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”
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
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 → Fastmail → Nextcloud Contacts
Google Calendar → Fastmail → Nextcloud Calendar
Google Search → Bing → DuckDuckGo
Google Maps → Bing Maps → OpenStreetMaps 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 / Plex → Spotify / Jellyfin
Google Play Movies/TV → Plex → Jellyfin
Google Play Audiobooks/Books → Audible/Kindle
Google Play Store (apps) → F-Droid / Aurora Store
Google Android → Lineage OS → Ubuntu 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 → PocketCasts → AntennaPod
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.
"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." https://joinup.ec.europa.eu/collection/open-source-observatory-osor/news/let-market-solve-it #Europe #GAIAX #FreeSoftware #publicCode #digitalSovereignty
Just watched Chris Adams talk at #36c3 about "Reducing Carbon in the Digital Realm" and found the attached slide very interesting.
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.
#REUSE adoption increases every day. Today I learnt that Jens Lechtenbörger made his #OER presentations REUSE compliant. Yet another small but important step towards making #FreeSoftware licensing easier to understand for everyone.
"Is anything ever secure? Is anything ever secret? Guess what? The answer is a clear maybe. Or maybe not."
An interview with a #Zuckerberg bot that is probably more honest than any other interview with him ever recorded.
https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2019/dec/22/zuckerbot-mark-zuckerberg-facebook-botnik #Facebook #privacy
Der #Bundesrechnungshof beklagt in seinem "Schwarzbuch 2019" den verschwenderischen Umgang mit #Steuergeldern in Bereichen wie IT. Konkret geht es um 4,9 Millionen Euro für Apps ohne Nachweis, dass diese "wirtschaftlich waren": https://www.heise.de/newsticker/meldung/Bundesrechnungshof-ruegt-Geldverschwendung-bei-Regierungs-Apps-4613977.html
Dabei ist genau betrachtet eigentlich vor allem die von öffentlichen Geldern finanzierte Softwareentwicklung ohne #FreieLizenz "nicht wirschaftlich" und eine Verschwendung von Steuergeldern.
There are easy ways how to opt out from data analytics of your #Mastercard and #Visa credit cards: https://www.mastercard.co.uk/en-gb/about-mastercard/what-we-do/privacy/data-analytics-opt-out.html & https://marketingreportoptout.visa.com/OPTOUT/request.do
Habe nachgezählt: in den letzten 2 Tagen musste ich 8x mit #Unitymedia telefonieren und habe immer noch kein Internet. Aktuelles Problem: der Anschluss eines eigenen Routers funktioniert immer noch nicht. Es ist wirklich traurig...
#ZDF schreibt "Kampf um Netzzugang - #Routerwahl: Provider wollen Macht zurück" https://www.zdf.de/nachrichten/heute/routerwahl-provider-wollen-macht-zurueck-100.html
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.
Sehr schön! Die @cdu hat auf ihrem #cdubpt19 das große Potenzial von Freier Software und #publiccode festgestellt. Ich bin gespannt auf die Umsetzung, und die @fsfe hilft gerne dabei: https://publiccode.eu/de
The #Twidere 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
Make sure to make yourself heard when regulators decide whether your router belongs to you - or to your internet service provider 😱
Less than 24 hours left to provide your feedback on the EU guidelines for #RouterFreedom! #BEREC is running a #PublicConsultation defining whether your router will belong to you or to your ISP. Please participate now, it's as easy as sending an email!
Größte Herausforderung heute: am #elftenelften pünktlich in die Kölner Innenstadt zum Bahnhof kommen
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.
Server run by the main developers of the project It is not focused on any particular niche interest - everyone is welcome as long as you follow our code of conduct!