FOSS Alternatives for my Workflow

Finding Alternatives for More Control of my Data

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I somewhat recently started using Linux again, originally just to see how I liked it. I haven't really daily driven a Linux desktop since 2011. Now, I've been using my computer with Arch installed more regularly. I've been able to find a lot of alternatives to proprietary Mac software, but some others I'm still struggling with.

Great Alternatives I've Found

Alfred to dmenu

Alfred is a Mac launcher and replacement for Spotlight. Alfred can do a lot of things Spotlight can't. I frequently make use of the clipboard history, snippets, and a few workflows like a Bitwarden workflow that combined with Bitwarden's CLI client, can search for passwords in your vault and copy them to your clipboard.

I've been able to recreate a lot of what I use Alfred for in dmenu. Using bitwarden-dmenu, for example, I have the same functionality I had with the Alfred workflow. With DT's dmscripts, I get web searches, menus for locking or sleeping the computer, man pages, weather and more right from the launcher. I would say this has been a huge success in replacing 99% of what Alfred does for me on the Mac.

Notes to Joplin

I have been using Apple's Notes app since it was released. It isn't a particularly complexed note app, but that's what I need. I wanted something that I had the ability to fully encrypt though. So I found and switched to Joplin and so far, I've been very happy. I love the fact that there is a terminal client as well as a desktop app for Linux and Mac, plus an iOS app. I also very much enjoy the fact that notes are formatted using Markdown. The two drawbacks I have yet to find my way around are document scanning, which I still use notes for at the moment and then move the scan to Joplin, and sharing notes with my family.

Logic to Reaper

Even though I spent money on Logic and a fair amount of time figuring it out, I still think Reaper may be even better. It comes with a great set of built-in plugins, works on both Mac and Linux, has some great customization options and a very strong community of people creating educational content around it. I have really only scratched the surface with this one, but I'm enthusiastic about the potential.

Cider for Apple Music

This isn't really a replacement so much as a front-end for Linux use. Cider Classic (I'm finding out as I'm writing this is end of life) is an Electron app with a very similar UI to the Mac Apple Muisc client, but has some additional features included. I haven't found a great way to break away from music streaming yet. As far as I can tell, Apple Music still has the best music quality (lossless only on their official clients) and isn't any worse for privacy than any other service.

Things I Still Need


I would think this would be one of the simpler things to replace. I use Apple's Reminders frequently for simple tasks, usually that need to be done on a specific date. I have tons of reminders for things like giving the dog her meds on the 1st of every month or canceling a subscription 8 months from now. What I need is something simple, with the ability to schedule and mark off tasks, that will reliably notify me on my phone and my computer. Equally as importantly, it needs to keep reminding me until I mark the task complete or let me sleep a notification if I can't do that task right this second. Joplin has a to-do functionality, but I've had mixed results with the notifications working. I also don't believe I can tell a notification I'm not ready to deal with to "remind me again tomorrow morning".


I don't think this one needs any introduction. It's no secret that one of Apple's biggest points for lock-in is iMessage. I use Signal with a group of tech industry friends and I think it's awesome. The majority of the people I talk to regularly though all have iPhones or other Apple devices and all use iMessage as their default communication method. I have received a few notifications from Signal that someone in my contacts list as joined, but they usually don't answer when I message them, making me think they've probably already deleted the app from their phone. Maybe I'm just not pushy enough to get my friends and family to move.


Man, I really love Overcast for podcasts. The sync feature always seems to work between devices, the UI is simple and clean, and smart speed to dynamically shorten silence in conversations is like magic. I happily pay the $10/yr for this app, written by a small single developer, because I think it's worth the price. However, it is only developed for iOS, though iPad version does work on my M1 Mac. I have seriously considered just keeping this one. There is a half way decent website for it that lets me listen on Linux. The developer put a notice on the site at then end of last year saying he was going to shut the web version down. He later decided that he wasn't going to be killing the site and explained why on his podcast, ATP. This is great news for now, but it was a strong reminder that my use case may not be top priority for a SaaS app and things can change at any moment.

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