When comparing Org mode for Emacs vs Obsidian md, the Slant community recommends Obsidian md for most people. In the question“What are the best personal Knowledge Base apps?” Obsidian md is ranked 1st while Org mode for Emacs is ranked 2nd. The most important reason people chose Obsidian md is:
Ranked in these QuestionsQuestion Ranking
Pro Cross platform
Emacs runs on all platforms, Windows, Linux, OSX, even Android and IOS
Pro Libre/open source
Pro Can be as simple or as complex as you want
Org mode started out as a simple outlining/note taking app. Then each outline heading can optionally be a TODO list item. And if you desire, you can add SCHEDULE and DEADLINE dates. (Schedule being the date you'd like to start the item.) You can customize the TODO states to add things like DELEGATED, WAITING, BLOCKED, etc.
Pro Exports data to PDF, LaTeX, HMTL and other
You can even build presentation or blog from your data
Pro Supports tables with formules (quite powerful!)
Pro Plain text data storage
Pro Inline image displaying
Pro Free but copyrighted
Pro Fast interaction
Once muscle-memory sets in, can be much faster to use than a point & click program.
Pro Uses Emacs
Pro All apps
Pro Locally stored, not dependent on cloud
Pro Fast growing
It's becoming more powerful everyday, it seems like they add many functions within several days.
Pro Lightweight and very customizable
This allows you to link notes back and forth really easily.
Pro Helps visualize personal knowledge in ways nothing else allows
Pro Markdown makes for flatter learning curve
Pro In-line tagging
Ability to tag-as-you-write and find each occurrence of a tag in the entire vault makes it very easy to organize and retrieve notes.
Pro Very easy to use and link notes, preserves the standard form of markdown
Linking notes is a game changing feature. Very easy to use and link notes. Their implementation of markdown doesn't deviate from the standard form of markdown and so the same files can be used by other markdown programs without any consequence.
Pro Multiple Vaults
A Vault in Obsidian is like a database. Internal links and files are not shared across Vaults. Each Vault is opened with a separate instance of Obsidian. Each Vault can have its unique app settings and plug-ins. Useful if you have distinct/unrelated projects or "data spaces" requiring different workflows and data relations.
Pro Infinite panes, split panes, lock panes
In Obsidian, pane = window = note = page
Obsidian allows you to open as many notes as you can fit concurrently in your screen. You can split a pane horizontally/vertically. You can lock/link panes so they scroll in sync, useful for and edit & preview modes.
Pro Cross-platform: works on Linux, MacOS, and Windows
There is no mobile app yet.
Pro Daily Notes with template
Daily Notes plug-in, when clicked, generates a new note with the current date. Great for journaling and reduces friction in your writing habit.
You can create a custom template for your Daily Note.
Pro Functionality extensions with a growing number of plugins
Also open for anyone to develop their own extensions/plugins.
Pro Intuitive and easy to use with an excellent help system built-in
The app doesn't frustrate the user - the built-in help is excellent.
Pro Random note
A plugin that, when clicked, surfaces a random note from your vault.
Pro Markdown rather than outline/blocks
Pro Slides for giving presentations from within Obsidian
Easily turn your notes into simple yet sleek powerpoint-style presentations by enabling the Slides plugin and adding the --- separator.
Pro Readable as it hides the [[ ]] around links when in Preview mode
This is a big difference, as having to read through long-form texts laden with [[links]] gives friction.
Pro Great onboarding experience
The onboarding consists of well-written help documentation (saved as a vault) served in small chunks and organized systematically so that you become familiar with all its features as well as get hands-on experience in real time.
Pro Page previews on hover
When you hover on an internal [[link]], you get to preview the note without opening it on a new pane.
Page preview plugin must be enabled.
Pro Multiple cursors
A feature unseen in other tools.
From the help doc, "This can be useful when modifying a lot of lines in the same way, for example putting - at the beginning of multiple lines to turn them into a list, or appending [[ to a series of links you’ve copied from elsewhere."
Pro Vim key bindings
Can switch on or off Vim key bindings in the editor settings.
Pro Community of developers building themes and plug-ins
Due to the tool being very developer-friendly, there are tons of cool developments being made to it by 3rd party devs.
Pro Can copy search results and paste as lists and/or links in a new or existing note
Pro Support for tags
Pro Not locked to a provider
No lock-in to a certain company - just markdown files on disk.
Pro PDF viewing within the app
PDFs are directly embedded in the markdown preview.
Con Obtuse documentation
The documentation assumes a level of understanding of basic Emacs usage that not all users may have.
Con Complicated to get started
Con Not suitable for normal users
Not even a majority of software developers can be bothered to use Emacs (or VI, for that matter).
Con Difficult to use as a database
For example, if you need to quickly populate client details on quotes, unfortunately its easier to find, copy & paste.
Con Uses Emacs (for those who prefer vi, menus, etc.)
Con PDF export can be difficult
Latex assumes you're a (compliant) student, have to do a lot of research to get what you want out of it.
Con No mobile app
Though it is right now in the development and you can basically use any other markdown editing apps till then.
Con No WYSISYG editor yet (like Typora)
But it's on the backlog, though.
Con No ability to add dates that link to a daily note, when that day/note may not yet exist
(You can create a backlink which doesn't yet exist; it just doesn't auto-fill for you)
Con Proprietary software lock-in
Creates dependence on the application with the promise that the content is yours but that cannot be entirely true without the application being free and open source software. You will end up altering the way you create the content to take advantage of Obsidian features and your processes will evolve for its workflows. This replicates the lock-in pain that people experience moving their highly personal information from one proprietary platform to the next when that initial platform stops serving them well, goes out of business, or becomes a bad actor.
Con Still in beta
Con No table editing yet
(Available as a plugin).
Con Pretty new software
At this moment there is a limited amount of resources / howto's available.
Con Needs to be polished
They still need time to fix some bugs.
Con Requires .md files
Can't read .txt or other plaintext file formats. Can't read asciidoc files.