I was wondering if there were any open source (free also works) writing software that includes version control (e.g. git). I'm thinking of writing my own but I don't want to create something that already exists. Everything I look for is either paid or is restricted to one or two OSs.

Also I'm planning to write this for the browser i.e. HTML, JavaScript with PHP as the backend.


This is not about is there version control. I want to create an interactive software where you can create a JSON file full of character names and you can just write a generic name in e.g. ${characters.protagonist.firstname} ${characters.protagonist.lastname} and it'll fill it in e.g. Harry Potter.

Also when you do that, their names will lighten up allowing you to redirect or shows a pop up with the character details.

  • 2
    What's wrong with git?
    – Alexander
    Oct 19, 2017 at 23:36
  • @Alexander Nothing, but writing in JUST a plain txt file is just absurd. I'm going to make it so that I can create a character page, link that into the story format so that their names light up and I can click on them to access their details (like if I forget if they have tattoos or piercings). It's to make the writing format easier. Also since I'm terrible with naming I want to be able to write something like ${characters.protagonist.firstname} which then their first name shows up (in the event I feel like changing their name.
    – A. L
    Oct 19, 2017 at 23:41
  • 1
    You're asking about version control but you seem to be describing using variables in your source document. Could you clarify? Oct 20, 2017 at 2:10
  • 1
    If you're comfortable with command line software development tools you could always use a version control system like Git alongside any text editor you fancy
    – GordonM
    Oct 23, 2017 at 8:58
  • 1
    @A.Lau Hmm, it almost sounds like you might benefit from some kind of wiki software? Again if you're comfortable with it you could always try setting something like MediaWiki up in a virtual machine
    – GordonM
    Oct 24, 2017 at 11:14

1 Answer 1


I'm doing some research into free and open source software for writers. The most promising candidates so far, in no particular order, are:


yWriter is a word processor which breaks your novel into chapters and scenes, helping you keep track of your work while leaving your mind free to create.


Organize chapters and scenes, manage revisions, export novel in pdf or rtf. And, of course, write with a fully featured text editor.


Manuskript is a perfect tool for those writer who like to organize and plan everything before writing. The snowflake method can help you grow your idea into a book, by leading you step by step and asking you questions to go deeper. While writing, keep track of notes about every characters, plot, event, place in your story.

Plume Creator

This software gives you an outliner, a distraction-free mode, a note manager and much more!


open source software for writers, essayists, authors. Used from the draft to the final work, with oStorybook you can never lose the history of the field of view. oStorybook helps you to maintain control over the various developments of your story.

A comparison and more in-depth reviews can be found here https://crawfordwriting.wordpress.com/2016/09/19/free-scrivener-alternatives/

I'm not sure yet which have in-built version control, but any of these in conjunction with a version control system might provide the solution you are after, before you embark on your own project.

  • 1
    manuskript looks pretty good, may give it a run
    – A. L
    Nov 14, 2017 at 4:20

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