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?


12 Answers 12


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

  • 1
    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). Commented Aug 1, 2010 at 10:40
  • I will try at home and tell you.
    – ddeimeke
    Commented Aug 3, 2010 at 5:39
  • 1
    Freemind does seem good is there a way to make it automatically balance the tree? Commented Aug 3, 2010 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
    Commented Aug 3, 2010 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. Commented Dec 17, 2010 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.
  • I use Xmind free version too.
    – User
    Commented Aug 1, 2010 at 15:52
  • 1
    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
    Commented Sep 15, 2010 at 9:43
  • XMind 8 has serious performance issue - typing delay is few seconds (on each typed letter).
    – Dimitar II
    Commented Aug 31, 2017 at 18:52

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.


Mindmeister — online lightweight mind mapping tool.


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 https://github.com/hughperkins/xournal/tree/easier-autolines

  • 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 github.com/hughperkins/labyrinth Commented May 27, 2016 at 16:01

Minder is available as a flatpak in Pop!_OS, so it should work similarly in Ubuntu: https://github.com/phase1geo/Minder

It is styled after Elementary OS

These answers should be updated as many of these programs appear to be obsoleted. Here is a more current list: https://www.fossmint.com/free-mind-mapping-software-for-linux/ which does NOT include Minder for some reason (probably due to naming, it is difficult to search for "Minder mind mapping software" without a search auto-correcting you away from intended results due to assuming you had a typo or duplicate word)

  • Minder is a great modern tool, thanks for the tip! Agreed. The answers should be updated to exclude obsolete/unmaintainted software.
    – tjanez
    Commented Jul 18, 2020 at 9:55

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.


I started using VYM (View your Mind) http://www.insilmaril.de/vym/


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


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


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.

  • Semantik is hard to use.
    – jeremiah
    Commented Oct 14, 2014 at 9:53
  • I use KDE so i prefer a KDE-based app.
    – Nande
    Commented Apr 7, 2023 at 1:17

Labyrinth is a lightweight mindmapping tool in the ubuntu repository. It's features are not much compared to freeplane. But it can do basic mind mapping.

Install it with sudo apt install labyrinth

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