Open Source Musings

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

Nowadays, I manage my todo list in a paper notebook. But when I did use a digital tool for that job, my todo list app of choice was Todo.txt. It's a command line tool that save tasks lists as plain text. And although using Todo.txt means jumping to the terminal, it's not too difficult to use and master.

Over the years, I've tried a few graphical applications that work with Todo.txt. Most were, to be blunt, clunky. I always returned to Todo.txt at the command line.

Recently, though, I came across TxDx. It's a desktop application that implements full compatibility with the Todo.txt syntax. The user interface is clean and modern, but definitely not clunky.

Let's take a look at it.


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?


So much to read, and so little time ...

Blog posts, articles, essays, and more. Like many people, you probably have a pile of bookmarks pointing to whatever you want to read sometime in the future. But those bookmarks also tend to get buried under other ones.

So, what's a poor, overwhelmed would-be reader to do? Turn to a read-it-later app. In the open source world, my long-time favourite is wallabag. Towards the end of 2022, I started hearing more about a read-it-later app called Omnivore. So much so, that I decided to give it a test drive.

Let's take a look at what I found.

Note: If looking for a comprehensive deep dive into Omnivore, this ain't it. I'm only going to look at the basics of using Omnivore and will gloss over the features that I don't use.


(Note: This post was first published, in a slightly different form, at and appears here via a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International License.)

I do most of my writing in a text editor and format it with Markdown — articles, essays, blog posts, ebooks, and much more. I'm not the only one, either. Not only do countless people write with Markdown, but there are also more than a few publishing tools built around it.

Who'd have thought that a simple way to format web documents created by John Gruber and the late Aaron Schwartz would become so popular?

While most of my writing takes place in a text editor, I can understand the appeal of a dedicated Markdown editor. You get quick access to formatting, you can easily convert your documents to other formats, and you can get an instant preview.

If you're thinking about going Markdown and are looking for a dedicated editor, here are three open source options for your writing pleasure.


That we need to protect ourselves online is a given. Not just our identities, but also the logins to the various sites and services that we use daily.

In just about all of the advice that you'll read out there, there's always a recommendation to enable [multi-factor authentication]() (also called two-factor authentication) in whatever you use online to an extra layer of security. Multi-factor authentication (MFA for short) might not be an unscalable wall, but it is an obstacle in the way of someone trying to scam, rob, or impersonate you.

While there are more than a few MFA apps for smartphones, those kinds of tools are sometimes ignored or overlooked on the desktop. But not this time!

Let's take a quick look at three MFA applications for the Linux desktop. They're simple, effective, and open source.

Note: If you're interested in learning how MFA works, read this explanation.


You can't buy a computer with Linux pre-installed. How many times have you heard that refrain? I've heard it a lot over the last 20+ years. And still do every so often nowadays, believe it or not.

While that statement might have been true at one time, it's a patently false one today. There are a number of vendors from whom you can buy a Linux-powered laptop, desktop, mini, or server.

Here's a list of some of them:

Seller Types of Computers
System76 Desktops/Laptops
Star Labs Laptops/Minis
Laptop with Linux Laptops/Minis
SlimBook Laptops/Desktops/Minis
Purism Laptops/Minis
Kubuntu Focus Laptops/Minis
Entroware Desktops/Laptops/Servers
Tuxedo Computers Laptops/Desktops
Vikings Store Laptops/Desktops/Servers

Some Points to Remember

Note that:

  1. The list in this post isn't meant to be an exhaustive one. I know there are other vendors out there, but I'm most familiar with the ones above.
  2. Because I included a company in the list isn't an endorsement of it. If you have problems with any of those companies, please don't share those problems with me.
  3. I don't earn any money for either sharing those links or if you buy anything from the companies I've listed.

And, yes, what those companies charge is more than what you'll pay for a computer at your local big-box retailer. Why? Economies of scale, which smaller makers and sellers aren't able to take advantage of. No one is trying to rip you off.

Scott Nesbitt

#linux #hardware

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