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Actually good software

Quick rundown of actually good software you should be using instead of the proprietary/bloated/stupid piece of crap you're using right now.


Operating System

Clearly the most important piece of software you're running everyday (excluding bios - coreboot is on the wrong path imo - and intel's me and amd's psp - let's not talk about them here). Let's be clear you shouldn't be running windoze or macos, these systems are proprietary and can't be trusted because they're made by big corpos that'll do everything for money and attention (even acting like a privacy guard is possible - wink, wink). Instead you should be using a free software operating system like a distro based on Linux or one of the BSD. When it comes to Linux-based operating systems there's three distros I can recommend: Artix, Arch and Gentoo, I've heard good things about Slackware but you better contact digdeeper himself. Please don't use any noob-friendly distros because they're pure cancer. I haven't had a good experience with anything debian based and anything made by redhat. When it comes to BSD I can recommend either OpenBSD or FreeBSD, both are great but have slightly different use-cases.


DE (Desktop Environment) or WM (Window Manager)

DE

The thing is very simple here, IMO you should never use bloated things like GNOME (in particular) or KDE when it comes to DEs. One DE I have had a very good experience with is Mate, it's really easy to use and just works, has everything that's needed (desktop icons for example) and offers a high degree of sane customization.

WM

I've used many WMs but have since settled on dwm just because it's the best of them all, it's highly-customizable and very-patchable but when it comes to it you should just learn to use it as barebones as you can, the less patches you have the less it sucks ;). Another WM I can recommend is window maker, it's for those who love old-school NextStep-kinda look and feel, it also has a high degree of customization and overall is just a great WM to use. In the future I'd like to try fvwm for real.


Web browser

Now this is a hard one, because there's no web browser that's actually good, for real. There are mediocre browsers and the rest is just a pile of crap. So which browsers are mediocre? Well there's Firefox, ungoogled-chromium, qutebrowser, lynx and there's also Tor Browser but this one is a little bit different. You could also but Brave there but I'm not a fan, you shouldn't bother with other browsers really. But browsers I've listed aren't perfect either, with firefox you need to modify it's config file to make it acceptable privacy wise, here's something to start with: arkenfox's user.js - github. ungoogled-chromium relies heavily on google as it is just a set of patches for it and may break anytime really, sometimes-critical updates are late too. qutebrowser would be perfect if it had an adblocker, particularly ublock-origin, but it too relies on google as it uses qt-webengine which is built on top of blink, updates take even longer to arrive here and you're relying not only on google but also on qt which complicates the whole situation. lynx would be perfect if internet would be sane as it's text-only, which mean that it's very fast, 3rd-parties can't use javascript to track you but many websites do break. Tor Browser would be a great browser but I don't really like the path Tor Project is walking on, disregarding users' worries about cloudflare, moving to self-hosted (but still) gitlab, no anonymous commits, not providing their website (expect the main one) through .onion also they work together with cloudflare sometimes. I just don't think they can be trusted. I personally use firefox (for now) but the choice is yours to make.


Instant Messenger

Instant Messengers or IMs in short, became really popular really fast around the time smartphones popped out of nowhere. They provide an instant (as the name suggest) and easy way of getting your message to your friend, family-member or whoever really. One of the things IMs took from us when they became real popular was privacy and to take it back we must switch to more private and more ethical IMs, which means no facebook messenger, no facebook whatsapp, no snapchat, no instagram and no I-don't-know-more-sorry. There's only one IM I can recommend really or should I say one protocol used by various clients, that protocol is XMPP. It's been around for ages and is well-known in some circles, some people try to make it look bad, slow and "not-modern" but it's the best thing we've got. What differenciates XMPP from let's say facebook messenger is that the clients are mostly free software and are made by different people than the ones making said protocol. Which means you can use whatever fits you the most or you can even make your own client without any restrictions really. It also means you can run your own server and store whatever data you want (or store nothing but what's required to make the server work). I will make a guide to setting up your own server in the future. For now I can list the clients I can recommend. For desktop (which means any Linux-based distro and BSDs, I don't care about other OSs) I can recommend gajim or if you want something modern (cough bloated cough) dino. For mobile (Android) I can recommend Conversations and its forks.


Text editor

You really should not be using microsoft word or libreoffice even tho the latter one is free software. What you should be using is a program that allows you to write without any distractions but still has powerful features that sometimes are really useful and allow for getting the job done faster. The program I (and countless others) can recommend is vim. Simply put vim is the best text editor I've used (I haven't used emacs, I don't feel the need to), it has many great features while still being "just" a text editor. As a bonus here, you can find better alternatives for every "word" program if you search for it, like sc-im (excel) and sent (powerpoint). If you want to format your documents in some way just use groff or if you want something more complicated LaTeX (you can write both in vim).


Music player

You may feel the need to use some bloated gui program like quodlibet or some other gtk/qt bullshit that has a million dependencies and just doesn't get out of your way but there's a better alternative and it's called mpd. Well mpd is just the backend as mpd stands for music player daemon so you need a frontend too, here I can recommend both ncmpc and ncmpcpp (I use the former one as I find the ui to be more to my liking). mpd works on every unix-like operating system afaik (both linux-based and BSDs), supports every audio backend (be it alsa, pulseaudio, oss or sndio), and is very flexible - you can even stream with it. Both frontends are great and show you what's needed without any unneccesary bullshit. You can use mpc for keybindings if you want, I do and it works great.


E-mail client

No, it's not a web interface eating up your cpu time and system memory, not it's not making your fan spin like crazy, actually I should say "they aren't" as I can recommend two e-mail clients, one is a tui one and the other one is gtk2/3 (depending on which version you'd like, well, at least for now) gui program. The first one, the one I use, is mutt which is an excellent e-mail client following the unix philosophy as you can delegate some functions to other dedicated programs for such tasks (like getting e-mails or sending them). It probably has everything you'd want and more and is ultra-customizable - you can define your own macros and shit. I know though that not everyone likes tui programs (some people just take them as hard to use for whatever reason) so I have another recommendation for such people - claws-mail, again a gui program. It's more of a classic mail client both in looks and usability, although I'd say it's the most featureful of all gui mail clients. What can I say, it just gets the job, well both of them do. Both support PGP and S/MIME too, and really, if you're not yet you should start using PGP, it's very easy to do so (well if you're not using some stupid web client that is) and increases your and your recipient privacy and security, although still not as secure and priavate as using xmpp+omemo.


Subscriptions manager or RSS Reader

It should be well known that you shouldn't need an account on every site just to get updates from people you like. Even better, there's been a way to subscribe to people on various platforms for ages now. It's called RSS and you've probably used it at some point in the past. So why aren't you using it now? Well some companies just decided they can't control people while allowing them to use an independent piece of software and started locking people in their platforms. We should all oppose that and just use RSS. If you want to have a great RSS reader that won't get in your way I advise you to use newsboat, it's a great little tui program that does one thing and does it great, it allows you to read other people's rss feeds with no useless shit like inline html rendering. You just see the link to the source and the content of it, that's it. You can also make your own macros which comes in handy when you want to for example download a video directly using youtube-dl (that's what I do).


This list will be further expanded in the future


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Created: 2020.12.29