CLI interface to Tomboy and Gnote
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Scout : A CLI interface to Tomboy notes and Gnote

Scout is an interface to Tomboy notes or Gnote that uses DBus to communicate. It presents a command-line interface and tries to be as simple to use as possible. Different actions can be taken to interact with Tomboy or Gnote. Actions are simple to create, making the application easily extensible.

Current actions make it possible to list note names, display note contents, search for text inside notes and to delete notes.


From source

To install scout from the source archive, use the setuptools installer:

scout$ sudo python install

To see a short summary of what has changed between versions, consult the changelog wiki page.


To run scout, you need to have dbus-python installed. On Debian or Ubuntu, use the following command:

# apt-get install python-dbus

On Fedora or Centos, use the following:

# yum install dbus-python


To use scout the first argument must be an action name. For example, say you want to get a list of all non-template notes. You can call the following:

$ scout list

Arguments can be given to actions. The arguments available differ from one action to the other. For example, the "search" action requires an element to search for:

$ scout search "text to search for"

You can obtain help on how to execute scout by giving it a "-h" or "--help" argument. This will list the currently available actions you can use with scout. To obtain more detail on what arguments can be used with an action, use the option "-h" or "--help" and specify an action name at the same time. Both of the two following commands call the detailed help for the action "display":

$ scout --help display
$ scout display -h

Choosing the application

Scout can be used with either Tomboy or Gnote. Scout detects which one of them is currently installed. If only one of them is present, it will automatically connect to it.

However, in a context where both Tomboy and Gnote are installed, Scout cannot determine which one to use unless it is specified as an argument to the command line or in a configuration file.

A system-wide configuration file can be placed in ''/etc/scout.cfg''. Each user can also create a configuration file in their home directory (e.g. either ''/.scout/config'' or ''/.config/scout/config''). Values in the user configuration file will override those set in the system-wide configuration. The configuration file should follow the Windows INI file format. To select the application, the "application" option in the "scout" section should be set to either Tomboy or Gnote. Ex. (Tomboy):

application: Tomboy

The command line argument takes precedence over the value set in the configuration file. Here's how to list notes from Gnote:

scout list --application=Gnote

Mailing list

If you have any questions about how to use Scout, if you want to report or discuss a problem you currently have, or if you want to contribute patches (see below), you should subscribe to the mailing list.

The list is public, so anyone can view the archives on the list's web page without having to log in, but in order to send messages to the list, you must be subscribed to it. If you want to subscribe but don't have a google account (and don't want one), just send a message to


All contributions to the code are welcome. Contributed code should come with new unit tests for added functions and new or modified acceptance tests for command line interface modifications. The main repository is on GitHub. Send patches to the mailing list (See the section about the list for more details).

Commit messages should contain a "Signed-off-by:" line with you name and e-mail address, in the same fashion as contributions to git or the Linux kernel. This line attests that you are willing to license your code under the same license as the one used by the project (e.g. BSD). To add such a line with git, use the "-s" argument to git-commit.


To be able to run the unit or acceptance tests, you will need to have pymox and nose installed. On Debian or Ubuntu, use the following command to install them:

# apt-get install python-mox python-nose

The tests can be run using one of two methods. The first one is through like following:

scout$ python test

The second method, being the fastest and most flexible one, is by calling nose's nosetests script. Three configuration files are included in the base directory to make running the tests easier. From the base directory:

scout$ nostests -c nose.cfg

The three files are named "nose.cfg", "nose.unit.cfg", "nose.functional.cfg" and they serve in running all tests, only unit tests, and only functional tests, respectively. Only the file "nose.unit.cfg" shows test coverage since this measure is only relevant with those tests alone.

One useful trick with git to make running tests easier is to set an alias in the following manner (make sure to use single quotes, the ! and $ characters are interpreted by bash if it is inside double quotes):

$ git config --global alias.test '!nosetests -c $(git rev-parse --show-toplevel)/nose.cfg'

You can then run tests in the following manner:

$ git test

And finally, to rerun only the tests that failed during the last run, you can use the following:

$ git test --failed


Scout can be used, distributed and modified. All files are under a BSD license with the exception of the "" script which is under a GPLv2 license. "" was written by Avery Pennarun for the "bup" project.

A copy of the BSD license should be available with the source code. Also, a short license notice can be found in all files.