What a Subscription-Free WorkFlow Looks Like

With the exception of 1PW, my workflow is essentially subscription-free. I thought some might appreciate seeing what this looks like. I know I’m probably getting a few :roll_eyes: but I like saving money when possible. :slightly_smiling_face:

As an aside, I’ve developed a renewed appreciation for OmniOutliner (OO). Not only can I send links from an OO topic to Reminders, but I also have links to Pages or Scrivener for upcoming blog articles, chapters in the book I’m working on, communications, presentations, and the like.

Upcoming Blog Articles:


Care to list all the apps in your dock? There are a few I don’t recognize.

From left to right, the apps are:

1 Password
Exporter for exporting Apple notes to markdown
Keyboard Maestro
Vellum book publishing application
Endnote for citations and bibliographies
SimpleMind Pro mind mapping application
Paper markdown editor
iA Writer markdown editor
and I’m sure you recognize the others. :slightly_smiling_face:


There are probably 3 types of apps (for the sake of this discussion):

  1. subscription
  2. buy (major update with $$ at some later date if you want)
  3. buy with updates for 1 year (can choose to update to a new version with $$ if so desired at a later point in time)

As an example, I use Bookends (bibliography app) which comes with 1 year of updates. After one year the app works just fine, but I need to update (with another year of updates) if I want to do so. Several apps now work this way. I think I pay for a Bookends update about every 3 years: when there are enough updates in place that I really want to include them. But the choice is mine and the app continues working.

… just to say, the world can’t be reducted to two types of apps, when (at the least) a third category should now be included.


Add a fourth – “free”. This includes the apps that come with the system as well. Sometimes there is no reason to buy or subscribe at all.


The problem with the free apps (non-Apple apps) is that they need to find a way to make money to exist in most cases. Or eventually they disappear or turn into a paid app and then you have to go looking for a solution again.


That’s generally true, but there are devs who seem to enjoy putting out free apps. They just seem to like coding and the community it fosters, or they make an app for their own use and share it. There’s probably less pressure if they don’t charge because they’re not obligated to work on it. These apps are often but not always open source.

And some devs put out excellent free versions as a way of marketing their paid versions (e.g., Drafts) or add-on services (e.g., Obsidian).

Generally, that is true, and as you noted about Apple apps, all my free apps are Apple except for Drafts, which is free. 1PW is my remaining paid app. All other apps are one-time purchases + upgrades if needed or desired. I don’t always have “best of class” apps (though in some cases I do), but notwithstanding some of the friction, my ROI is very high for my workflow. :slightly_smiling_face:

Great minds think alike!

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I always think of LibreOffice and OpenOffice for Microsoft Office compatibility without paying. I only use these when I must have compatibility, and also LibreOffice is the only thing I’ve got that will open my ancient WordPerfect documents.

Some masochists will also use GIMP for image editing.

None of these are going away.


I agree that LibreOffice isn’t likely to go away. It’s one of the popular open source apps, and most Linux distros ship with it. But OpenOffice is practically abandoned; most of the devs went left when it was forked into LibreOffice.

Unfortunately, I’ve never found the compatibility of either adequate for exchanging files with MS Office users. Some say OnlyOffice and/or FreeOffice have better compatibility, but I’ve never experimented with them.


On PC/Linux especially it is easier to find good free stuff (open source), and even on macOS is there is some good stuff to be found. On iOS I mostly shy away from the free apps. I don’t so much mean the apps like Drafts where there are enough subscribers to keep the free version around, but free or cheap one time purchase apps that aren’t popular yet. Then there seems to be two things that could happen, the developer drops it (I have at least one app that still works but hasn’t been updated in years), or they gain enough popularity they end up adding a sub. It’s happened enough to me that I tend to stay away from those small apps and just stick with apps that have a history.

I don’t have that many subs, I just don’t use as many apps as I did 5-10 years ago because I don’t want to pay for them. I do wish more apps would do the 1 year of updates thing, I quite like that model.


What happened to Ulysses? I thought that was a critical part of your workflow for some time. Did you replace it with IA writer?

I still have it, and the price is excellent with my education discount, but I’m migrating all writing to Pages or markdown editors except the book project, which I’m writing in Scrivener. I like Ulysses; it is an excellent app, but I just don’t need it, so there is no reason to pay even a small subscription.

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Make it subscription free with Bitwarden (open source) :smile:


I found out today you can host your own Bitwarden server in a Docker container, and I started thinking about making the switch…

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I’m looking into it. :slightly_smiling_face:

Post your thoughts when you are able.

I’m sorry, I’ve missed something. Post my thoughts about?

If I had to guess, your analysis of Bitwarden.