Laverna Reviews

More private than Evernote, but still needs a little work.

Positive Review by JohnFastman
about Laverna and TagSpaces, Cryptomator, Evernote Dec 2016

Laverna aims to be an open-source, encrypted alternative to Evernote. Open source makes it more trustworthy than Evernote, because anyone can inspect the code.

Encryption makes it more private than Evernote. Evernote are a US-based company whose privacy policy recently caused a lot of controversy because they planned (then backtracked) on letting their employees read customers' data. Nothing prevents them from deciding to try that again in the future. Evernote might be functional, but they store your data unencrypted, which means that:

a) if hackers breach Evernote's servers (has happened before), all your personal data is out there in some hackers hands
b) three letter agencies (NSA, FBI, etc.) are allowed legally to demand that Evernote hands your data over to them, and the law says Evernote might be prevented even from telling you that this has happened.
c) you should ask yourself: even if none of the above happens, where will copies of my data be in 20 years time? In whose hands? On whose servers? What will the law be then? Will you want whoever will be then in power/controlling Evernote's servers to have access to all your receipts, notes, captured webpages, boarding cards and whatever else you put into Evernote?

Using encryption, as Laverna does, gets around problems like these. Even if hackers steal your data, the fact it's encrypted means they can't read it. Same for three letter agencies (if the encryption is done well, like via AES-256) and whoever might get your hands on the data in years to come.

So the question is now about Laverna's functionality. You can test Laverna online, here.

Good Stuff
- Laverna is cross-platform (Mac, Windows and Linux). Evernote doesn't even work on/support Linux
- Laverna has excellent basic note-taking (you can use markdown, a Wisiwyg-type editor, and include pictures)
- Laverna has excellent searching built in.
- Laverna encrypts your data by default (see points above)

Why it's not quite there yet
- Sync is not well worked out. Ideally, to challenge Evernote, you'd want to be able to sync your encrypted data using the service of your choice. Laverna claims to connect to Dropbox, but that's only one service and there have been many complaints it doesn't work well. Ideally, the developers would store the info Laverna uses in an encrypted file/folder which can be synced using the service of anyone's choice.
- Pictures can be included in your notes, but not resized. Very annoying.
- No Android app (it's promised to come soon; iOS is available)
- App does not support some of Evernote's more sophisticated features, such as scanning.

Alternatives?
If you want an Evernote alternative for the following functions but mobile isn't important to you, consider TagSpaces:
- Mac, Windows, Linux
- Search/tagging
- open source
- Local (Sync optional)
- Encryption optional (with Cryptomator - works great)

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Are you serious

Negative Review by mustno3
about Laverna Nov 2016

I can't believe this comes in second position for one note alternative. You can't even paste pictures or latex code in this like onenote or zim. Plus this is online, you have to be always connected. How is this even on the top of the list. There MANY many other programs which will do far more than what this is doing now.

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Laverna - best note web app

Review by pinei
about Laverna Mar 2015

Laverna is simple and fast to use. It's a note tool built in JavaScript to run locally in any browser.

The notes data are saved in local browser "storage". But if you want to store in the cloud to use anywhere there are integrations with Dropbox and "RemoteStorage".

RemoteStorage is a simple solution to host and sync the user data beetween the browser and the cloud. I am using the p5apps provider to keep my Laverna notes. You can have your own storage for free (still Beta) in less than 1 minute.

Laverna has no support for tables and font selection, but it supports images and task lists (todo lists).

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