I’m a big fan of Open source software. I think the fact that there are products out there that allow people to use, share and modify them as they like is brilliant. There are several reasons to use open source software. Chief of which, for me, is that the software is not tied to any one party. This ensures that the best interest of the software (and by extension the community that uses it) is what is put first.
Here’s some of the software I use myself, and think is great to get behind.
Here I mean wordpress.org and not wordpress.com.
Now WordPress is already a pretty familiar name everywhere. It does power most of the web after all. This blog you’re reading on is WordPress powered, my agency site is on WordPress and so is Sweden’s official website.
It’s great for almost any kind of website that you might need. Being open source means that there’s so much customizability and power it brings. This is the really big swiss army knife of website making.
Other competitors tie you into their ecosystem meaning you’ll have to keep paying a premium that they choose to have your site up. WordPress on the other hand is only as expensive as where you’re hosting your site. It is possible to run it on a raspberry pi, so it can cost next to nothing if you’re so inclined.
Nextcloud is great. If you need a good, open source replacement to Google Drive, look no further.
I use it primarily to store my files and have a way of organizing them and getting to them no matter what device I’m on. It does this admirably. It also lets you create users, assign permissions to them and also lets you create and documents a la Google Docs.
It also can run meetings with it’s own video conferencing built in, encryption, a really good calendar, mail and the ability to white label it to your hearts content.
Really, if you don’t want to rely on Google for your personal files (and you really shouldn’t), then Nextcloud should be what you’re considering.
Listen, it’s crazy the amount of tracker’s on the web right now. A site running google analytics can easily profile you based on your past browsing history. They can do this because Google analytics is the most used analytics platform on the web. It being free and easy to use makes it a no brainer for most companies that want to see what sort of people use their site. On the other hand, this gives Google a ton of data that they can then use to sell to advertisers or just for whatever purpose they see fit.
Matomo is an analytics platform that’s also free (it even has it’s own plugin that works well with WordPress). Unlike Google though, all the browsing data is localized to the website. In fact, with it’s privacy settings, you won’t need to ask for consent in GDPR focused countries. Matomo can be configured to not track anything that might be construed as personally identifiable information and instead, the website owner can focus on other relevant metrics instead.
I know I’ve been giving Google a hard time in this post. But credit where credit is due, Google is instrumental in creating one of the largest open source projects of all – Android.
The base Android source code is available for anyone to modify, and edit. Which is why there are Android phones from 2012 (looking at the galaxy S3 here) still being supported by the community on sites like XDA Developers.
Unlike other popular mobile OSes *cough* iOS *cough*, Android has a plethora of features that can be readily edited, cracked and customized. Granted, different versions of Android do take a little bit of a learning curve but it is much more powerful for it.
Also, side note, Google has it’s own page where it provides a list of open source software it supports.
Notepad++ is to Notepad what a Volvo V60 is to a Pontiac Aztec. Sure they both get the job done, but one consumes less resources, has more use cases. Also you wouldn’t want to be caught using one of them.
It can edit files up to 2gb in size (default for notepad is 58MB). It can run macros, uses tabbed views, supports syntax highlighting and has plugin support.
There’s an active community around it too, so if you need something specific from the software, you can always drop by the forums.