:: Serial Unixperiments ::

Free your life!
A list of ethical alternatives to popular applications

Compiled by Will Maguire

Why free your life?


There is a lot of software in the world today, sadly some of the most popular software does not respect user freedoms, and worse yet often abuse the privacy of the user. This includes web services, which are some of the worst culprits of blatent user abuse.

Luckily we are blessed today with a number of Free Software, ethical alternatives, that are guaranteed to be free of anti-user "features".

Youtube

Youtube is unfortunately one of the largest platforms for sharing information and entertainment. Youtube, and it's parent company Google routinely steal the data of users on their platforms and track users across the internet. Most of the time, this is without the knowledge or consent of the users.

You can learn more about how Youtube abuses users here:
https://spyware.neocities.org/articles/youtube.html

There are two solutions to using Youtube without being used yourself.

Newpipe
Newpipe is a Free Software application for the Android operating system that allows you to access content on Youtube without having to view advertisements, and without having your data stolen.



Invidious
Invidious is a web application that allows you, much like Newpipe, to access content from Youtube without being spied on, or having to view advertisements. It's fully self hostable, and distributed as Free Software under the agplv3 license.

You can use these two links to access Invidious instances:
https://invidio.us
https://yewtu.be


Web Browsers

Unfortunately despite most web browsers being partially open source, the most popular web browsers are spyware. The biggest culprit of this, is Google Chrome. With Google largely being an advertising company, Google Chrome collects massive amounts of data.

For more about spyware in Google Chrome: https://spyware.neocities.org/articles/chrome.html

Firefox

Firefox is a web browser developed by Mozilla. It is entirely Free Software, and is far better for privacy than Google Chrome.

Download here

Firefox has a number of useful addons which also improve privacy such as uBlock Origin and cookie autodelete

Further, it would also be useful to set your default search engine to Duckduckgo



Messaging

Messaging applications, specifically Discord and Whatsapp, are horrible for data privacy. Whatsapp is owned by Meta (formerly Facebook) and likely collects as much data as it can, and has recently changed it's privacy policy to allow more data collection. Discord is similar but includes a process logger, which logs every open application on your computer. Furthermore, it does not encrypt messages sent through Discord, meaning even "private" messages are open to be read by anyone with the right permissions.

For more information on why Discord is spyware, see here:
https://spyware.neocities.org/articles/discord.html
For more information on why Whatsapp is spyware, see here:
https://stallman.org/whatsapp.html

Signal

Signal is a Free Software alternative to Whatsapp, and in my experience functions far better. It is available on Android and IOS. By default it encrypts your messages and collects as little data as possible.

https://signal.org



Matrix

Matrix is an open communication protocol which can be self hosted. It functions relatively similarly to Discord, but follows a decentralised model. It also supports message encryption. The main client for Matrix is Element. Matrix and Element are Free Software and include no spyware.

https://element.io/get-started