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Maker here, excited to be on Hacker News. Obsidian is going into public beta today! (We're also on Product Hunt, come check us out!)

We made Obsidian to be your long-term second brain and personal knowledge base. As you put in more notes and make more connections, the knowledge base gets more valuable, so we think it's important that you can 100% own your data and not rely on any cloud services.

We believe you second brain should work similarly to your own brain and connections are crucial in thinking. Obsidian supports [[internal links]] between your notes out of the box, and provide a powerful graph view and backlink pane to help you understand your knowledge.

We also noticed how personal note-taking and knowledge management is, so we built Obsidian to be very extensible from the start, and let you put together your own workflow with plugins like daily notes and page preview as building blocks.

This leads to our three fundamental values of Obsidian:

1. Local-first, Markdown plain text based; 2. Link as first-citizen. 3. As extensible as possible.

Obsidian is a powerful front-end for your knowledge, like an IDE for your notes.

Learn more about Obsidian's features: https://obsidian.md/features

Read the story of the project and the team: https://obsidian.md/about




Interesting stuff!

I currently use Andy Matuschak's [1] system, using his note-link-janitor script [2] to generate backlinks and Typora to edit. The only thing Obsidian adds is the graph view for me, but it seems that Obsidian generates backlinks using file name, not title. I prefer linking by title. Perhaps this can be an option? The editor also seems to be lacking a little... for instance I can't seem to render math. Hopefully some of my feedback will be useful to you.

Overall really cool idea, but probably not going to use for now. Will keep tabs, and wish you the best of luck!

[1] https://notes.andymatuschak.org/About_these_notes [2] https://github.com/andymatuschak/note-link-janitor


I discovered andy's notes in the past and has been trying to determined what he uses to publish those clean yet powerfull notes. The janitor is only one part. do you also publish your notes as HTML? How to you make use of the backlinks generated by janitor?


It's possible to get a similar system with TiddlyWiki and the Krystal theme plus a few plugins:

https://twitter.com/Learn_Awesome/status/1265574525342793730...


Intriguing... thanks for sharing!


I don't. I share my notes with some friends as a private GitHub repo. The backlinks I just use as click-throughs to help me navigate my own notes. I too admire his notes site. Making my own is too much effort for me right now, but it is something I really want...


I believe you can use this Gatsby theme to get the behavior you're looking for https://github.com/aravindballa/gatsby-theme-andy


Woah, looks neat! Thank you!


Linking by title is an anti-pattern. Titles change and titles are not unique. Link-rot should always be prevented. Best solution is to use a uuid and hide it from the user.


This is what Quiver does underneath the covers. Every note has an unique id, same as attachments (photos, files, pdfs, etc).

My only problem with Quiver is that it seems that development has stopped, so the chances of adding new bits (like link autocomplete, for example), are thin. Other than that it's a pretty useful tool.


In Zettlr, new files are created based on a timestamp by default, e.g. 20200528171636.md. You can add YAML frontmatter like this:

---

title: Something

---

and the title will be reflected in the file navigator, instead of 20200528171636.md.


That's interesting.

I'm imagining a version that runs as a daemon, watching the folder containing all the notes. It then looks for files that have been modified, and are not currently edited (.swp files for vim, for example), and runs an update.

I think I'd prefer something running in the browser, though that is of course not ideal for several reasons...


2. Link as first-citizen.

sits up in chair, attention captured

Where can I read more about this? My current personal wiki is powered by TiddlyWiki and while I don't necessarily love the performance, I do LOVE the link structure of TiddlyWiki (I can create a "table of contents" page a random tag, and then every page using that tag gets rendered on said page). I have similar plugins for VSCode to collect all of my todo comments all into one document, linking back to their respective files.

Curious if Obsidian has a similar feature beyond the mind-map view shown on the features page?


The second box on our feature page might help!

https://obsidian.md/features


If I got you right, then you can just open the said tag in Obsidian and see all references to it as backlinks on the side panel.


Backlinks, thank you. That was the word I was trying to think of and describe exactly this, missed it by THAT much, heh-drinks more coffee. Cheers, I'll definitely be taking this for a spin


Psst, if you end up wanting to do backlinks in context by your notes in Tiddlywiki like Roam does, as shown here... https://i.imgur.com/n9ef25L.png

I have how to do that here: https://lesser.occult.institute/an-opinionated-approach-to-t... :)


Great article on Tiddlywiki, thanks! I too hate the name tiddlers but love the software so I tolerate it.


Dang, my optical nerve retracted and disconnected from the retina, and is now sitting in some dark corner of some bar in the adrenal cortex drinking whisky in pure protest to your H1 styling.


¯\_(ツ)_/¯ kids these days can't handle a little 𝕵𝖗𝖆𝖐𝖙𝖚𝖗


Kids? I'm probably old enough to vehemently request that you kindly get off my greensward.

But let us not get bogged down with ageism, the real question is what kind of monster uses both cyan and magenta text-shadow diagonally offset against each other???? !!! .... ?

:-)


Any commenter with a greensward is a friend of mine!

The answer is Google, sort of: https://developers.google.com/fonts/docs/getting_started#ena...

The anaglyph effect is what I tweaked. It's not too unreadable with simpler fonts--I 100% acknowledge readability takes a massive hit with both the fraktur and the anaglyph. Ultimately, though, my goal with that blog is mostly to have fun, so the expressive aspect is important to me. I may play around later with doing an animated effect (a la https://codepen.io/anatravas/pen/mOyNWR ) so the glitchy vibe remains strong but there are more readable keyframes. (Would a proper designer use animated text like this? Certainly not. Am I a proper designer? Certainly certainly not.)


I'm all for artistic freedom. Just letting you know in a jestful way that the design (and I am certainly not a proper, nor any other kind, designer either) that the design detracted/distracted from the message for this reader, to the point where I just hit back.

Then I went back in again, and started poking around with the element inspector. Then we had this discussion, and I am still not sure what the page content was actually about, but I have a sense that I might have found it interesting if I had stuck with it.


Fair enough; that artistic aspect means that for me, the design is part of the message so it's worth keeping. I think I do a similar thing with unstyled websites a la https://motherfuckingwebsite.com/ ; the content has to look very interesting to me to be worth copying and pasting in CSS a la http://bettermotherfuckingwebsite.com/ to actually read the thing. It's interesting to think about the wide range of tolerances out there for different kinds of visual presentation.


Looks pretty great to me. I have a great book called Fraktur Mon Amour. Unfortunately it is out of print but if you can still get it somewhere I wholeheartedly recommend it.


Powell's will send me an email when it's back in stock. Thanks!


In all fairness, they're pretty hard to read.


Yup, acked in another comment. The "k" is especially out of the norm, so with the colors as well, it's Not Ideal


Do you know a single plugin to get the two columns layout of stroll?


Yup! The cool thing about Tiddlywiki is that because it's one massive blob that executes clientside, and because it's designed to be extensible, you can yank the plugin Stroll uses right out of Stroll. If you go to https://giffmex.org/stroll/stroll.html and click plugins on the sidebar, you can see a list of installed plugins; Stories is what he's using to get the second column, and it shows up with this link: https://giffmex.org/stroll/stroll.html#%24%3A%2Fplugins%2Fsq...

Click and drag that to the tab with your own TW open, and you're good to go!

I haven't used that plugin so I don't know if it's good or whatnot, but there you are.


Thank you!

I did not think of grabbing it out of stroll. Tried searching for plugins but never encountered the "Stories" plugin.


Done, cheers for that!


> 3. As extensible as possible.

The app would need to be open source for this to be possible.

It's still possible to make money with an open-source product. When you're targeting a developer audience, it might even be more profitable to be open-source.


proprietary software can totally be extensible, that's what plugin APIs are for. foss is cool and all, but i don't buy the implication that it's some sort of civic duty for developers to release under a foss license.


Is an open-source piece of software more extensible than closed-source? If so, then if the goal is to maximize extensibility, then open-source is required.


Open source software is readily and legally user modifiable. It is often (but not always) readily extensible - it can actually be quite difficult to extend in some cases. (There's plenty of difficult to work with spaghetti on GitHub.)

Source available proprietary software is readily inspectable, but often not legal to modify (at least not for free). It might still be extensible (ex plugins) though!

Closed source proprietary software is difficult to inspect, difficult to modify, and generally illegal to modify (for most use cases, in most jurisdictions). As above, it could easily be extensible though.


Hardly. Extending a piece of software requires generally extensive familiarization with the codebase, possibly ranging into millions of lines.

On the other hand, a well documented plugin or scripting system, which sits on top of the existing domain logic and is well documented and full of examples, generally is an excellent way to allow extending the base app.

The base app can be open or closed source. Without scripting or plugin system it's still a black box for most intents (as the time needed to study and change it would likely be too much).


A piece of software being open-source does not preclude it from also having a plugin or scripting system.


Sure! But the question was "is an open source software more extensible...". And for most situations where software is used the answer is no.


If being open-source improves extensibility by even 0.0000001%, then to make something as extensible as possible requires it to be open-source.

