How to Create Mind Maps Within the Linux Terminal With h-m-m


Coming up with new ideas and keeping track of them is hard. Mind maps make the process easier by allowing you to chart ideas from their origin, explore related concepts, and track through a visual tree, taking different forks to get you to your goal.

Hackers Mind Map is complete mind mapping software to help you hack through the forking paths of creativity from your terminal.

What Are Mind Maps, and How Is Hackers Mind Map Different?

person writing a mind map on a whiteboard

The path to creativity is a convoluted network of roads you didn’t take and options you didn’t explore. When you start off with an initial concept, you may have no idea what the eventual outcome or solution will be. And when you finally arrive, it can be difficult to recall how you got there. Exactly what chain of thoughts led you to this point, and what other possibilities did you miss in your wanderings?

Mind maps exist to help you document the process from a central idea. Every junction and every choice you make leads to other junctions, choices, and paths, and if you find yourself staring at a dead end or an imperfect solution, it’s simple to backtrack through your reasoning and take another path—something that would be next to impossible if you were to try and hold the whole thing in your head.

Traditional mind maps are drawn out by hand on large sheets of paper, whiteboards, or walls, with arrows and lines linking one concept or idea to the next, but software options exist which allow you to create mind maps on your computer.

Hackers Mind Map or h-m-m (pronounced “hmm”) is a simple, keyboard-driven terminal app with full editing capability and simple navigation.

How to Install Hackers Mind Map on Linux

Hackers Mind Map is a PHP app, so make sure you have a recent version of PHP installed before you start, along with either xclip, xsel, or wl-clipboard. On Ubuntu or Debian, you can install the dependencies with:

 sudo apt install php xsel 

Download the installation script for h-m-m with:

 wget https: 

Make the script executable:

 sudo chmod +x 

…and run the installation script:


The script will download h-m-m, copy it to /usr/local/bin, check any dependencies, and make h-m-m executable.

You can then start h-m-m from any terminal with:


Alternatively, you can run Hackers Mind Map as a Docker image. Clone the GitHub repository with:

 git clone https: 

Use the cd command to move into the h-m-m directory:

 cd h-m-m 

…and build the Docker image:

 docker build -t hmm . 

You can now start Hackers mind map with Docker:

 docker run --rm -it -v $(pwd):/app/ hmm 

Use h-m-m to Create Awesome Mind Maps in Your Terminal

mind map created with h-m-m

When you start Hackers Mind Map, you’ll see a single node called “root”. Press the “e” key on your keyboard to edit the name of the node to one suitable for your project.

If you’re brainstorming from a single concept, you’ll want to create related child concepts as they pop into your head. Hitting Tab on the keyboard will create a child, then all you need to do is type in an appropriate name and hit Enter.

Now you have two nodes and can navigate between them using the arrow keys on your keyboard.

It’s rare that a node will lead to only one child concept. With a child node highlighted you can give it a sibling by pressing Enter.

This node creation is the core of Hackers Mind Map, and you will find that within a few minutes, you can spin a detailed and complex concept map covering a huge area.

Editing your mind map is easy, too. Hackers Mind Map supports cutting, copying, pasting, and deleting via the keyboard.

Pressing an assigned capital letter while a node is highlighted will apply the operation to the descendants of the current node, while a lowercase letter will apply it to the current node and its descendants.

  • y: Yanks (copies) the active node and its descendants
  • Y: Yanks (copies) the descendants of the active node
  • d: Deletes (cuts) the active node and its descendants
  • D: Deletes (cuts) the descendants of the active node
  • p: Pastes as descendants of the active node
  • P: Pastes as siblings of the active node

These operations allow you to move entire branches of your mind map to areas where they’re better suited or delete them completely. If you make a mistake, hit “u” to undo the operation, and if you change your mind, Ctrl + R will redo it.

A complete set of keybindings is available on the project’s GitHub page.

When you’re done, you can save your mind map with the “s” key, or export it as HTML with “x“.

Mind Maps Help You Come Up With Great New Ideas!

Now you can create full-featured mind maps in your Linux terminal and brainstorm ideas without worrying that you’ve missed a step or failed to spot an opportunity.

You can use your mind maps to build character histories for a novel, come up with business plans, or even break down your job responsibilities to help you build up your resume.


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