Shifting to free software


So, you have finally decided to leave the world of proprietary apps and join the free software gang. Great!
You probably have a few questions on what apps you can use. I've listed a few over here.

Browser?

Picking the right browser is important. There are multiple choices in this case. Brave, Firefox, IceCat, etc. Are excellent choices.

Brave is a chromium based browser where basically everything works. On browsers like firefox, lots of websites might not work because the developers didn't support it. Brave and Chrome have the same base. Hence, any site supported by chrome(basically everything) should work completely fine on Brave. De-Googled Chromium is a good choice as well.

Firefox is another great alternative. I'm a fan of the amazing UI it offers. Although, beauty is subjective. You can also rice your Firefox to get better looks. It lacks in the compatibility department.

IceCat is the hardcore Libre software enthusiast's browser. It blocks nonfree JS by default. This might cause multiple websites to break. So, not recommended if you want stuff like YouTube to work.

YouTube?

YouTube is a very useful site and you might not want to give it up entirely. I have a solution for ya. There are custom, privacy-centric YouTube clients available. These are usually not reliable but, they work. Freetube(For all desktop OSes), Newpipe(Android) and Invidious(Web) are great examples.

Since they are unreliable, sometimes a video might not work. If a video doesn't work for me in FreeTube, I use it on invidious. If it still doesn't work, try mpv.

Email?

Most of us probably have a GMail or an Outlook email. The thing is, these are nonfree, privacy invasive providers. What do we do? Again, multiple options in this scenario. Buy a Raspberry Pi and host your own server is one of them. I would recommend this one since a raspberry pi would be very useful later on in this blog as well. If you don't want to do all the configuration, try Tutanota.

Search Engine?

In the search engine market, google rules. There is no comparison. DuckDuckGo, Brave Search, Ecosia, etc. provide a private(and eco friendly) browsing experience but the quality of the results is very meh. If you are not interested in the idea of Ecosia, I would suggest giving Whoogle a try. They're a google search client that uses multiple tricks to anonymise you when using it. Again, having a Raspbery Pi in this case would be helpful. You can set up your own Whoogle servers for private use.

Chatting?

Chatting. I love chatting, I'm basically addicted to it. While there are multiple amazing free chat apps, I would recommend Matrix. Matrix isn't really a chatting app, but instead, a protocol. You can use Matrix clients to use this protocol. What makes it special is that it is "cross platform". You can use it to talk to people in WhatsApp, Telegram, Discord, etc. All, in one app.

Social Media?

Social Media is another necessary part of our lives nowadays. As everybody knows FaceBook, Instagram, etc. don't care about user privacy at all. Mastodon is a brilliant alternative. Since it is libre, decentralised software. it is much more secure and privacy respecting. Once again, having a Raspberry Pi is quite handy here. You can host your instances on it. I have heard good things about other applications like Fediverse but haven't tried it myself. 

Video Conferencing?

Nowadays, video calling is an essential part of life. Due to the pandemic, everything has moved online. There are various popular apps such as Zoom, Google Meet, Teams, etc. but, these are all proprietary. Are there any free alternatives? Yes. Jitsi is an open video conferencing platform that has amazing voice quality. Once more, having a Raspberry Pi would be great.

Miscellaneous:

Please install the, "Privacy Redirect" extension for your browser. It redirects you to free alternatives for various websites such as google translate, reddit, instagram, etc.

Closing Note:

Having a Rapsberry Pi would be great here. They are not compulsory for everything that I am talking about, but if you have one, or your own server, or an old computer, etc. then it is better than using the already hosted options for these applications.

I hope my list helped you remove some proprietary applications from your life :)