As someone who writes plugins, being able to see "behind the curtain" is very helpful, especially for taking advantage of un-documented features.


someone created something that they'd like to make a little money off of, while still taking very extensive steps to make it available, extensible, and prevent lock in. they chose a path to profit with all of these goals in mind. you're demanding an awful lot for something that "improves extensibility by even 0.0000001%". in the spectrum between "i want to extract money from the users of this product" and "i want this product to be used as the users see fit", i would say this product's goals lean towards the latter.

please don't say the wording is the problem. "as extensible as possible" is fine. "as possible" is a qualifier, it clearly means "as extensible as possible without undermining other goals". you're pretending that they've promised to make it extensible at the expense of _everything_ else, and that assumption in context in unfounded.

it's true that paths to monetization exist for open source software, but they usually aren't accessible to an individual developer who is building a small bootstrapped side-project to generate small amounts of passive income.


obviously the "as possible" is qualified.

setting that aside, though, the best way to make software (open- or closed-source) extensible is via a plugin API. without it, the only way for end users to extend open-source software is to fork and maintain the fork forever, or attempt to merge upstream. so one might argue that the quality of the plugin API (and its documentation) is the primary measure of a software's "extensibility".


Hah, is it not opensource? If it really is closed then it's useless, not worth discussing. Then it's funny they maket it as being better than clouds, that clouds shuts down, change owners or policies. With closed source software they will be able to do the same. Yes, markdown is plain text but as more and more additional features would be used, one would get more vendor locked-in to this software. And then what - write an opensource alternative with all the features from scratch again. Clouds at least give online sync...


Early user here. Obsidian is literally the best app in 2020 so far IMO.

- Blazingly fast

- Clean UI

- Free

- Sync with Dropbox, Github, iCloud...

- Great community

I have never looked back to Notion and Bear since I found it.

Btw, the Obs team is moving so fast.


> Free

Not really. The license says you are not allowed to take notes about work you get compensated for. So free only for 100% hobby projects.

Working in a start-up I don't have big 100% hobby projects that would require a lot of note keeping. YMMV


I'd be more concerned if you had a hard time getting reimbursed for this kind of software at your job.


What's the concern for? A lot of great jobs still have penny-pinching managers. I've worked somewhere notoriously Frugal that was good and paid well but had no problem denying requests like this.


It's sometimes not just about money. Any organisation that alows individuals and teams to freely pick and choose tools will end up with a huge pile of semi-forgotten systems and organisational knowledge spread over multiple wikis, sharepoint sites, trello boards, monday projects and word docs on shared drives and dropboxes. Seen it happen multiple times. Corparate use of "personal/hobbyist" free tiers of popular tools is not just a legal liability, it's also a security nightmare apart from the already mentioned infromation spread problems.


That's a super helpful counter-point, thanks!


I'll respond with a connected set of questions...

Is it worth the time to deny a (well intentioned) $150 request made by a software developer who costs a company (for example) $150K total (salary, benefits, and fixed costs)? $150 is 0.1% of $150K.

What are the benefits and costs? Some questions to ask include:

- How much time did the company spend in the process of denying this request? By the time you include emails, research, context switching, etc, I think it is fair to say this might consume 15 minutes of the engineer's time and 15 minutes of the denier's time. That would be 0.5 hours; assuming $80/hr, that is $40.

- What is the likely effect? Will it discourage an employee from trying a new tool? Might it encourage a culture of "build it here" rather than pay to use something that already exists? Might it encourage an employee to abuse the license? Might this increase the legal risk of the company? In the case of, say, online learning, it might encourage employees to browse dozens of crappy web resources rather than simply paying for a high quality learning resource. My point: being stingy has real effects on human behavior.

- Does the company pay the same level of detail to other areas that could easily save more money? Three examples: (1) Does a company need to spend $200/year/person on junk food or bottled water? (2) Does a company look carefully at ways to improve energy efficiency? (3) Does a company have a smart, regularly practiced, data-recovery plan in place? I could go on; I think you see my point: it is wiser to allocate effort and oversight in proportion to impact.

- To what degree does the company have issues with trust and accountability? What is the effect on morale are discouraged from trying and paying for useful software and tooling?

I think my overarching point is, again, illustrated by questions: What does a company truly value? Are they mindful and realistic about their costs and benefits?

P.S. This may be obvious to some (but not all): paying for software is not necessarily a bad thing. Open source has many advantages, but without ongoing contributions and/or a funding strategy, open source software is not necessarily a "safer" bet than closed-source software. A better litmus test is "can I export my data in a useful way if I decide to leave or switch?"


This seems like an argument for buying SDEs needed software. It doesn't seem like an argument against the idea that you can work somewhere where they refuse to buy things like this, and still have it be a good job.

If your job pays well, work is interesting, good commute, good benefits, good manager, good coworkers, important mission, or a net positive combination of these things, that seems way more important than whether or not they'll buy you arbitrary software.


> This seems like an argument for buying SDEs needed software.

It depends on what the company values. This is what I meant when I wrote: "What does a company truly value? Are they mindful and realistic about their costs and benefits?"

> ALittleLight: It doesn't seem like an argument against the idea that you can work somewhere where they refuse to buy things like this, and still have it be a good job.

Correct, I made no such argument. You are free to make that value judgment.

It depends where you sit. Maybe you want to dig into ways an organization can improve? If so, that gets into questions about organizational values as well as costs and benefits of various options.

