Open Source Musings

opensource

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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(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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Have you heard of TiddlyWiki? It's a portable wiki that you can use on your desktop or put on to a flash drive or mobile device and carry around with you.

TiddlyWiki is essentially a giant HTML file, with a lot of JavaScript and CSS mixed in to enable that file to function as a wiki. But TiddlyWiki is kind of big, too. The starter file weighs in at 2+ MB, and only gets larger as you add to it.

That bulk inspired a web developer named Robbie Antenesse to create a lighter analogue to TiddlyWiki called Feather Wiki. Coming in at just over 63 KB (that's not a typo!), Feather Wiki boasts the basic features of TiddlyWiki while staying fast and lean.

Let's take a look at it.

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Anyone remember the term desktop publishing (DTP for short)? It first came into the wider lexicon in the 1980s, and referred to the ability to use software on desktop computer to layout, typeset, and print, your own material like flyers, newsletters, books, and like.

It's been years since I've heard term desktop publishing uttered by anyone, but still goes on. Nowadays, though, a lot of that publishing is electronic only — publishing non fiction books, novels and short story collections, reports, and such in formats like PDF and EPUB.

Let's take a quick look at four open source tools that you can use to publish your words and ideas, whether for sale or just for sharing.

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

Back in the early and mid-1990s, there was a boom in dedicated HTML editors. Those were a mix of code editor and WYSIWYG tools, which were designed to get more and more people publishing in the then-burgeonening World Wide Web. As the years passed, so did most of those editors.

Over the last while, something similar has been happening with dedicated Markdown editors. Not to the extent of their HTML-only predecessors from a few decades back, but there are more than a handful on the market.

Those editors range from being just glorified text editors to some which are quite good. One dedicated Markdown editor that I've been exercising a lot is Mark Text. It reminds me of an open source version of Typora. While not quite as polished as Typora, Mark Text is quite a flexible editor.

Let's take a look at it.

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