Which Second Brain App You Use and Recommend?

It seems that personal knowledge base tools, also referred as second brain apps, are getting popular among developers and other techies.

Some people may think that these second brain apps are just glorified personal wiki, but you know, we keep on reinventing (or improving) wheels every few years.

Proprietary apps like Notion and Obsidian have a huge userbase now.

On open source side, there is logseq among some other options.

Do you use some personal notes database tools? Which one do you recommend?

Your suggestions may be used in an upcoming article on It’s FOSS.


I use the Unix filesystem. Very simple, one file for each note, and the directory structure looks after indexing.
But really… I am sure there must be some app that does it better.


Hi Abhishek,
I’m using Obsidian for practically all my notes, but I’m testing the following programs:

For markdown purposes only, I still have the following programs on my PC:

No matter how many tests I do with any of the above programs, Obsidian is the one that continues to adapt best to my way of working.
Unfortunately and it’s my opinion, I can’t compare Joplin or LogSeq to Obsidian yet.

Notion, AnyType and AppFlowy are more complex programs and, in my honest opinion, more complicated for me to adapt to working with.

Right now, if I had to choose a replacement for Obsidian, it would be Joplin. However, I might change my mind tomorrow…


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Hi @abhishek. I used to use Notesnook (encrypted notes) but now I use Obsidian. Granted, I had to learn markdown, at first. I have one for my business where all customers and their paperwork reside.

My personal vault has everything I need from computing to cooking to health and both vaults are synced across all devices.

There are so many community-made plugins for second brain and I use a couple for organizing ideas for future projects. I also use a lot of them for spreadsheets, address books, etc.

Sheila Flanagan


I use Outlook. Sounds kind of dumb, but it works. I email myself and store it in a folder that is then accessible via Outlook, web access, or phone.

I also use Notes section of Outlook as a scratch pad for things to remember.

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I do that from Android Tablet. Then I can pick it up in the PC and do whatever with the content.


That’s old school… and still effective… I used to do that 15 years ago… I still have those documents saved in my mail box :slight_smile:


Good suggestions, @Tech_JA Thanks

@Sheila_Flanagan Obsidian is so brilliant. I wished they would go for open source model.

@nevj well… one of the original usage of computer is to store files so … :slight_smile:


I used TheBrain for years until they stopped development for Linux and then started making most useful things paid-features. The app that works best for me is → Yellow Legal Narrow Ruled Notepad with pencil.


Have to confess, I did try CherryTree . It has some merit both as a work organiser and a notetaker, and it is FOSS.

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I use MediaWiki, the software powering Wikipedia. It’s not too hard to install (if you’re used to installing servers), it’s incredibly mature and rock-solid, everything is version-controlled automatically, and it has more features than I’ll ever use.


Wiki used to be popular but people have the habit of running after new and shiny things… and that’s the reason projects these days use ‘read the docs’ or gitbook instead of the classic wiki.

By the way, looking forward to the new edition of Linux Pocket Guide :slight_smile:

Thanks @abhishek! Linux Pocket Guide 4th Edition is available digitally now and the paperback ships next week.

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I’ve been using One Note for quite a few years now. It’s laid out like a 5-subject notebook - I really like that concept for my old brain; It reminds me of high school. Separate sections for different subjects.

I also use Simple Note from Automattic (WordPress’s parent company) for quick notes on my phone or tablets it syncs between all my devices automatically.

Of course, there also the old email yourself way of handling notes which I do quite a bit for links and screenshots too.


I’ve been using Obsidian for a year or so. I make a lot more notes now than I used to, because it is so easy to make a note. Best of all, I know I’ll be able to find what I’ve put anywhere in that directory (Vault). I’ve begun jotting down things like a journal, making my todo list and planning documents, chunks of correspondence I want to get to (especially interactions on Mastodon which get lost otherwise.) There lots of plugins available and my only problem has been wasting time trying out new stuff.