> ALittleLight: If your job pays well, work is interesting, good commute, good benefits, good manager, good coworkers, important mission, or a net positive combination of these things, that seems way more important than whether or not they'll buy you arbitrary software.

Again, feel free to make such a value judgement.

However, I would not use the word 'arbitrary' here, since in employment situations, there will be some understanding around expenses, often set out in policies and conversations. Even in organizations that are more flexible with expenses, employees are expected to use good judgment for business expenses.


I'm curious: were you expecting that my comment offer "an argument against the idea that you can work somewhere where they refuse to buy things like this, and still have it be a good job."?

If so, why?


The thread, as I understand it, goes something like:

1. The company should buy you this.

2. They may not.

3. If they didn't, that would be a concern.

4. Why?

5. Argument that the company should buy extra software.

Point 5 is off topic. There might be a good job that wouldn't buy you extra software and that wouldn't really be a concern.

It's like if someone said "Your job is bad if they don't offer free lunch". I might say "My job doesn't offer it, but it's not a concern because I like my job for other reasons" and your reply would be advocating for the benefits of free lunch. Free lunch might be great, but the topic is whether it's a concern that the company doesn't offer it, not whether it's great or not.


Another response: your argument style reminds me a little bit of a straw man:

  > A straw man (or strawman) is a form of argument
  > and an informal fallacy based on giving the 
  > impression of refuting an opponent's argument, 
  > while actually refuting an argument that was not
  > presented by that opponent. - Wikipedia
... with the twist: instead of engaging with anything I said, you mischaracterize it and large parts of the preceding discussion. Then you use that as a way to dismiss what I wrote as "off topic".

I'm going to have some fun looking up what others call that kind of rhetoric.


Ah, this appears to be the core of it: according to your interpretation of the thread, my comments are off-topic.

After re-reading the thread, it is clear that your 'understanding' (as written above) of the thread is inaccurate.

I'll annotate the first five comments in the thread, with your 'understandings' and my responses:

  Original post:
  > allenleein: "Early user here. Obsidian is literally the best
  > app in 2020 so far IMO. -Blazingly fast -Clean UI -Free -Sync
  > [...] -Great community"

  Your 'understanding':
  > 1. The company should buy you this.
Your understanding is inaccurate: allenleein does not say a company should buy Obsidian.

  Follow-up comment:
  > usr1106: "[it is] Not really [free]. The license says you are
  > not allowed to take notes about work you get compensated for.
  > So free only for 100% hobby projects.
  >
  > Working in a start-up I don't have big 100% hobby projects
  > that would require a lot of note keeping. YMMV

  Your 'understanding':
  > 2. They may not [buy you this]
Your understanding is inaccurate: usr1106 says nothing about what an organization should or should not buy. A better summary would be: usr1106 disagrees about what 'free' means, explains the license, and does have hobby projects that would qualify as free.

  > codezero: I'd be more concerned if you had a hard time getting
  > reimbursed for this kind of software at your job.

  Your 'understanding':
  > 3. If they didn't, that would be a concern.
Fair enough.

  Follow-up comment:
  > libria: "What's the concern for? A lot of great jobs still 
  > have penny-pinching managers. I've worked somewhere notoriously
  > Frugal that was good and paid well but had no problem denying
  > requests like this.""

  Your 'understanding':
  > Why?
Your understanding is incomplete. In addition to asking why, libria also offers a framing and makes a value judgment about what constitutes a good job.

Some of your other comments in this thread refer to this framing and value judgment. That's fine, but other comments are in no way obligated to agree or buy-in to that framing.

  Follow-up comment:
  > xpe: I'll respond with a connected set of questions...
  > 
  > Is it worth the time to deny a (well intentioned) $150 request
  > made by a software developer who costs a company (for example)
  > $150K total (salary, benefits, and fixed costs)? $150 is 0.1%
  > of $150K.
  >
  > What are the benefits and costs? Some questions to ask include:
  >
  > [... time spent? likely effects? consistency in other areas? ...]
  >
  > I think my overarching point is, again, illustrated by questions: 
  > What does a company truly value? Are they mindful and realistic
  > about their costs and benefits? [... P.S. ... snip]
 
  Your 'understanding':
  5. Argument that the company should buy extra software.
Your understanding is inaccurate. I asked many questions that don't give one particular universal answer about purchasing; the questions, I hope, suggest an approach to finding an answer that works for you.

A charitable reading (see the HN Guidelines) of my comment would see that I was responding to this part of libria's comment: "What's the concern for?" To put it very simply, I would be concerned by a company that was not mindful and realistic about their costs and benefits. Why? It is simple: I value working for mindful and realistic companies.

In summary, your understanding is inaccurate.


