My next quest: an open source alternative to Evernote

I have always attempted, and mostly failed, to keep all my notes organized.  The approach morphed over time and I eventually landed on Evernote.  However, for numerous reasons, I decided to move away from Evernote and the journey began to find an open source alternative.  I recently stumbled upon Joplin, but this project introduced it’s own challenges too.  This post will discuss a lot of the background and theory and capture some of my dizzying thought process.


One of the many things I like about Evernote is that my notes are synced and always available.  This is big for me.  I really want a single place to look for my notes.  Currently I have to search any number of places as my approach and tool-of-choice has changed.

Additionally, I have come to adopt markdown for my notes in some form or fashion.  I’ve explored asciidoc, restructured text, and various bastardized forms of simple markdown.  My notetaking has taken the bastardized form.  But this is a big advantage of Joplin and a shortcoming of Evernote.

What ISN’T an advantage is that for syncing notes, the version published as of this writing is only capable of using OneDrive for syncing notes.  Fine.  Whatever.  I signed up for an account but found that the sync just did not work.  I reviewed the github issues and found that I’m not alone.  But I lack the ability to fix this so I have decided to design around it.  Joplin also allows for “syncing” to a specific directory.

That means that if I can sync a directory amongst many of my computers/devices, I can essentially access the same notes from any of them.  I went down this path before…searching for an alternative to Dropbox.

Finding an alternative to Dropbox provides new challenges.  I’d ideally host my own storage, but I’m not comfortable exposing my NAS and storage to the outside world.  So how can I accomplish the syncing of local directories across disparate devices?  I think it is time to explore Nextcloud.  You might be thinking “that’s great, but you still have to share your own storage there bud” and you’d be right…but what if I actually just share storage in the “cloud?”  Nextcloud is capable of using doing just that and has actually developed a plugin to utilize decentralized storage called Sia.

So now the rabbit hole looks like:  I have to research blockchain and how to use Sia, in order to use Nextcloud to sync storage amongst numerous devices, in order to use Joplin for synchronized note taking.  I hope to do all of this in containers where applicable (obviously not on my phone…which raises a question I hadn’t thought of:  how can my phone be used to take notes and sync with my computers?).


So all of this introduces the need for some additional posts:
  • My introduction to blockchain/decentralized storage
    • potentially secondary post of renting storage instead of just buying it
  • Configuring Nextcloud to utilize Sia
  • My thoughts on Nextcloud for syncing data amongst disparate devices
  • My thoughts on Joplin as a replacement for Evernote
  • BONUS:  Using Duplicati with Sia for backing up to decentralized storage


  • I have a lot to learn


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