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Open Source Obsidian Alternatives

The best open source alternative to Obsidian is Joplin. It's not free, so if you're looking for a free alternative, you could try Standard Notes or Zettlr. If that doesn't suit you, our users have ranked more than 100 alternatives to Obsidian and many of them is open source so hopefully you can find a suitable replacement. Other interesting open source alternatives to Obsidian are Simplenote, CherryTree, Zotero and Zim.

Obsidian alternatives are mainly Note-taking Tools but may also be Todo List Managers or Task Management Tools. Filter by these if you want a narrower list of alternatives or looking for a specific functionality of Obsidian.
This page was last updated Jun 23, 2022
Obsidian
  427
  • Free PersonalProprietary
  • Mac
  • Windows
  • Linux
  • Android
  • iPhone
  • Android Tablet
  • iPad

Powerful knowledge base that works on top of a local folder of plain text Markdown files.

Learn more about Obsidian

  1. Joplin

    • Free PersonalOpen Source
    • Mac
    • Windows
    • Linux
    • Android
    • iPhone
    • Android Tablet
    • iPad
    • Google Chrome
    • Termux
    • Firefox

    Joplin is a free, open source note taking and to-do application, which can handle a large number of notes organised into notebooks. The notes are searchable, can be copied, tagged and modified either from the applications directly or from your own text editor.

    Joplin vs Obsidian opinions
    Most users think Joplin is a great alternative to Obsidian.
    andersmmg

    Joplin has a very different approach to organization compared to Obsidian

    Top negative comment  2 months ago
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    Joplin doesn't have the same focus as Obsidian. It's more of an Evernote alternative

    Negative comment 11 months ago
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    yee42069

    Joplin is all about hierarchical notes. Obsidian is about graph based organization.

    Negative comment 11 months ago
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    sCojQE5

    Joplin is taking shots at Evernote, not Obsidian.

    Negative comment over 1 year ago
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    5
    andgregorik

    Joplin has a fracture of the features of Obsidian which is no wonder since Obsidian aims to become a powerful desktop knowledge base, unlike Joplin. For one thing, Joplin focuses on mobile<->desktop syncing and not on effective internal linking. They're similar at first glance only.

    Negative comment over 1 year ago
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  2. Standard Notes

    • FreemiumOpen Source
    • Mac
    • Windows
    • Linux
    • Online
    • Android
    • iPhone
    • Chrome OS
    • Android Tablet
    • iPad
    • Self-Hosted
    • F-Droid

    Standard Notes is a simple and private notes app. It allows you to write and sync your notes across all your devices, including your iPhone, iPad, Mac, and web browser.

    Standard Notes vs Obsidian opinions
    pros, cons and recent comments
    hex111

    i feel better paying for open source user friendlier projects, wysiwyg is just necessary for people to reasonably shift from the data robbery monopolies.

    Positive comment 9 months ago
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  3. Zettlr is a supercharged markdown editor that combines many writing editor features and collect them in one application. It aims at speeding up your workflow and help you write without any interruptions.

    Zettlr vs Obsidian opinions
    Almost everyone thinks Zettlr is a great alternative to Obsidian.

    Good alternative to Obsidian but backlinks are not as magic as in Obsidian. If you rename a file it will not modify links. You cannot link to a specific header. You need to use some ID which is a bit troublesome at first. Also you don't have a graph showing you all the links. But as this is Opensource, this is the best alternative to Obsidian which is closed source.

    Positive comment over 1 year ago
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    7
    Sometimesa

    Offers back-linking just like Obsidian does but it is Open-Source. Obsidian is proprietary software.

    Positive comment almost 2 years ago
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    11
    ujuam

    It is the best open source alternative to Obsidian right now. The only downside (big for many) is that it lacks community plugins

    Positive comment 3 months ago
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    2
    s20

    Probably the best Open Source alternative to Obsidian, and what I was using for quite some time. Well, a few months anyway. It has backlinking and some other great features that make it more useful as a knowledge base, but if you're looking for a full replacement, you're going to miss a lot of features, not least of which is the graph.

    Positive comment 6 months ago
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    2
  4. Made by the company behind WordPress, Simplenote enables users to take notes, lists, and ideas. These notes are stored on the cloud and are accessible across multiple devices.

  5. A hierarchical note taking application, featuring rich text and syntax highlighting, storing data in a single xml or sqlite file.

    CherryTree vs Obsidian opinions
    pros, cons and recent comments
    s20

    Kind of the same thing? More of a hierarchical note taker, but it runs locally, is super stable, and keeps you organized, so if you don't need all the bells and whistles, this'll get the job done.

    Positive comment 6 months ago
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  6. Zotero

    • FreemiumOpen Source
    • Mac
    • Windows
    • Linux
    • iPhone
    • iPad
    • Microsoft Edge
    • Google Chrome
    • Safari
    • Microsoft Office Word
    • Google Drive - Docs
    • LibreOffice
    • Firefox

    Zotero is a free, easy-to-use tool to help you collect, organize, share research and cite your research sources directly in your favourite word processor, with 300 MB free online storage.

  7. Zim brings the concept of a wiki to your desktop. Store information, link pages and edit with WYSISYG markup or directly typing some lightweight markup syntax and see it previewed as-you-type.

    Zim vs Obsidian opinions
    Most users think Zim is a great alternative to Obsidian.
    andgregorik

    Zim was a pioneer that's now considered an oldtimer, while Obsidian takes much of its features and brings it into 2020+. Obsidian is more "wiki" than Zim, but it uses a different terminology. I've completely migrated from Zim (and CherryTree) to Obsidian.

    Negative comment over 1 year ago
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    6
  8. Logseq is a platform for knowledge sharing and management. It focuses on privacy, longevity, and user control. Notice: the backend code will be open-sourced as soon as we’re sure that the backend service meets the security standards.

    Logseq vs Obsidian opinions
    pros, cons and recent comments
    lukorn

    A great FOSS alternative with the same paradigm as Obsidian. Allows for many possible workflows.

    Positive comment 5 months ago
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    1
    jchalifour

    Logseq is incredibly innovative and it respects my privacy and freedom by providing Free and open source software as opposed to proprietary tools.

    Positive comment over 1 year ago
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    1
    ujuam

    Great open source alternative, it even has plugin extensions. It is an interesting approach, though having to access a separate menu to search for your pages is very uncomfortable. It is a very basic and essential feature and I won't be using this app anymore because of it.

    It would also be good if they added more color themes, as the only dark theme is not very dark to say the least.

    Positive comment 3 months ago
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    0
  9. Trilium Notes

    • FreeOpen Source
    • Mac
    • Windows
    • Linux
    • Self-Hosted
    • Google Chrome
    • Cloudron
    • Firefox

    Trilium Notes is a hierarchical note taking application.

  10. Dendron is an open-source, local-first, markdown-based, note-taking tool built on top of VSCode. It supports all the usual features you would expect like tagging, backlinks, a graph view, split panes, and so forth.

    Dendron vs Obsidian opinions
    pros, cons and recent comments
    kpathakota

    Still local notes, but way more full-featured since it uses VS Code as the editor and embraces heirarchies so your notes don't get so unwieldly.

    Positive comment over 1 year ago
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    2
Showing 10 of 48 alternatives