Because it seems like you are talking to a dev, not a manager. Assume the dev is already onboard with the idea of being compensated; the original comment was "I'd be more concerned if you had a hard time getting reimbursed" i.e from the POV of the employee.


I don’t understand.

Is it fair to say you (Chris2048) have some expectation around how the thread evolved based on your assumptions of what is relevant?

I see the best conversations here as trying to understand each other.


I don't understand what you are asking.

I am not the same person, but I'm not sure that matters unless you know of OP specifically, you are asking: "how was my intention interpreted as X".

Im telling you the context of the thread implied it, otherwise your comments arent relevant to the POV of a dev.


Yes, I saw you aren't using the same account name. That's why I asked.

At the risk of saying something we already know, HN discussion isn't limited to one person's definition of what a "hacker" or "developer" is:

  > On-Topic: Anything that good hackers would find
  > interesting. That includes more than hacking and
  > startups. If you had to reduce it to a sentence,
  > the answer might be: anything that gratifies one's
  > intellectual curiosity.
I think it is easy to forget, so I just want to write this here... People here may work on building technology (hardware, software, biotech), running companies, leading teams, thinking about problems to solve, how to be effective, how to deal with stress and mental issues, and lots more. So, talking about organizational culture is on-topic.

You may prefer to discuss something from the point of view of a software developer. You may have desire to keep threads organized and on-topic.

Personally, I think your assessment of the "context of the thread" is both overly narrow and off target. But my goal is not to convince you my interpretation is correct...

...My goal is to show that your interpretation of the context of the thread is subjective. Again, subjective is fine; we don't need to agree. I want to emphasize that reasonable people can see it differently from you. I hope that you (and everyone on HN) can recognize this and think it through before they say a comment is "irrelevant".

So, forgive me for asking, but I can't help but wonder how you approached this thread. With curiosity? With a goal of understanding? With some other driving factors?

I would like to highlight a few important points from the HN guidelines that think we can all learn from (myself included) ...

  > Please don't post shallow dismissals, especially of
  > other people's work. A good critical comment teaches
  > us something.

  > Please respond to the strongest plausible 
  > interpretation of what someone says, not a weaker one
  > that's easier to criticize. Assume good faith.

  > Be kind. Don't be snarky. Have curious conversation;
  > don't cross-examine. Comments should get more 
  > thoughtful and substantive, not less, as a topic gets
  > more divisive.
On a personal note, I put considerable thought into my comment -- phrasing it with open-ended questions where I implied some arguments in play. I offered food for thought. I was hoping for substantive responses, not claims that the comment was off topic. In addition, I found some of the resulting comments to be unconstructive. I think we owe it to each other to help each other and make the most of our precious time here on the planet.

One motivation for reading this comment, frankly, is a plea for people to re-examine their communication tendencies and the resulting effects on (a) your ability to learn (e.g. a growth mindset); (b) this community; (c) all communities.


Can be a bit more specific? Your words imply accusations without explicitly making them, and it comes across as two-faced to me.

* why are you highlighting those HN guidelines?

* who are the "people" you want to "re-examine their communication tendencies", and what motivates this plea?

* why are you curious about how I "approached this thread"?

That aside,

I answered your question: replying to a thread in an ambiguous or open-ended manner will cause people to fill in the gaps (infer your meaning) from the context of the thread. If your meaning does not follow from the context (i.e. is a non-sequitur) it's likely you will be misunderstood; In this case that you were offering "an argument against the idea that you can work somewhere where they refuse to buy things like this, and still have it be a good job."


Responses to your bullet points:

Re: 1 & 2: I would like HN participants to consider the HN guidelines, because I often see what appears to be a lack of awareness. Following the guidelines (many of which are about self-reflection and tone) helps shape the community discussion constructively.

Re 3: I asked because I want to understand your motivations here.

Yes, I understand the general idea of non-sequiturs.

In summary, I think an accurate and charitable reading of my comment will realize that it was not a non sequitur nor off-topic.

Above your comment said:

> Im telling you the context of the thread implied it, otherwise your comments arent relevant to the POV of a dev.

My comments are relevant to the point of view of a developer. Moreover, HN discussion is about more than the POV of a developer.


Why did you to cite those particular guideline in this specific thread? Why ask about my motivations.

It seems like you are dodging the question(s) i.e If you have some generality about HN participants, why put it in this thread (and not others). Since you don't put it in your profile, or copy-paste it in every comment you make, it seems to me there's a reason.

> In summary, I think an accurate and charitable reading of my comment will realize that it was not a non sequitur nor off-topic.

Another back-handed response, as it implies my own comments (which made the opposite conclusion) is therefore either/or not accurate, or not charitable. If you believe this, then why not explicitly say so - and then defend that position? you say "In summary", but I can't see what part of this post you are summarising.

> My comments are relevant to the point of view of a developer. Moreover, HN discussion is about more than the POV of a developer.

