then copy all of them together into Gnote. You can also export Gnote notes and then copy all of them together into Tomboy. You can use Gnote as a backup app to store backups of Tomboy notes and vice versa, because Tomboy notes and Gnote notes are completely compatible.

To install Gnote in all currently supported versions of Ubuntu open the terminal and type:

sudo apt install gnote  

enter image description here

  • Wow, this should have been in the release notes. :( Thanks for the information, I need to use Grauphel so for now can't upgrade all desktops for 19.04 and m igrate to GNote. I'll check if GNote supports web sync the way Grauphel implements it. What was supposed to be a new quick install turned into a 2h quest.
    – MagicFab
    Apr 19, 2019 at 16:02
  • If it works with Tomboy it will work with Gnote. Just don't delete any of your backed up notes, so you will have backups of your notes in case a sync does something you didn't want it to do.
    – karel
    Apr 19, 2019 at 16:08
  • 1
    Works out of the box (19.04. Gnote 3.32)! No migration was needed. I typed "gnote<enter>" and Gnote window opened with my tomboy notes. Thank you! Sep 26, 2019 at 12:26

As per Tomboy's website, the package tomboy is no longer maintained. A new project was started called tomboy-ng. This package is not available in Ubuntu's repositories, but you can download it from the git-website. The instructions for downloading and installing tomboy-ng are on their website as well.

  • Thank you, I installed tomboy-ng and of course At present, tomboy-ng supports only file sync (from the application Help). Sync to Grauphel was the first bug filed when the project launched... two years ago. It looks like I am out of luck and will have to move to GNote + WebDAV sync :(
    – MagicFab
    Apr 19, 2019 at 16:10
  • 1
    The good news is I was able to copy all .note files from ~/.local/share/tomboy to ~/.local/share/gnote and all notes were readable. Now I can't find the "configuration" dialog to setup sync.
    – MagicFab
    Apr 19, 2019 at 16:30

Please examine your link to packages.ubuntu.com more closely: The TomBoy package is available in Cosmic, but not Disco.

Looking further into the problem:

Tomboy is a gnome application, and can be found at https://wiki.gnome.org/Apps/Tomboy. Following the links to the github, it seems that Tomboy 1.15 is the latest version and has not been updated since 2017. You could download and compile this yourself. I assume that this does not work well, or the Ubuntu developers would have included it in the Disco release.

There is also Tomboy-ng, the current development branch of Tomboy at version 0.21. The github has links for .deb files, and instructions for installation, at https://wiki.gnome.org/Apps/Tomboy/tomboy-ng/DownLoadInstall

  • Thanks a lot, that link has a lot of outdated information, it also proposes a Flatpak install which is broken too.
    – MagicFab
    Apr 19, 2019 at 16:05
  • @MagicFab Sorry about the outdated info - there's lots of stuff out there that needs updating! Apr 19, 2019 at 16:24

I guess the reason for tomboy having been removed from 19.04 is that libgconf2.0-cil is no longer supported. This is quite a hack, but you can download this package and tomboy build for older ubuntu versions and install them (at your own risk).

https://launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/tomboy/1.15.9-0ubuntu1/+build/13188678 https://packages.ubuntu.com/xenial/all/libgconf2.0-cil/download

wget https://launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/tomboy/1.15.9-0ubuntu1/+build/13188678/+files/tomboy_1.15.9-0ubuntu1_amd64.deb

wget http://mirrors.kernel.org/ubuntu/pool/universe/g/gnome-sharp2/libgconf2.0-cil_2.24.2-4_all.deb  

sudo apt install libappindicator0.1-cil libdbus-glib2.0-cil libdbus2.0-cil libglib2.0-cil libgmime2.6-cil libgtk2.0-cil libgtkspell0 libmono-addins-gui0.2-cil libmono-addins0.2-cil libmono-cairo4.0-cil libmono-posix4.0-cil mono-runtime

sudo dpkg --install libgconf2.0-cil_2.24.2-4_all.deb
sudo dpkg --install tomboy_1.15.9-0ubuntu1_amd64.deb

I prefer this solution because I still want to sync my notes with my grauphel (Tomboy notes server) on nextcloud. Thinking about switching to carnet, though.

  • What would be the risk of installing this package?
    – geoffrey
    Apr 8, 2021 at 8:32
  • 1
    I think the risk is quite low as there are no further dependencies, there will be no security updates though. It's still running fine in 20.04. Apr 9, 2021 at 9:40
  • Many thanks for your answer! I think I will try ...
    – geoffrey
    Apr 10, 2021 at 6:05

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