About | Downloads | Installing | Modules | Screenshots | Butler | Using | Your data | Preferences | License

If upgrading:-

  1. contacts data file format changed in v5.0 - please install utilities and see the README file in the utilities directory
  2. main.cfg changed in v4.4.5; delete your existing main.cfg file or add a line to it. Please see Preferences
  3. minor change to notes data file in version 1.4 (with Pooter 5.1) - compatability not broken, but you can update by removing head and body tags in existing notes.xml
  4. binaries compiled to java 1.7 (up from 1.5); compatible with all later java versions
  5. version 5.2 is hopefully what 5.1 should have been with everything working - it bundles bug fixed versions of the Diary & Notes modules

About Pooter

Pooter is cross-platform program ; it should be possible to run it on any java (5.0 or later) enabled system. Having said that it's been developed on Gnu\Linux, receiving a little testing on various Windows systems as well. However at various stages of it's development it's known to have run perfectly well on FreeBSD and Mac OS X. If you have problems, provided the system has a java 5 runtime or later, I'll help out.

There are five modules, all with a Personal Information Management slant. Its plugin architecture means that it is easy to remove modules you don't wish to use; with a little more difficulty(!), new modules could be written to run in the "container" that Pooter provides. If the Notes module is installed, there are options to easily link to or transfer data to and from the other modules.

Pooter can be configured to cooperate with other programs, such as a browser, email client etc; in every case you are free to choose your favourite program. There is no "lock in". All data is stored in standard non-proprietary formats and can be accessed by other commonly available programs such as browsers and text editors. In some cases there are also options to export the data solely for use by other programs.

A single installation on multiuser systems, can be configured for either private or shared data. It can also be configured so that a user can access data over a local area network.


Pooter is available from sourceforge as installPooter-5.2.jar. It is also available as Pooter-5.2.tar.gz as an alternative for unix like systems such as Gnu/Linux, *BSD and Mac OSX. Updates to its modules may be released seperately as <module>.jar. Butler2.05.zip contains the butler server and Butler client and files including -source.zip in their name contain source code only and are not runnable programs.


You must have a java runtime environment installed before you start; many systems will have this already. You'll find the latest one for Windows Mac OS X and GNU/Linux at http://java.com/, but most Gnu/Linux systems will package this and the open source version. You just need the java rutime (JRE), you do not need a version for developing software (JDK), nor one that bundles a development environment.

Pooter is packed for distribution as an installer jar; click on it in Windows and Mac OS X or run java -jar installPooter5.1.jar in Gnu/Linux and FreeBSD using a terminal emulator. The alternative archive for unix like systems will install Pootere in /usr/local if you unpack it in /.

Installation is best done with admin/root/superuser privilleges, so that it can be installed in the default location for your system and be available to all users. It can be installed in My Documents or /home/<user> if you do not have full access to the machine.

The installer needs to be able to access a graphical environment, which is probably not possible for the root user on FreeBSD and some Gnu/Linux systems. There are two possible solutions. Either do a local install and then move the Pooter directory to /usr/local and also edit the pooter.sh file to give the new location of Pooter.jar. You may also need to set the new location of the modules in the Preference tab. Alternatively temporarily allow write access for the limited user account to /usr/local.

On Mac OS X the root account is disbled by default; this means that the pooter.sh file will not get copied to /usr/bin and the man file will not get moved into /usr/share/man. It should be possible to copy these files to their correct locations with the file manager, but it is not essential to do this, since on OS X the program can be started without problem by clicking the Pooter.jar file in /Applications/Pooter.

Upgrades to the modules may be released alone. These are installed simply by copying them into Pooter's modules directory to overwrite an older version and restarting.

The Modules

During installation you have the choice to install only the modules you want. The modules are stored as jar files in the modules directory.

If you change your mind about which modules you want you can simply delete or add the module's jar file from or to the modules directory. Hopefully you installed at least one module as without this Pooter does pretty much nothing.