They might relevant, if there is enough context to understand them. And we are not talking about what is relevant to "HN discussion" - we are talking about this thread in particular.


I don’t know you or anything about your life experiences. I asked about your motivations because I was curious.

My goal here is to use a calm, measured language. I was hoping this would help the conversation, but perhaps it upset you. You called my comments ‘back-handed’ and ‘two-faced’. I didn’t intend them that way.

You could have chosen different words. You may realize the words you chose were harsher than necessary. Even if you were correct in your assessment, which I don’t think you were, those choice of words will likely have a negative effect in a conversation. Especially online, particularly with someone you don’t know.

BTW, I am genuinely sorry if you think I’m trying to insult you in an obscure or sneaky way. I’m not. Doing that would be unkind.

Speaking of your claims that my comments were ‘two-faced’ or ‘back-handed’, there is another explanation. (Skip two paragraphs down for that)

If there’s one thing I could get across to you, it is: please open your mind to other explanations. Be charitable towards others. Don’t assume malice.

If you think you are already as charitable as you can be, then I don’t expect this advice to bother you. If you feel bothered by it, perhaps you should take a closer look at yourself. (I’m not claiming that I am perfect in this regard. It is a process.)

You might have reached the point in life when you realize and respect that people have different communication styles. Many people may not be as direct as you would like.

You say I ‘dodged’ your question. I hope you realize there are other ways to say the same thing with nicer connotations.

You also may realize you didn’t answer my questions, which I asked first. I don’t mind if you don’t want to answer.

I’ll try to phrase my thinking over the last few messages in a different way. My take is that many of your claims are overconfident, possibly because you aren’t actively asking yourself ‘how might other people see this’.

I think a big reason I’ve been replying is out of some (misplaced, perhaps) desire to help you. I think you would benefit by finding more ways to understand other people’s points of view.

I will admit, you seem capable of arguing just fine. So, I don’t see intelligence being a limiter. I would guess (with about 75% probability) that a lack of empathy is a limiter for you.

This is not meant to be harsh even though it may be direct. If true, you certainly aren’t alone and you definitely aren’t alone in a community of technical people. There’s plenty of rationality and technical knowledge but too little empathy.

Example in point: You did a nice job of criticizing my use of ‘in summary’. I’m both joking and not. My usage could be improved, but I think the intent was clear.

Based on what I’ve seen in your behavior, I predict you will reply. However, I don’t expect it to be much different in tone. Feel free to surprise me!

In any case, maybe you will check back in a few years and re-read this thread. Maybe you will see it with new eyes. Maybe it will be some value to you.

Just so you know, if you reply, I don’t expect to reply in timely manner (or ever). So, feel free to have the last word here.


I was asking ALittleLight.

Chris2048: are you the same person?


It's not like there's a realistic way to enforce that license, so it's essentially free.

Edit: typo


Very few licenses are easily enforced, but that does not entitle folks to violate them. Most desktop software can easily be found with the copy protection removed, but that doesn’t make it free - there’s no moral difference between warez, GPL violations, and violating a free-for-non-commercial-use license.


Curious if you use your markdown files on mobile and if so, what tools do you use? I’m still using bear because of their iPhone/iPad apps.


Not GP but Markor is fantastic for anyone running Android (https://f-droid.org/en/packages/net.gsantner.markor/).


You should try NotePlan https://noteplan.co/ - pretty decent search, tags, markdown-like syntax and calendar on both mac and iPhone apps.


How does it compare to Roam?


1. Obsidian makes use of a local folder of Markdown text files, rather than syncing to a cloud database like Roam.

2. Each page in Roam is an outline (as in outliner), whereas each file in Obsidian is a Markdown file.

3. #tag is not the same as [[tag]] in Obsidian.

4. Rather than a built-in feature, "daily notes" is available as a plugin in Obsidian.


Wow, based on your history of submissions you've really been obsessing over this problem for quite a while. Kudos on continuing to improve your products/positioning.


Hi Eric(?)

I downloaded Obsidian and it looks really nice. I use markdown already to make notes on my side project, but in my brain my thoughts are more diffuse as it's an MVP stage thing with so many ways to extend, so many things to think about. I think this would, at firs glance, help me alot.

One small thing I'd recommend would be when you first open it, could it create a default folder like (on Windows for example) Documents\Obsidian. And pre fill that as the folder (and I can change if I like). Then when I first use it there is less friction.

The other thing is to UX test that first screen where you are made to choose between new document and reading docs. I felt that made me think too much, and it might be the wording. I'd sort of prefer something like:

New User? Do you want to read help on getting started? Yes/No.

However I might not be typical, so watch over some shoulders as people first use the app and ask them what they are thinking.

Good luck!



Thank you so much for the tips, they make a lot of sense! Our onboarding surely needs some re-thinking.


I've been looking for something like this for... so long. It's like tiddlywiki but with first class & local markdown! Thank you!!!

