Max Mehl boosted

So I was recently asked why I prefer to use free and open source software over more conventional and popular proprietary software and services.

A few years ago I was an avid Google user. I was deeply embedded in the Google ecosystem and used their products everywhere. I used Gmail for email, Google Calendar and Contacts for PIM, YouTube for entertainment, Google Newsstand for news, Android for mobile, and Chrome as my web browser.

I would upload all of my family photos to Google Photos and all of my personal documents to Google Drive (which were all in Google Docs format). I used Google Domains to register my domain names for websites where I would keep track of my users using Google Analytics and monetize them using Google AdSense.

I used Google Hangouts (one of Google’s previous messaging plays) to communicate with friends and family and Google Wallet (with debit card) to buy things online and in-store.

My home is covered with Google Homes (1 in my office, 1 in my bedroom, 1 in the main living area) which I would use to play music on my Google Play Music subscription and podcasts from Google Podcasts.

I have easily invested thousands of dollars into my Google account to buy movies, TV shows, apps, and Google hardware devices. This was truly the Google life.

Then one day, I received an email from Google that changed everything.

“Your account has been suspended”

Just the thing you want to wake up to in the morning. An email from Google saying that your account has been suspended due to a perceived Terms of Use violation. No prior warning. No appeals process. No number to call. Trying to sign in to your Google account yields an error and all of your connected devices are signed out. All of your Google data, your photos, emails, contacts, calendars, purchased movies and TV shows. All gone.

I nearly had a heart attack, until I saw that the Google account that had been suspended was in fact not my main personal Google account, but a throwaway Gmail account that I created years prior for a project. I hadn’t touched the other account since creation and forgot it existed. Apparently my personal Gmail was listed as the recovery address for the throwaway account and that’s why I received the termination email.

Although I was able to breathe a sigh of relief this time, the email was wake up call. I was forced to critically reevaluate my dependence on a single company for all the tech products and services in my life.

I found myself to be a frog in a heating pot of water and I made the decision that I was going to jump out.

Leaving Google

Today there are plenty of lists on the internet providing alternatives to Google services such as this and this. Although the “DeGoogle” movement was still in its infancy when I was making the move.

The first Google service I decided to drop was Gmail, the heart of my online identity. I migrated to Fastmail with my own domain in case I needed to move again (hint: glad I did, now I self host my email). Fastmail also provided calendar and contacts solutions so that took care of leaving Google Calendar and Contacts.

Here are some other alternatives that I moved to:

Gmail → Fastmail → Self-hosted (via Cloudron)
Google Contacts → FastmailNextcloud Contacts
Google Calendar → FastmailNextcloud Calendar
Google Search → BingDuckDuckGo
Google Maps → Bing MapsOpenStreetMaps and OsmAnd
Google Analytics → Matomo Analytics
Google Drive → Nextcloud Files
Google Photos → Nextcloud Files/Gallery
Google Docs → Collabora Office (Nextcloud integration) and LibreOffice
Google Play Music → Spotify / PlexSpotify / Jellyfin
Google Play Movies/TV → PlexJellyfin
Google Play Audiobooks/Books → Audible/Kindle
Google Play Store (apps) → F-Droid / Aurora Store
Google Android → Lineage OSUbuntu Touch on PinePhone (coming soon?)
Google’s Android Apps → Simple Mobile Tools
Google Chrome → Mozilla Firefox
Google Domains → Hover
Google Hangouts → Matrix and Nextcloud Talk
Google Allo → Signal
Google Podcasts → PocketCastsAntennaPod
Google Newsstand → RSS
Google Wallet → PayPal and Cash App

Migrating away from Google was not a fast or easy process. It took years to get where I am now and there are still several Google services that I depend on: YouTube and Google Home.

Eventually, my Google Home’s will grow old and become unsupported at which point hopefully the Mycroft devices have matured and become available for purchase. YouTube may never be replaced (although I do hope for projects like PeerTube to succeed) but I find the compromise of using only one or two Google services to be acceptable.

At this point losing my Google account due to a mistake in their machine learning would largely be inconsequential and my focus has shifted to leaving Amazon which I use for most of my shopping and cloud services.

The reason that I moved to mostly FOSS applications is that it seems to be the only software ecosystem where everything works seamlessly together and I don’t have to cede control to any single company. Alternatively I could have simply split my service usage up evenly across Google, Microsoft, Amazon, and Apple but I don’t feel that they would have worked as nicely together.

Overall I’m very happy with the open source ecosystem. I use Ubuntu with KDE on all of my computers and Android (no GApps) on my mobile phone. I’ve ordered the PinePhone “Brave Heart” and hope to one day be able to use it or one of its successors as a daily driver with Ubuntu Touch or Plasma Mobile.

