Meta Post - Linux tips, tricks & solutions to common problems

I’ll keep a running list of tips, tricks and common problems here.

If you found a great tool or have a nifty trick for using Obsidian in Linux post below!

How to



Solutions to common problems

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Common “too many open files” related issues:

  1. ENOSPC: System limit for number of file watchers reached happens if you have too many files open on a system. By default this limit is set very low (65535) but it’s trivial to increase it:
    Obsidian starts with blank screen

  2. Error: EMFILE: too many open files might happen if you have a very large Obsidian vault with a lot of files inside. You can raise this limit by adding relevant entries in your /etc/security/limits.conf as mentioned in this post:

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How to use the Obsidian AppImage

After downloading the AppImage, and make it executable chmod +x Obsidian-0.8.14.AppImage, you should place it somewhere in your PATH as described here, e.g. in ~/bin/.

To add a desktop entry, you can create an obsidian.desktop file and place it in either /usr/share/applications/ or /usr/local/share/applications/ for applications installed system-wide, or ~/.local/share/applications/. The contents should look something like this:

[Desktop Entry]
Comment=Markdown Notetaking App
GenericName=Text Editor
Exec=/path/to/appimage/Obsidian-0.8.14.AppImage %U

Note that for the Application icon to work, the following line is important:

See also Application Icon missing in Gnome on Linux - #11 by sekhar989 . If all else fails, you can manually download and save the icon to ~/.icons/obsidian.png

In case you prefer a tool that can manage that for you, you can look into AppImageLauncher.


I used the AppImageLauncher and it worked great! It comes up as Obsidian(1) for some reason but I’ll take it for now :slight_smile:

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I could not have the icon for the .desktop & there was no .icons folder in home. what should I do?
I didn’t use AppImageLauncher and want to do it manually if there is a way.

Thank you

You can create the folder yourself!

AppImages are—in my opinion—the better alternatives to FlatPak or Snap. Thanks to the Obsidian team for providing one! Since AppImages run on such a variety of Linux systems, they don’t easily “self-integrate” into the miscellaneous desktop environments out there.

The easiest way is to use AppImageLauncher, especially if you use more than just one or two AppImages.

But it can be done manually, too. The basic steps here are:

  • Get the AppImage and make it executable.
  • Put it in a sensible location (I use ~/AppImages but some prefer /opt).
  • Get an application icon and store it where your DE can use it.
  • Make a “starter” (.desktop) file and put it in a location appropriate for your DE. A normal text editor can be used for this.

Here is an example for how I did it on my Linux Mint 20.1:

  1. Download the Obsidian AppImage.

  2. I moved it to ~/AppImages/Obsidian-0.10.11.AppImage.

  3. Make it executable: chmod +x ~/AppImages/Obsidian-0.10.11.AppImage.

  4. Get an icon. I used:

    curl -L -o obsidian.png
  5. Move the icon to a place where Cinnamon (my DE) can find and use it:

    sudo mv obsidian.png /usr/share/pixmaps
  6. Create an Obsidian.desktop file and store it in ~/.local/share/applications (you might need to create this folder first):

    [Desktop Entry]
    Comment=Markdown Notetaking App
    GenericName=Text Editor
    Exec=/home/matthias/AppImages/Obsidian-0.10.11.AppImage %u

    Note: Case matters!

    In the Exec= line, replace /home/matthias with your home folder. Also, use the correct Obsidian installer version name for the file you downloaded.

After all this, a restart may be needed and you’ll have Obsidian working from the Menu, and with its beautiful icon in the menu, the app switcher, etc.

Note: This is a single-user setup. If you want other users on this system to have access to Obsidian, consider using

  • /usr/share or /opt instead of ~/AppImages for storing the Obsidian AppImage, and
  • /usr/share/applications instead of ~/.local/share/applications for storing the .desktop file.