Open Source Musings


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

When you think of the word wiki, chances are the first thing that comes to mind is Wikipedia. That's not a surprise, considering that Wikipedia did help put the concept of the wiki into the popular consciousness.

Wikis, which are websites you can edit, are great tools for collaborating and organizing. But wikis usually require a lot of digital plumbing and a bit of care to use and maintain. All of that's overkill for personal use.

Enter TiddlyWiki, the brainchild of British software developer Jeremy Ruston. TiddlyWiki is very easy to use and is very portable.

Let's take a quick look at the basics of using TiddlyWiki.


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?


(Note: This post started life, in a different form, at 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.


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.


(Note: This post was first published, in a slightly different form, at 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.