Open Source Musings

Sharing a passion for Linux and open source, with a decidedly non-techie slant

Note taking applications like Obsidian, Logseq, Craft and others have become the darlings of the personal knowledge management (PKM for short) crowd. Tools like that have many features and offer opportunities for their users to endlessly twiddle and twern to make those applications more than they are. Or, sometimes, more than they should be.

But not everyone is an adherent of PKM or of pushing tools to their limits. There are folks out there who only need something simple with which to jot down ideas or thoughts, to store that pithy quote or link or recipe. Something that's basic, fast, and which packs few frills.

A note taking tool which fits that bill is V-Notes, a very stripped down app for the GNOME desktop. Let's take a look at it.

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Here's a quick look at another trio of useful little tools for the Linux desktop that can help you quickly and efficiently tackle some simple tasks.

The utilities I'm about to look at are ones that you might not always use, but which are handy to have around when you need them.

Let's jump in, shall we?

Text Pieces

Described by its developer as a Swiss knife of text processing, Text Pieces kind of lives up to that billing. Text Pieces does some weird, wonderful, and at times geeky things to plain text.

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Lately, I've been spending an inordinate amount of time and mental energy dealing with various myths and misconceptions that others have embraced. In a number of areas. In a number of spaces. About a number of things.

And, to be honest, it's been getting tiring.

Case in point: an email I received a few weeks before writing this post, taking me to task for both using and advocating the use of elementary OS. The two main arguments that my correspondent put forward in that missive were that 1) users get locked into elementary OS, and 2) that users have to pay for not only the distro but also for the software that they install.

The content of that email reflects some of the FUD I read elsewhere on the web in 2022. At that time, some troubles between elementary OS's founders hit the online Linux press and blogosphere and, as can be expected, speculation was dialed up to 11. The contents of the email I received, and all that speculation, also illustrates a level of ignorance about the distribution in question.

The next several hundred words are my response to the person who emailed me and to others like them. And those words don't only apply to elementary OS.

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Every so often you run into an application or a utility that, while you're not sure how you'd use it, you find interesting enough to explore. That's what happened to me when I started using Zorin OS.

The application in question is Zorin Connect. It kind of reminds me of tools like Microsoft Phone Link or Dell Mobile Connect, in that it enables you to wirelessly link your phone running Android and your computer running Zorin OS.

Let's take a quick look at it.

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(Note: This post was first published, in a slightly different form, at Opensource.com and appears here via a CC-BY-SA 4.0 International License.)

Fifteen or so years ago, I split my text editing time between both Emacs and Vim. That said, I was more of an Emacs guy. But while Emacs had an edge in my affections in those days, I knew (and still know) that Vim is no slouch.

So do other people even though who, like me, are all thumbs technically. Over the years, I've talked to a few new Linux users who wanted to use Vim but were a bit disappointed that it doesn't act like the text editors they've used on those other operating systems.

That disappointment changed to satisfaction when I introduced them to Cream, an add-on for Vim that makes it easier to use. Cream turned each of them into a regular Vim user. And, thanks to Cream, most of them still are to this day.

In a post that's bound to trigger a couple or three hard-nosed Vim purists, I'm taking you on a short tour of Cream and how it makes Vim easier to use.

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You might remember a post I published in this space a while back about my adventures with Zorin OS. A throwaway comment in that post surprised me with the bit of attention that it garnered.

The comment? That I've never installed Linux in a dual boot setting. Ever. A few people got in touch asking me why. And, before you ask, those weren't snarky or accusatory comments. Which leads us into what you're reading at this moment.

So why have I never done a dual boot installation of Linux in all my years of using it? The answer is simple: I've never seen or had the need to do that.

When I started installing Linux on my computers (as opposed to when I bought laptops with Linux preinstalled on them), those computers usually ran Windows. Which I wanted to escape. So, I replaced Redmond's operating system with a better one. At least, one that was (and continues to be) better for me.

On the rare occasion that I needed to use a Windows application, I ran that application in a virtual machine or used CrossOver to run it. As time passed, so did any occasional need to run anything Windows on my computers.

On top of that, I've never had a need to dual boot between Linux distros. That's mainly because I'm not, and never have been, a distro hopper. I focus on using one Linux distribution and one Linux distribution only. For the most part, I'm loyal to that distro until I find a compelling reason or six to switch. Usually, there's a gap of years between those switches. So, I don't need to have, say, elementary OS and Arch Linux installed side-by-side on the same laptop. My inner geek doesn't need that much of a hug.

Maybe in my non-techie brain there's also a bit of a block about partitioning hard drives. I'm sure there's a corner of the lump of gray inside my head that worries about what could go wrong or whether or not dual booting will work. Yeah, I know ...

But in the end, I have no use case for dual booting. If I want to give a Linux distro a look, I'll run it using a bootable flash drive. Doing that is usually more than enough to get a good feel for that distribution and whether or not I want to use it.

Scott Nesbitt

#linux #opinion

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