‘Raven’ is a Minimalist & a Distraction-free Text Editor for Novelists

Raven is an excellent distraction-free text editor that’s specifically designed for novelists. That said, for less imaginative people like me 🙂 , mainly due to its simplicity and beautiful typography, I find it to be a great distraction-free text editor as well.

Raven is completely free to use and includes native support for Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X and GNU/Linux (I ran it without any issues in Ubuntu 15.10). It includes support for adding chapters and the ability to export the written content without breaking the styles (text formatting) into the WebPage format too.

It saves your content automatically (there’s no option to change the intervals, but it seems to do it quite frequently), displays the amount of words you’ve written and shows whether the current text content is saved or not, on the bottom status-bar, a full-screen mode also available.


Unlike most other distraction-free writer apps, Raven, being specifically designed for novelists, lets you also manipulate your text (make them: Bold, Italic, Underline, add Quotes & Headings) as well. And from the Settings page, you can change your pen name too. As far as the features are concerned, that’s pretty much it.

Anyhow, as far as GNU/Linux users are concerned, there are no native packages available, but setting it up on your computer shouldn’t be that hard. This ‘how to’ guide is based on Ubuntu 15.10, but it should work on other newer distributions too. Below are the installation steps:

Step 1: First download either the 32-bit or the 64-bit package (depending on your CPU and the operating system) from here.

Step 2: We’ll be installing it to a directory called Raven on your Home folder. For creating that, open a terminal window and enter the below command:

mkdir ~/Raven

Step 3: Now let’s extract the downloaded file’s content to the newly created folder.

Here I’m assuming that you’ve downloaded the compressed file into the Downloads folder in your Home. If not, make sure to replace the correct file path. If ready, enter the below command:

tar -xvf Downloads/Raven-linux64.tar.gz -C ~/Raven

Step 4: Before running, let’s also create a folder where Raven will be saving your text content to. This folder will be created in your Home folder and it too will be called Raven, but it’ll be hidden by default. For that, enter the below command:

mkdir ~/.Raven

Now what we’re trying to do here is this. Unlike when you install applications in Ubuntu, Raven does not add its icon to the Application launcher and you won’t be able to find it on Dash either.

Since you won’t be temped with the idea of running it using the command-line, we’re going to run Raven under the current user using the command-line (just this once), and then when it opens up, we’ll stick its icon to Unity desktop’s Application Launcher so that we can launch it from there in the future. Pretty neat huh? 🙂 . So let’s do it.

Step 6: Let’s first open Raven through the command-line using the below command:


Step 7: When its window shows up, select its icon on the Application launcher and select ‘Lock to Launcher’ (shown below) and then close its application window.


Now you’d assume that we’re done here, but we’re not. You don’t have to take my word on it, just try clicking on the newly added icon to see if you can open Raven (nothing should happen).

The issue is, the newly added icon tries to execute the wrong file in the Raven folder. To fix it, we’ll open the configuration file of its newly created shortcut and correct it (as simple as that). So let’s do that and be done with everything.

Step 8: Enter the below command into the terminal:

gedit .local/share/applications/raven_sh.desktop

Step 9: Then remove the highlighted text (‘Raven/nw‘) from the configuration file and replace it with the below one:


Before fixing…
After fixing…

Make sure to save your changes before closing the configuration file. That’s it. Now click on the icon and you should see Raven launching. Enjoy!.

P.S: Raven does come with an icon of its own. If it does not get updated on the shortcut, try rebooting the computer.

An RHCE, 'Linux' user with 14+ years of experience. Extreme lover of Linux and FOSS. He is passionate to test every Linux distribution & compare with the previous release to write in-depth articles to help the FOSS community.

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