Calibre 6.1

Calibre is one of those first-class open source applications that we keep revisiting. It's brilliant in its own right, and performs an important function, but it's also an application with a solid release cadence and significant updates. This release is a good example because it comes after 18 months of development effort and includes a few important features that any digital media hoarder will want to use. Topping the list of these is a global search, which allows you to search through your entire library of publications for words and phrases and even includes Boolean options ("calibre AND ebook," for instance) and searching for words near other words. The latter is useful if you want to try and find words or numbers related to something, such as "population" and "europe," or "harry" and "dobby."

Before all this can magically work, however, you need to manually build an index for your collection, and this can take some time. This is a one-off though, because new titles added to your collection are automatically scanned. If you don't need to search, the feature isn't enabled by default. But it's very useful if you do, especially if you to organize your media into different collections so you can better isolate your results across categories. When you do find what you're looking for, another new feature will read a book aloud from the ebook view. This could be done with a plugin before, but it's great to see the option built-in.

Behind the scenes, a lot of work has gone into migrating Calibre from Qt 5 to Qt 6, making it one of the few Qt applications to have made the switch. This obviously brings better future-proofing, but it does mean 32-bit support has been dropped due to lacking Qt 6 i386 libraries. To balance this slightly, the burgeoning ARM platform is now officially supported, which will be useful for people wanting to run Calibre on their Raspberry Pis or ARM laptops. Unfortunately, with such major architectural changes comes some plugin incompatibility, and it's going to take a while for some plugins to catch up with the Calibre 6 release.

Project Website

It's possible to use both Calibre 5 and 6 at the same time, but if you do, books must be added to the more recent version to work with both.

Config manager


Linux configuration files exist in a strange twilight between the old world and the new. Their existence is an old tradition, and their contents are usually deeply personal, holding values such as your POP3 server and login details, your Vim bindings, and your terminal paths. They all pretend to be hidden behind the .dotfile prefix. Modern applications will often use the same format and locations, albeit often migrated to the .config directory, and it can all quickly become unmanageable. A solution I've used for many years is to use a private and encrypted Git repository to hold all the configuration files I care about. This has the advantage of keeping your configuration files version controlled, but it also means you have to go through the arduous process of recreating all the symbolic links in your home directory whenever you start using a new machine. And this is exactly the problem that chezmoi hopes to improve upon.

Chezmoi is a little tool that has been designed to help you safely store your .dotfiles and do away with all the manual complexity and uncertain security of doing it yourself. After it's been installed, you run chezmoi to create a new Git-tracked directory (in ~/.local/share/chezmoi) and then you simply add files to your own repository with chezmoi add followed by the configuration file you wish to manage. This is the equivalent of moving the file and creating the necessary symbolic link in one step, and it means if the source config file is updated, you're really editing the source state of the file in the chezmoi directory. To apply and see any changes, type chezmoi -v apply. This all works locally, but you can optionally add a remote (private) Git repository and enable a feature to automatically track any changes to the upstream repository. It's a lot simpler than working with Git directly and saves you from the trouble of recreating your configuration on a new machine. To do this, you use chezmoi init --apply followed by the destination repository. Everything else is handled automatically.

Project Website

Manage your configuration files directly with chezmoi, without the complexity of dealing with Git.

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