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The only two realistic ways to escape Google’s grasp is to either use Linux and Firefox (and no phone), or to use Apple. I like Linux and all, but I also like stuff that works more or less out of the box, so Apple it is for me for my computers and phone (but Linux on servers).

Bonus: Safari is, IMHO, by a wide margin the best browser there is. They really push the envelope wrt to privacy, speed and useful feature (e.g. Reader is genius on pages overwrought with ads)

I know this is an unpopular opinion with both the Google fanbois and free software fanatics, but having used the Internet since the early 90s and being a minor JavaScript and web dev celebrity, I’m telling you this is the most pragmatic solution to the privacy problems.

@thomasfuchs Sadly/ironically the one thing I wasn't able to extract myself from but need to do better is Gmail/Google Drive. KolabNow just didn't cut it by far. Need to do better.

@thomasfuchs Hard agree. Boggles my mind over the amount of Chrome usage; both Safari and Firefox are legit good browsers

@thomasfuchs AFAIK Firefox was the first browser with Reader mode. Later copied by Safari and Edge.

Speed etc. is always only marketing.

@thomasfuchs If your goal is overall privacy on the web (and not only liberation from Google), then I strongly disagree with the Safari suggestion, due to Ad/tracker blocking functionality for extensions being very limited compared to Chrome or Firefox.

There are approximately 42 billion companies out there trying to track your every move on the web, and a robust blocker like Privacy Badger or (better) uBlock Origin is the best way to stop that. Both not available for Safari.

@colin @thomasfuchs But Better blocker is, and I trust those guys to always do the right thing better.fyi

@ianbetteridge @thomasfuchs

No. uBO and Privacy Badger are not available on Safari because it's not possible to implement them. Safari has a drastically watered-down "content blocker" implementation that, among other things, limits the number of domains that can be blocked at one time (I think it's 50K, but not sure). Using any content blockers in Safari is strictly inferior to blocking in other browsers that use WebRequest, full stop.

@ianbetteridge @thomasfuchs

To be clear, I have no experience with Better, I'm sure it's a fine blocker, and it's better than nothing, but you are fooling yourself if you think it (or any other ad blocker on Safari) is protecting your privacy as well as uBO would on Firefox or Chromium.

@colin @thomasfuchs Developers have sidestepped the 50k rule limit by simply using multiple blockers (as 1blocker does). And Apple’s content blocker system means that 3rd parties don’t get to see what pages you browse, hence no chance of them gathering and selling data.

@ianbetteridge @thomasfuchs Yes, that's all true. I guess it depends on whom you want to trust -- I trust that UBo and Firefox (and to a lesser extent, Chromium with the google bits ripped out) are not going to gather my data, since it's all open source. In exchange, I get a much more feature-rich and robust blocking tool. But in general, everything sucks and you have to compromise somewhere :)

@thomasfuchs I'm a hybrid Mac/Linux person. Fingers crossed Librem 5 but that will at best probably only be a geek niche thing. I agree I want my stuff to "just work".

@hankg @thomasfuchs
Yes, w/ the #Librem5 you can have Linux + FF (or Gnome Web) on the phone, too.
While my early batch might be kinda rough, I hope the PinePhone will be in the geek niche, as Purism is determined to have the convenience ordinary people need. The v2 planned for Q42020 will be closer to this. It might never cater to FB/WhatsApp/Netflix addicts, but I'm confident privacy-minding parents, uncles & aunts can be converted and will like the experience.

@thomasfuchs :-/

octodon.social/@joeyh/10279147 / @joeyh
bugs.debian.org/cgi-bin/bugrep , Debian bug: "[Firefox] Installs non-free binaries from cisco and google again"

It's an ongoing battle to push back.

@thomasfuchs it is not that hard to use android and avoid all and every google service. 1. open chrome, download f-droid. 2. disable chrome and all other google pre-installed apps. 3. open f-droid, download firefox/maps/etc.

if it doesn't have a site or an open source app, you probably don't want to use it anyway.

using apple you are getting a little peace of mind with ad tracking but selling out on free software and open formats/standards. (and apple do publish profit from ad, so... how?)

@gcb @thomasfuchs Ah but Google is really good at getting what they want. Android without Google stuff is hard to use - e.g. WhatsApp depends on Google's push notification service, Signal as well. So you'll end up not having much of the perks of Android at all...

@thomasfuchs What about not putting all your eggs in one basket? Spreading around your online presence with a bit of this and a bit of that (different browsers, OSes, and hardware) makes it harder for one entity to track everything you do.

@thomasfuchs Mint 19.1 using Mate worked for me right out of the box. First Linux distro to pull that off. I prefer Cinnamon, but it's still too buggy with anything but a Debian it seems.

Mint still has its flaws, of course, like every OS, but I like it so much more than Windows 10. Maybe give it a whirl at least as a VM to see if it's to your liking?

@thomasfuchs
As much as I don't trust Google I also do not trust Apple. Since everything happens behind closed doors, no one can rest assured that Apple has the user's best interest at heart.

@alexandru_balan @thomasfuchs I am pretty sure it's not the user's best interest but the investor's Apple has at heart. We can only hope their investors are also their users.

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