Add a separate GUI for a workflow-y like list-editing (that saves as a markdown list format) and you've got a serious competitor to Roam as well as beating out more traditional competitors like Notion, Boostnote, etc.

e: ah, no inline LaTex.. I knew there was a catch!


> Add a separate GUI for a workflow-y like list-editing (that saves as a markdown list format) and you've got a serious competitor to Roam as well as beating out more traditional competitors like Notion, Boostnote, etc.

FYI, they're the ones behind Dynalist.


Can you clarify who "they" is? Are Dynalist and Obsidian made by the same folks?


AFAIK yes.


Dynalist doesn't have the first class local markdown support like this!


> e: ah, no inline LaTex.. I knew there was a catch!

Sadly, this makes it completely useless for me.


Agreed, although according to a reply a fix is in the works.


The catch shall be fixed soon! :)


This looks really cool! I can't wait to check it out.

I've been using various personal wikis for years, and this hits most of what I am looking for.

But, I'd like to offer some suggestions.

- It would be cool if you would consider some tweaks for how the text is rendered. It can still be Markdown compatible, but for example allow linebreaks to be interpreted as linebreaks. Text used for reference often has different needs than what is being exported to HTML.

- Git integration. I just use git for syncing my knowledge bases. It makes the most sense for my multiple devices, and it is very rare that I even have conflicts and can't automatically merge differences.

I actually have a script that lets me use Dropbox or another syncing provider to sync my working tree, separate from the repo itself, so that my history isn't polluted with excessive automated commits, but it is still tracked relative to where it was checked out, and resolved automatically. That way you can have the strengths of git without the drawbacks.

You may also want to check out git-annex/datalad. I combine it with my home grown Markdown wikis for embedding references to files in my wikis, keeping my git history just pure text. One of my goals is to bridge file management with text management.

I'd be happy to share any of this if you're interested. I've had plenty of free time recently to further develop it.


+1 for a git-annex integration! I'm hoping this may come to pass at least as a plug-in.

I'm pretty much ready to abandon org-mode for this, but the git/git-annex combo is harder to leave behind.

Would love to hear more about your setup!


This looks incredible, I’m going to try it out today.

One suggestion - would you consider adding videos/gifs of your product on the features page? I feel like that would demonstrate your product much better, especially the linking part.


Downloaded this a few hours ago, and ported all my notes about my novel over to it, and I have to say: this is a really great piece of software. The interface is intelligent, ergonomic and fast, and it does a lot of things automatically which I really like. It cuts down on the boring book keeping.

I was also able to move my plot outline into this, which was a godsend for me because previously it was in a word document, meaning I couldn't check things off. Now I have an interactive task list for it! And everything is all in one place!

One small suggestion: I would really like some place where it lists all the key commands (for instance, are there key commands for making headings? what about the key command for Replace, which I couldn't find?). Also, it would be nice if tags weren't necessarily represented inside the document from a viewing perspective. Maybe as a bar along the bottom, which is then copied into the markdown document transparently?

Thanks for making this!


Settings -> Hotkeys


Why isn't the snap package signed?

    $ snap install obsidian_0.6.4_amd64.snap 
    error: cannot find signatures with metadata for snap "obsidian_0.6.4_amd64.snap"


Apologies for our lack of experience on Linux, we'll look into it!


You'd need some snap store to be able to install it without using --dangerous flag. Snapcraft.io is Ubuntu's (and most popular one), though that might not work for you if you want the download to be available exclusively from your own website.

But then again, if it's on Snapcraft, you don't need to worry about distributing updates to your users.


Might I suggest distributing your app as an AppImage? snaps require the snap package manager (snapd) to be installed on your system. AppImages, on the other hand, run out of the box after a chmod +x.


Are you going to add some features for more structured data? I'm thinking about tables like in Notion where you can sort by any column. Working with Markdown tables is very clunky.


The closest thing in Markdown is probably front-matters. You're right in that Obsidian is not great for structured data right now, and for that purpose Notion or Airtable is much better.


If you need to edit tables then you could just use TableFlip, gives you a spreadsheet style interface to edit tables, automatically updates your markdown file without the need to copy paste https://tableflipapp.com


That might be a good candid it feature for a plugin when the API is released. It was mentioned before in the discord.


Not sure if this BoneAppleTea material or DamnYouAutoCorrect :-)


Have you any good resources for getting started with this graph-type note-taking? Currently I just used notable.md in a NextCloud folder and it works pretty slickly.


Not aware of many good resources since it's pretty new, but you can probably look into the Zettelkasten method.

The gist is to make your notes atomic and link them together whenever possible. [[ links provides auto-complete, and the backlink plugin tells you what notes links to this note, and what notes mention it but don't explicit link it.

The graph view is for discovery and navigation mostly. It lets you discover clusters, and identify "orphan" nodes that aren't connected anything. That might inspire you to think of connections and strength your knowledge network.

