Open Source Exocortex for your Fun & Profit

The Trouble With OneNote and Evernote

My solution for replacing these proprietary and, in the end, dangerous-to-use services is the same as Voit’s: switch to Org mode. Unlike OneNote and Evernote, Org runs on your own machine, is open source so it will always be there for you, and, most importantly, stores its data as plain text [In this context, “we” means the community of Emacs users, of course., ed]. The data is readable by any application that knows about text.
Voit makes the case for Org mode in his post but by now we [In this context, “we” means the community of Emacs users, of course., ed] should all be familiar with it. For most of us, what’s required is to import any data we care about into Org so we no longer have to worry about what third parties are planning to do with their products.


Karl Voit has a great site for Emacs and Org-mode users, but also things generally open-source. I came to the same conclusion he did, just sooner.

I was an Evernote user and subscriber back in the day, but their increased fees with lesser functionality and the difficulty getting data out of their semi-walled garden was too much. Evernote also had platform inconsistencies I can’t recall specifically but I think there were some features only available on Mac.

I moved to OneNote, which clearly reached its pinnacle w/ 2016. The Metro/UWP/Win10 version paled in comparison as did the Mac version. When it became clear the Mac version would remain feature incomplete, especially the inability to have a local OneNote notebook I moved off.

Org is my primary exocortex now. The only major things I can’t do right now are:

  • Capture hand-written text or drawings

  • iOS version

I’m overcoming the latter using Drafts 5: Capture ‣‣ Act on iOS with some scripting and maybe some Pythonista 3 & Workflow stuff. Some Drafts 4 (Legacy Version) may still be needed. It relies right now on Dropbox as the sync engine but I hope to move to git/GitHub/Working Copy soon. I hope to publish my work and workflows this week (Golden Week 2018).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *