Roam Research and Obsidian

Ok are the people that worked on Obsidian the same people that worked on Roam Research or do they just look similar? Also, does anyone know if Obsidian is going to pull a Roam where they lock you out of your documents after putting in a pay-to-use feature? I’m fine with pay-to-use applications, but I just want to know ahead so I don’t get locked out again from all my documents.

I don’t think there is much chance of that happening because notes in Obsidian are saved in your local drive and you can back it up where you want, unlike in Roam where it is saved onto their server (I assume, because I have not used Roam). Maybe Obsidian will bring out features that are paid, but I assume there basic tool will remain free. These are my thoughts and I hope someone who knows better will pitch in.

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They are not the same people that worked on Roam Research. But they are the same people that made Dynalist.


This is impossible in Obsidian, and one of the first principles of the developers (and the app). See the “Forever” heading on the front page.

Because Obsidian uses your local files, you will always own your notes. You can open the .md files created by Obsidian in any other Markdown-editing app, including many free alternatives. Other Personal Knowledge Management (PKM) apps also use similar syntaxes as Obsidian, so you can even transfer functionality like backlinks between apps.

As for the business model/pay structure, Personal licenses are $0 forever:

Edit: oh, one more thing. There are similarities between Obsidian and Roam, yes, but as is often the case in technology, Roam is not the first to implement many of its key features either. What I think Roam sells is actually a workflow: its designers and developers have done an excellent job of socializing PKM workflows and using Roam’s features to teach people a new way of working. But that way of working is not exclusive to Roam—its roots lie in the analog form of index cards and boxes to put them in.