Open Source Musings

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

While I try to do as much of my work as I can in plain text, one limitation that I run into is project management. I prefer a slightly more visual representation of where moving parts of my projects are while I'm working on them.

For that, I use a simple kanban board. While kanban boards are widely used in software development, manufacturing, and elsewhere they're also a great tool for personal projects.

On the open source side of the fence, you can turn to applications like WeKan or Nextcloud Deck to do the job. But what if you don't want to turn to the web and, instead, have a kanban board on your desktop?

The open source pickings in that area are a bit slim. While I found what looked to be a promising open source desktop kanban app, but I couldn't get it to run. Then I ran into Focalboard, created by the folks behind the Mattermost collaboration tool.

I spent a few weeks using Focalboard to manage a couple of projects. Let's dive in and find out what came of that.


You might recall a previous post in which I outlined the requirements for my ideal note taking application. In case you're wondering, I haven't found that particular tool yet. And, to be honest, I haven't been on an active hunt for it.

But in my drive to simplify and consolidate various things digital in my life, I now work with notes mostly on my desktop. That, in turn, recently drew me back to an application that I'd investigated in past.

Meet QOwnNotes. If you're familiar with it, QOwnNotes might seem like a strange choice for me — it packs more features than I need or use. But you can also make it as barebones or as complex as you need or want.

After I took QOwnNotes for a lengthy test drive, I came away with new appreciation for it. Let's jump in and see what I discovered.


Sometime during the week of December 4, 2023 you'll find this blog in a new home. Open Source Musings will still be at, but it'll be hosted elsewhere.

Why? It's not that I've soured on — I still think it's a solid platform. It's just that I'm trying to take a little more control over what I write and publish online. Hence this move.

If you have any bookmarks pointing to posts here, those should continue to work. Some posts are bound to fall through the cracks but I'll fix them as I find them.

While most aspects of this blog, aside from a small cosmetic change, are staying the same, there are a few things that are going away:

  • The ability to follow this blog from the Fediverse.
  • Email subscriptions.
  • Older link roundup posts (I'm still debating whether or not to continue with those).
  • A small handful of posts that no one will miss.

Once the move is done, you can follow the blog using its RSS feed.

Looking forward to seeing you at the new home of Open Source Musings!

Scott Nesbitt

Back in the old country, I had several physical dictionaries within reach of the desk at which I wrote. You know, for those times when I need to find or look up a word and not just because I thought they looked kind of impressive.

When I moved overseas, those dictionaries went to new homes. Since then, I haven't replaced those tomes. When I need a dictionary, I turn to the Linux command line and use dict. And, no, doing that isn't as geeky or techie as it seems.

Let's take a quick look at using dict to look up new and unfamiliar words.


My needs around staying organized are fairly simple. I use a digital calendar and a paper notebook to keep on top of what I need to do, where I need to be, and the like. That said, I like the idea of a simple, all-in-one tool. One that only packs a few features, but which does those few things well.

Two or three years ago, when I was using elementary OS as my main Linux distribution, I came across an application called Planner. At the time, I thought it wasn't all that bad a piece of software but it didn't pique my interest. When I heard a new version had been released, I decided to give it a peek.

I finally got around to doing that in the winter (in the southern hemisphere) of 2023. Let's jump into Planner and take it for a spin.


It's been a while since I've used a dedicated Markdown editor. It's not that I've soured on that type of application, but I've found that a fairly simple text editor is more than enough for my needs.

That said, there are more than a few solid Markdown editors for the Linux desktop — I've looked at a few over the life of this blog, as you might recall.

It's time to look at three more. So let's jump in, shall we?


When Red Hat went on a redundancy spree a few months ago, one of the teams affected was the one behind That left the community which had grown around the site in more than a bit of flux.

Thanks to the support of the Open Source Initiative, that community now has a new home: That site's in its early stages, but there's still quite a bit to learn there.

As a former correspondent, it's great to see the community find a new corner on the web. And I'm hoping that it grows and thrives. You can help make that happen by sharing your knowledge.

(Note that is still around but the site's not being updated. And there's no guarantee Red Hat will keep it running into the future.)

Scott Nesbitt


Here's a quick look at yet 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 they are handy to have around when you need them.

Let's jump in, shall we?


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