If there are no modules, or Pooter can't find them it will let you know. Remedy the first problem by adding a module jar file to the modules directory which will be a subdirectory of the installation directory (default locations are C:\Program Files\Pooter\modules on Window, /usr/local/Pooter/modules on Gnu/Linux and FreeBSD, /Applications/Pooter/modules on Mac OS X). You can confirm this in the Configure Pooter section of the Preference tab.

If the installation was in a non-standard location and then moved after having been run (which generates a config file), Pooter will no longer know where its modules are; see the preference section to solve this. Each module comes with its own manual which can be accessed from when Pooter is running, and is also available here.


This is free software, but it has been extensively tested and it is believed to be stable, usable and useful. If any problems are experienced I will try to help. However as you will see from the warranty notice in 'COPYING' and the info reached from the programs Help menu, it comes with no guarantee or warranty of any kind; you use it entirely at your own risk.

During installation you can choose to create desktop shortcuts. Pooter can also be started using the pooter.sh script (this should be run from your home directory) or on Windows by copying the Pooter.bat batch file to My Documents and clicking it. These days, on most systems it can be started by clicking on the Pooter.jar file or right-clicking/open with java runtime

Pooter is very easy to use. Many operations can be done from the toolbar as well as the menu system and there is inline context sensitive help available from the help button. If more than one module is installed you switch between them using buttons or the menu system; each module "remembers" where it was if you switch back to it in the same session. For further details you should check the manual supplied with each module.

The status bar at the bottom of the screen indicates location of the config files, the modules and the data files.

Your data

As with any software, you should make regular backup copies of important data that you create. All the modules store your data in a single data directory or in its sub-directories. The status bar and the Preference tab both indicate the location of your data files and the latter gives the option of changing it.


The Configure Pooter tab is where Pooter wide, rather than module specific, configuration is done.

The Default Module box allows you to select which module Pooter should start with.

You may want to deselect Enable tool tips once you become familiar with Pooter.

The Modules Directory can be changed by using the change button to open a file chooser. You pobably do not need to alter this, although it is possible to move the modules so that on a multi user system, different users can have different modules available. A module directory change only takes effect after a restart

You can choose a new directory location where Pooter should look for and store its data or select a different one from the list if you have already set up more than one. You can also remove entries from this list. Note that Pooter does not create or delete directories, nor does it override directory permissions; it will revert to its default if you specify a directory that does not exist or that you do not have read/write access. Use of the sync button requires care, hence the I'm sure checkbox. All data in the highlighted directory will be deleted and replaced with a copy of data in the directory currently in use. This can be used as a back up method, provided the two directories are on different media.

More than one module can use a browser , so this is set here. Either type the command that will start a browser, or press change and locate it on your file system.

Remember screen size can be checked to make Pooter start with the same screen size as it had when it last closed.


Pooter Copyright (C) 2002 to 2017 David Matthews

This program is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of the GNU General Public License v3 as published by the Free Software Foundation.

This program is distributed in the hope that it will be useful, but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. See the GNU General Public License for more details.

You should have received a copy of the GNU General Public License along with this program (License in the Pooter doc directory); if not, write to the Free Software Foundation, Inc., 59 Temple Place, Suite 330, Boston, MA 02111-1307 USA or look for it at http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl-3.0.html.

David Matthews 372 Danie Theron St, Pretoria North, South Africa.

Pooter uses and bundles jDom (http://www.jdom.org/) and the JGoodies Looks (http://www.jgoodies.com/). The Diary module bundles a stripped down version of iText (http://www.lowagie.com/iText/), for the export to pdf feature.

jDom is available under an Apache-style open source license, with the acknowledgment clause removed. JGoodies is released under the BSD open source license. Most of iText is LGPL, but other open source licenses (eg Apache license 2.0) are used for some of its files.

Pooter has taken most of its icons from the KDE project (http://www.kde.org/), which is GPL. Its window icon, which is free of copyright, is from http://www.authorama.com/diary-of-a-nobody-1.html.