Open Source Musings

opensource

I've never been one for desktop RSS readers. I'm not sure why, but I've never found one that I really enjoyed using. Instead, I've been happy to lean on web-based readers and to use Newsboat at the command line.

Recently, however, I was looking at what's new in the elementary OS AppCenter and stumbled across Communique. It's a relatively new desktop RSS reader, based on one called Feed Reader, that I thought looked interesting. So, I installed it and gave it a test drive.

Let's take a quick look at Communique, shall we?

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(Note: This post started life, in a different form, at Opensource.com and appears here via a CC-BY-SA 4.0 license.)

In the early days of the web, a hundred browsers bloomed. Well, figuratively at least. Back then, there were more than a few of web browsers, but eventually that number was whittled down. Today, we're left with the Big Three and a (very) small handful of other web browsers.

Does the world need another web browser? I'm not the one to decide that. But some people think there is room for alternatives to Firefox, Chrome, and that other browser.

One of those alternatives is Min. As its name suggests (suggests to me, anyway), Min is a minimalist browser. That doesn't mean it's deficient in any significant way. Being open source, under an Apache 2.0 license, of course piques my interest in Min.

Let's take a look at Min and see what it can do.

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While Apostrophe is my Markdown editor of choice at the moment, others occasionally catch my eye. It's not that I'm constantly looking for a new Markdown editor, but part of me likes to know what's out there.

Recently, I stumbled across an editor called Ghostwriter. Well, stumbled across isn't quite the way to describe this discovery. I've used Ghostwriter in the past, and was impressed by its combination of a minimal design and a decent feature set. So I thought it was time to revisit Ghostwriter.

Let's take a 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 license.)

Even though I'm not their most enthusiastic user, I do realize that spreadsheets can be very useful. And they're not just tools for people working in finance or in data science. Anyone can use spreadsheet to keep track of their personal finances, to catalogue a personal library, and more.

Desktop spreadsheet editors have their limitations. The biggest is that you need to be at your computer to use one. On top of that, if you need to share a spreadsheet, it can quickly become a messy affair.

Enter EtherCalc, an open source, web-based spreadsheet. While not as fully featured as a desktop spreadsheet, EtherCalc packs enough features for most people.

Let's take a look at how to get started using it.

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(Note: This post was originally published at Opensource.com and appears here via a CC BY-SA 4.0 license.)

Even though I write for a living, I rarely use a word processor these days. I do most of my work in a text editor. When I do need to use a word processor, I turn to LibreOffice Writer. It's familiar, it's powerful, and it does everything that I need a word processor to do.

It's hard to dispute LibreOffice Writer's position at the top of the free and open source word processor food chain — both in popularity and in the number of features it has. That said, Writer isn't everyone's favorite word processor nor is it their go-to application for writing.

While the number of free and open source word processors has dwindled over the years, LibreOffice Writer isn't the only game in town. If you're in the market for an alternative to Writer that's also open source, test drive these three word processors.

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A calendar is more than just something that you use to mark off the days until the weekend. It's also a powerful tool for keeping organized and keeping track of your appointments and more. One of the apps built into Nextcloud is a calendar.

Nextcloud Calendar is easy to set up and use. It packs just enough features for most people. And, if your needs are fairly simple, it's a great alternative to the popular web-based calendar tools out there.

Let's take a closer look at Nextcloud Calendar.

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Recently I was culling some notes and I came across one from early 2008. A note that somehow escaped various attempts at pruning over the last 13+ years. A sign or just blind luck?

The note in question was about a post at a now-defunct blog about open source. One quote I extracted from that post pointed out something that I'd been saying for a (long) while:

There are some functionality that isn't available for the free options out there yet, but the actual portion of people that need that specific functionality is so small.

Believe it or not, most free and open source (FOSS) alternatives to commercial software are fine for most people. And they have been for a while.

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