Otter Browser

Many alternative web browsers were developed by simplifying or re-engineering the open source engines behind Chrome and Firefox. Firefox itself was born from a similar motivation to split the browser component from the Mozilla Application Suite, but there has been neither enough reason nor the mechanism to recreate the past glory of the Opera browser. However, that's exactly what Otter Browser does. If you don't use Opera, you won't be aware that a schism occurred in its user base between the release of 12.x and the following 15.x, when Opera switched from its Presto engine to WebKit and, subsequently, to the Blink engine used by nearly everything else. Many users felt some of Opera's best features were lost in the transition, such as Opera's wonderful tab management and bookmark systems.

Otter is built using Qt and Qt's WebEngine for rendering web pages. Thanks to this, Otter fits perfectly into most Linux desktops, regardless of whether they're based on the Qt toolkit or not. Unlike most browsers, Otter will assimilate your font, color, and theme settings. The user interface is a little old school but useful; you'll also notice the downloading metrics in the status bar, such as the total size of a page, the speed, and the time it takes to load, as well as the original speed-dial shortcuts for quickly accessing your favorite sites. An integrated zoom slider is also a great way of making sites easier to read without needing to remember a keyboard shortcut, and everything is quick, stable, and system efficient; plus, of course, it has the features that made Opera 12 so popular. There has also been a constant stream of updates since its original release in 2013, making this an ideal browser for those of us still hankering for Opera's glory days.

Project Website

Session management is one of the best things about Otter Browser; sessions can be saved, managed, and loaded just like sets of open bookmarks.

Note taking


Note taking applications attempt to solve a difficult problem. They allow you to take notes and organize things that you don't think you'll remember and then hopefully allow you to retrieve those notes without knowing exactly what you made a note about. Among the many different solutions, most modern versions use the ubiquity of the services to solve the retrieval problem. Evernote and Google Keep, for example, store notes online and can use apps to set reminders that impose themselves into your day-to-day existence. Many of us are looking for self-hosted solutions that provide the same ubiquity; this is something Joplin gets very close to offering. For a start, it's available on almost every platform you can think of, including iOS, Android, Linux, Mac OS, and Windows. There's even both a terminal version and a GUI version for the ultimate in accessibility. Hopefully, someone is working on the Amiga version.

You write notes using Markdown, which means if you already know its simple syntax, you can quickly create and format your notes, from headings and subheadings to numbered lists, blocks of code, and direct quotes. It's the perfect format for this application, because it looks almost as good as raw text as it does rendered. Joplin will render the Markdown output in real time as you type and colorize your source material. You can also add attachments, and images are shown inline. Finally, you associate an alarm with a note, and notify-osd will be used on Linux to inform you of when that deadline is hit. The equivalent notification system will be used on your phone or other operating system, and notes can be synchronized across different versions of the application using Microsoft's OneDrive. Hopefully, Nextcloud support is coming in the next update, creating a completely open source solution.

Project Website

For an application with such a simple premise, Joplin features excellent documentation that can really help you get the most out of your note taking.

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