Let's make Obsidian an operating system

TL;DR Obsidian should focus to provide a GUI and an extensive API on manipulating linked markdown/plain text notes, but leave development of features to the crowd.

I came across Obsidian a couple of weeks ago. It made me curious. Could it replace my ancient still paper-based note taking workflow? Not yet! But the basic idea the devs pursue with Obsidian (namely not taking the user-created content ransom) and the lively crowd here make Obsidian a promising venture.

The reason I didn’t stick with no todo/note-taking app in the last 10 years: flexibility and long-term availability.

On flexibility

Taking notes and managing todos is a very personal thing. Everybody has its individual needs. And since note-taking is also a creative process it shouldn’t be restricted by technical boundaries. What suits one may not suit another. Different approaches (a.k.a features) may also inspire others. I think everybody could benefit from each other if we have a universe full of features from which everybody could choose.

The ideal prototype to this is Emacs org-mode. It’s extremely customizable and some smart people added org-roam to it. Unfortunately, Emacs is sometimes called a great operating system but a bad text editor. It’s way way too complicated to use. But Emacs’ approach inspired me what Obsidian could be.

To the devs of Obsidian: Please focus on building a framework for managing linked markdown notes, but let everybody else contribute features as plugins. I have seen that an API is on your roadmap, but I wish it were the top priority.

On long-term availability

My biggest gripe with todo and note-taking apps is availability. I honestly fear that I adapt a workflow which works great for me but all of the sudden the tools I used stop from working. That’s the ultimate trump of pen and paper. And the reason I finally returned to it so many times.

Such elementary “operating system” I propose can IMHO only exist as open source. I believe that there a ways to monetize the software for the devs despite open-sourcing it. I can e.g. imagine a SaaS for use on computers I cannot install any software by myself.


Cannot fully agree with the Org-mode comment.

OK. For the technicality issue. You need to be a programmer to really ‘make’ something new.
On the other hand: the org ecosystem is big enough and there are many marketplaces to download good working solutions (with good manuals on how to install).

Same goes for API’s. If you can’t program you’ll not be able to plug into the API and make new plugins.

Personally I believe the Devs are doing great right now. The software is free for the moment. My belief is that a free version will always exists. Don’t think making Obsidian Open Source will “help”. The proprietary nature of the App is OK combined with the API approach.

Again: My five cents. All opinions appreciated

Might be easier to make an obsidian-like GUI for orgmode

I like where you’re going with this. I think that having some way to render embedded file or code content is a solid path toward OS, or OS-level functionality.

At the same time, this seems like what Codex is working on. Check out his stuff: