My 3 favorite open source productivity apps

Streamline your agile workflow and increase your productivity.
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Working on a team, busy worklife

Productivity apps can really make your workflow much easier. In this article, I'll share a few of the open source applications I have used to streamline my workflow and increase my overall productivity. All of the productivity applications in this article are free Linux productivity applications.


Tomboy is a simple note-taking application that can be used on Linux, Windows, and macOS. It's open source under the GNU LGPLv2.

Tomboy is pretty straightforward to use. You write a note, choose whether to make it sticky on your desktop, and delete it when you're done with it.

It (and its clone Gnote) is a great little application for taking quick notes. Very often, when I am in the middle of doing something, I come up with ideas or thoughts that I want to recall. Tomboy lets me quickly create a note and jot my thoughts down before I forget them. Then I can transfer those ideas to a more permanent place.


Joplin is an open source note-taking and to-do application. It's cross-platform, available on Linux, Windows, macOS, iOS, and Android, and open source under the MIT License.

It can synchronize using cloud syncing services such as Dropbox, OneDrive, Nextcloud, and more. It's easy to install and probably in your Linux repository. It's really two applications in one when you install it on the desktop: You get a standard graphical user interface (GUI) or can open a terminal and use Joplin there.

The desktop has a really nice interface. Notes are organized in notebooks, which essentially makes them your man page. And because the notes are in Markdown format, they show up rendered, and you can edit them in real time. I enjoy using Markdown because it makes it fast for me to write notes. You can also export or import Joplin notes.


Evolution is an open source personal information management app that's very similar to Outlook, but I think is better for my use. It has email, jobs, notes, links, calendar, and address book functionality. It's open source under the LGPL and other licenses.

I use it on my desktop computer running Fedora. It is efficient and definitely helps me get through a busy day. It allows me to do business using Linux; what more can I ask?

To use it in Fedora, open a terminal and type the following commands:

sudo dnf remove evolution
sudo dnf update
sudo dnf install evolution
sudo dnf install evolution-ews 

My go-to tools

These tools are my staples that I have been relying on for some time. Using them beyond their basic capabilities makes me more efficient, effective, and productive. As a technical product manager and agilist, I am proud that I still use Linux and other open source software, even if the companies I work for do not.

This article originally appeared on Course Hero and is republished with permission.

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Taz Brown, is a Sr. Technical Scrum Master & Agile Expert at Cisco Systems as well as a Product Manager  working with DevOps and Software Development teams.  She is an avid writer and speaker with a diverse background in Scrum, Agile, digital product management, Linux systems engineering, management and deployment of DevOps solutions.  

1 Comment

Tomboy Notes is nice, I used it a lot for a while, may have to take another look!

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