I don’t want to give the impression that I exclusively use open source software either, I do use a number of proprietary apps including: Sublime Text, Typora, and Cloudron.

https://www.kylepiira.com/2020/01/09/why-i-quit-google/

Success of the day: my insurance broker sent me sensible private information via a proprietary "cloud" provider the other day. I told them why this is bad, and recommended better alternatives. Today I learnt that they will migrate to 🎉
@nextcloud

Max Mehl boosted

"If Europe, through the GAIA-X initiative, would set a goal of 50% of government IT spending on open source, on-premises solutions by 2025 and 100% by 2030, Europe's Digital Sovereignty would be guaranteed and it would give its local businesses what is needed to catch up and make Europe a leading global digital player." joinup.ec.europa.eu/collection

Max Mehl boosted

Just watched Chris Adams talk at about "Reducing Carbon in the Digital Realm" and found the attached slide very interesting.

It shows 's in 2018 for its products and you can see that 79% is due to manufacturing and transportation - and only 19% for its actual use.

Try to keep this in mind next time you think about replacing your device with a new one - or to keep using your current device for a little bit longer.

media.ccc.de/v/36c3-11113-redu

adoption increases every day. Today I learnt that Jens Lechtenbörger made his presentations REUSE compliant. Yet another small but important step towards making licensing easier to understand for everyone.

blogs.fsfe.org/jens.lechtenboe
reuse.software

"Is anything ever secure? Is anything ever secret? Guess what? The answer is a clear maybe. Or maybe not."
An interview with a bot that is probably more honest than any other interview with him ever recorded.
theguardian.com/technology/201

Max Mehl boosted

You think the work the @fsfe did this year for was important?

Then please support our work next year with a donation: my.fsfe.org/donate

Max Mehl boosted

Der beklagt in seinem "Schwarzbuch 2019" den verschwenderischen Umgang mit in Bereichen wie IT. Konkret geht es um 4,9 Millionen Euro für Apps ohne Nachweis, dass diese "wirtschaftlich waren": heise.de/newsticker/meldung/Bu

Dabei ist genau betrachtet eigentlich vor allem die von öffentlichen Geldern finanzierte Softwareentwicklung ohne "nicht wirschaftlich" und eine Verschwendung von Steuergeldern.

@mxmehl Und noch trauriger: aus verwirrend unerfindlichen Gründen kann die gebuchte statische IP nicht mit eigenen Routern verwendet werden. Werde recherchieren, ob das gegen die verstößt.

Habe nachgezählt: in den letzten 2 Tagen musste ich 8x mit telefonieren und habe immer noch kein Internet. Aktuelles Problem: der Anschluss eines eigenen Routers funktioniert immer noch nicht. Es ist wirklich traurig...

Max Mehl boosted

schreibt "Kampf um Netzzugang - : Provider wollen Macht zurück" zdf.de/nachrichten/heute/route

Die @fsfe hat das Thema und die Debatte die in Deutschland stattgefunden hat auf Englisch aufbereitet: fsfe.org/activities/routers/in

Max Mehl boosted

I'm very surprised about #CDU coming up with a resolution similar to #PublicMoneyPublicCode and I really wonder what their motives are. Let's hope they're more serious about this than their commitment to counteract global heating.

fsfe.org/news/2019/news-201911

Also, I think #FSFE is doing a pretty good job here. #PublicCode is a great campaign!

Sehr schön! Die @cdu hat auf ihrem das große Potenzial von Freier Software und festgestellt. Ich bin gespannt auf die Umsetzung, und die @fsfe hilft gerne dabei: publiccode.eu/de

cdu.de/system/tdf/media/images @tj_tweets @c_netz t.co/6uYvLDASeQ

The maintainer stopped their work on this great app and closed all API accounts :(

Since I don't like the alternatives, I created my own Twitter app to continue using it. But in the long run, I hope that existing or new apps will come up with the same or better usability

twitter.com/TwidereProject/sta

Make sure to make yourself heard when regulators decide whether your router belongs to you - or to your internet service provider 😱

The @fsfe shared their response to the current draft, so it's easier for you to write your own statement. But hurry, only 22 hours left!

fsfe.org/news/2019/news-201911

Max Mehl boosted

Less than 24 hours left to provide your feedback on the EU guidelines for ! is running a defining whether your router will belong to you or to your ISP. Please participate now, it's as easy as sending an email!

See how to make yourself heard, and the 's response on the current draft: fsfe.org/news/2019/news-201911

Max Mehl boosted

Only until this Friday the is running its for . Don't miss the chance and send in your session proposal today about and related subjects like privacy, encryption, the commons and internet policies: fsfe.org/news/2019/news-201911

Größte Herausforderung heute: am pünktlich in die Kölner Innenstadt zum Bahnhof kommen

Max Mehl boosted

Look, I made a thing! After I saw the awesome blog post on city street orientations, I generated some charts for European and German cities (and refactored Geoff's IPython notebook into a script on the way). If you want to see a map of your favourite city in this style, tell me about it and I'll see what I can do.

rixx.de/blog/street-orientanti

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