The world and all our lives have some big problems.
We may not be able to overcome them alone.
But what we can choose is this:
Whether we want to be a part of those problems...
Or if we want to be a part of their solution.
Do YOU want to be part of the solution?
✊ Be part of an Ethical Revolution.👈
TOTM

Opt Open-Source

What is Open Source?

The term open source refers to something people can modify and share because its design is publicly accessible. Free and open source software (also called FOSS (Free Open Source Software) or FLOSS (Free/Libre Open Source Software)) allows people to view, modify, copy and share the computer code on which it is powered. It benefits from the promise of transparency, higher quality, better reliability, greater flexibility, lower cost, and no predatory vendor lock-in. For software to be truly open-source it complies with these ten criteria.

Too technical? Compare it to a piece of cake.

Why Should I Care?

Put it this way (as Jaz did): “If the phone companies were recording the words we use in our conversations to sell our preferences to advertisers and make machine learning-driven inferences about us as humans, we’d lose our collective minds. But when Internet companies do it we’ve managed to create a world where that’s … normal … most people don’t like it but believe there’s no alternative.” But there is an alternative: Free open source software.

Why Else Should I Care?

Control

You have more control over free open source software. Its code can be examined to make sure it’s not doing anything it shouldn’t be (spying, hacking etc.)

Decentralisation

Decentralised platforms are not owned by a single entity: Not by one person, group or company. As users we have little or no control over a privately owned platform. Certain rules may be imposed and certain vested interests may be (and often are) served. Even if a platform is seemingly benevolent the fact that it is privately owned means it can (and probably will) be sold at some point to the highest bidder (usually one of the big bad lads!)

Security

Free Open-Source software is totally transparent, meaning anyone can check the full code and ensure there are no nasty spy back doors or criminal attacks built in. This makes it incredibly secure. Because anyone can view and modify it, anyone can spot and correct genuine errors or omissions that the original author may have missed. So many programmers can work on any piece of open source software without the need for permission, meaning these fixes, updates and upgrades happen a lot more quickly than in privately owned software.

Stability

Free Open-Source software is adaptable, by anyone, which means its constantly evolving, building strength upon strength with improvements and fixes being offered up by the community. In short it is democratic rather than despotic. Additionally, open source software tends to both incorporate and operate according to open standards.

Where Can I Use It?

You’re using it now, by reading this website, which is built using WordPress. WordPress is built by an open source community of passionate contributors with decades of experience who are committed to keeping it as stable and secure as possible.

To complete this step I would encourage you to swap out privately owned software for open source alternatives as much as you can. Below is a small list of some commonly used software that could easily be swapped. If you use any of the software on the left see if you can make a shift to one of the corresponding ones on the right instead. For more comprehensive lists of open source software alternatives check out Switching.Software, Awesome Privacy or Chatons Open Source Software Finder.

Calendar -> Nextcloud (the software) via thegood.cloud (the service)

Cloud Storage (Dropbox, Google Drive, iCloud, One Drive) -> CryptPad, Filen, Nextcloud

Content Aggregation, Rating & Discussion (Reddit) -> Piefed

Docs/Office (Apple iWork, Google Docs, Microsoft Office) -> CryptPad (cloud), LibreOffice (desktop)

Email (Gmail, MacMail, Outlook) -> RoundCube, SoGo, Thunderbird
(As email clients existing email address are required for these. If you need an email address try Proton or Tuta whose clients are open source, although the servers are not.)

Hyper-Hackable Text Editor (For coding) -> Pulsar

Facebook -> Friendica

File Transfer (WeTransfer) -> Lufi

Forms (Google Forms) -> OhMyForm

Google Analytics -> Plausible

Image Editing -> Gimp (Photoshop), Inkscape (illustrator)

Instagram -> Pixelfed

Learning Management System (Canvas, D2L) -> Moodle

LinkTree -> LinkStack

Maps (Apple Maps, Google Maps) -> OpenStreetMap

Messaging (Whatsapp) -> Jami, Session, Signal, Delta Chat

Mobile Operating Systems (Android, iOS) -> e.foundation

Note Taking / To-do -> Joplin

Operating Systems (Windows, Apple OS) -> Linux

Podcast Manager -> Podverse

Remote Collaboration (Slak) -> Nextcloud, CryptPad

Reminders -> Joplin

Search Engine (Google, Bing, Yahoo) -> DuckDuckGo, Ecosia

Smart Assistant (Alexa, Google Assistant, Siri) -> Home Assistant

Social Media (in general) -> The Fediverse

Team Collaboration (Slak) -> MatterMost, Element

Translator (Google Translate) -> Apertium, DeepL

Twitch -> OwnCast

Video Conferencing (Skype, Teams, Zoom) -> Jami, Jitsi, Whereby

Video Player -> VLC Player

Video Sharing (Youtube) -> Peertube

Web Browsers (Chrome, Edge, Safari) -> FirefoxBraveEpicFalkonLibreWolfTorVivaldi.

X (Twitter) -> Mastodon

Your 26 Steps Checklist

2 thoughts on “Opt Open-Source

    1. Thanks, Martin. I’ll add this to the list to look in to and add.

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