Hope that makes sense!



Unless you follow the semantic wiki model (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Semantic_wiki) rather than the plain wiki model what the user is building is neither a knowledge base nor a second brain. Nearly all software in this area makes this mistake so it's not your fault. Links in human brains are typed (not untyped) and the regular wiki model (and web, and Obsidian) only support untyped links. If you are truly aiming to deliver software that allows users to create a personal knowledge base then please consider spending some time researching semantic web technology.


I just installed it, and it looks pretty slick, congratulations on the launch!

One piece of feedback, I couldn't discover in the app itself how to make references to other documents. I finally figured it out by looking at your web page and seeing the [[connections]] bit.


Had the same issue, found it on this HN post.


> Obsidian is a powerful front-end for your knowledge, like an IDE for your notes.

Could you describe Obsidian's pros'n'cons in comparison to VNote[0] + Viki[1]?

[0] https://github.com/tamlok/vnote

[1] https://github.com/tamlok/viki


this is awesome! i see the 'zettelkasten link fixer' in the markdown format importer ("Fixes [[UID]] links to full [[UID File Name]].") - any plans/thoughts on just supporting [[UID]]? this seems less brittle to me in that you won't break all of your backlinks if you change the (non-ID) part of the filename.


Obsidian will auto-update all backlinks when you rename it.

Essentially, we think wikilinks should identify the destination exactly and should not perform a search instead.

Thankfully it's all just plain text at the end of the day, and it's not hard to do some text processing to convert both ways.


+1 for this request, which would allow better interoperability with "The Archive" (from zettelkasten.de). I built my Zettelkasten links in "The Archive" using [[UID]]. Obsidian looks fantastic and I'd love to give it a try but my existing links do not work. As a side note, the other feature from "The Archive" I miss is the ability to create buttons for custom searches in the left sidebar.


Could you add the releases on Arch Linux's AUR? Downloading a binary from a website is not something Linux users often do. I couldn't find Obsidian on the snap store[0] either.

[0]: https://snapcraft.io/search?q=obsidian


Ive been using Trello Card's markdown notes and the connecting cards feature to approximate obsidian's main features for years now. Really love it.

Very interested in the graph and multiplexer features...

A Trello integration would be nice.


Awesome work guys! Judging by such an active and enthusiastic community, I could see this having a very sizable market share of knowledge bases like roam / bear / notion in the future. So far I haven't found a good filesystem based note taking app that fit my needs. Quiver came the closest but has not been active in development recently, so I'm switching to this and I'm excited where it goes.

You and Shida have some serious product & programming chops ~ UWaterloo represent!


can you do a quick and dirty screenshare demo of how you use it and post that to youtube? e.g. setting up some notes after a fake brainstorming session or micro LSD dose etc..


There are a few videos made by beta testers already, but it's a good idea to have some official ones. We've just been too busy shipping releases...

Some videos that might help: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cFYaWC_86W0 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KAkJMHg-dGw https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rh2ysYig8Wo


Obsidian seems very cool. One thing I noticed on install as someone with a Windows device is that the install location cannot be specified. It would be great if your team supported this as it's pretty standard for many Windows apps and aids in system organization. I was able to move Obsidian and the obsidian-installer and things seem okay but I have no idea if this will break the updater at a later point in time.


Obsidian looks great! And I think it will be greater if I can write `[](another_markdown)` as internal links too, it will be easier to generate HTML files to host, using Hugo or something. If people save all markdown files in one folder then it's the same word count as [[another_markdown]].


I would just like to point out John Gruber disavowed the []() syntax on Twitter. He even said he would like to accept reverse brackets, since it's such a common problem.

I have been using personal wikis for about a decade, and 99% of the time I make an internal link, I want the caption to be the same as the page name.

I wish that the Markdown standard would just specify to render [[Page]] as [Page](Page).


To be fair, John Gruber has disavowed a lot of modern Markdown features and syntaces, so it's not exactly an authority statement anymore for today's Markdown. It's why CommonMark exists.


Yes we do support the standard format, navigation will work in Obsidian but unfortunately not link auto-completion.


What do you think about CMS usecases like blogging? Where you'd write locally and maybe define some notes or a folder for static site generation, maybe triggering rebuilds from within Obsidian?


We designed the "Publish" add-on service for that purpose (not yet available): https://obsidian.md/pricing

We still want to give you the option to export internal links to standard [Markdown](link) links so that static site generators or sites like GitBooks can understand them out of the box.


Good to know, thx.


Why not just use Jekyll or Hugo at that point?


Idea was to use that feature with Jekyll or Hugo.


I know I'm a day late, but I wanted to pass on that I am in love with this product, so cool! I have used it nonstop since I downloaded it. Can't wait to see how this evolves


How does it compare to Emacs Org Mode?




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