So I was recently asked why I prefer to use free and open source software over more conventional and popular proprietary software and services.

A few years ago I was an avid Google user. I was deeply embedded in the Google ecosystem and used their products everywhere. I used Gmail for email, Google Calendar and Contacts for PIM, YouTube for entertainment, Google Newsstand for news, Android for mobile, and Chrome as my web browser.

I would upload all of my family photos to Google Photos and all of my personal documents to Google Drive (which were all in Google Docs format). I used Google Domains to register my domain names for websites where I would keep track of my users using Google Analytics and monetize them using Google AdSense.

I used Google Hangouts (one of Google’s previous messaging plays) to communicate with friends and family and Google Wallet (with debit card) to buy things online and in-store.

My home is covered with Google Homes (1 in my office, 1 in my bedroom, 1 in the main living area) which I would use to play music on my Google Play Music subscription and podcasts from Google Podcasts.

I have easily invested thousands of dollars into my Google account to buy movies, TV shows, apps, and Google hardware devices. This was truly the Google life.

Then one day, I received an email from Google that changed everything.

“Your account has been suspended”

Just the thing you want to wake up to in the morning. An email from Google saying that your account has been suspended due to a perceived Terms of Use violation. No prior warning. No appeals process. No number to call. Trying to sign in to your Google account yields an error and all of your connected devices are signed out. All of your Google data, your photos, emails, contacts, calendars, purchased movies and TV shows. All gone.

I nearly had a heart attack, until I saw that the Google account that had been suspended was in fact not my main personal Google account, but a throwaway Gmail account that I created years prior for a project. I hadn’t touched the other account since creation and forgot it existed. Apparently my personal Gmail was listed as the recovery address for the throwaway account and that’s why I received the termination email.

Although I was able to breathe a sigh of relief this time, the email was wake up call. I was forced to critically reevaluate my dependence on a single company for all the tech products and services in my life.

I found myself to be a frog in a heating pot of water and I made the decision that I was going to jump out.

Leaving Google

Today there are plenty of lists on the internet providing alternatives to Google services such as this and this. Although the “DeGoogle” movement was still in its infancy when I was making the move.

The first Google service I decided to drop was Gmail, the heart of my online identity. I migrated to Fastmail with my own domain in case I needed to move again (hint: glad I did, now I self host my email). Fastmail also provided calendar and contacts solutions so that took care of leaving Google Calendar and Contacts.

Here are some other alternatives that I moved to:

Gmail → Fastmail → Self-hosted (via Cloudron)
Google Contacts → FastmailNextcloud Contacts
Google Calendar → FastmailNextcloud Calendar
Google Search → BingDuckDuckGo
Google Maps → Bing MapsOpenStreetMaps and OsmAnd
Google Analytics → Matomo Analytics
Google Drive → Nextcloud Files
Google Photos → Nextcloud Files/Gallery
Google Docs → Collabora Office (Nextcloud integration) and LibreOffice
Google Play Music → Spotify / PlexSpotify / Jellyfin
Google Play Movies/TV → PlexJellyfin
Google Play Audiobooks/Books → Audible/Kindle
Google Play Store (apps) → F-Droid / Aurora Store
Google Android → Lineage OSUbuntu Touch on PinePhone (coming soon?)
Google’s Android Apps → Simple Mobile Tools
Google Chrome → Mozilla Firefox
Google Domains → Hover
Google Hangouts → Matrix and Nextcloud Talk
Google Allo → Signal
Google Podcasts → PocketCastsAntennaPod
Google Newsstand → RSS
Google Wallet → PayPal and Cash App
Google Voice →Ting Mobile

Migrating away from Google was not a fast or easy process. It took years to get where I am now and there are still several Google services that I depend on: YouTube and Google Home.

Eventually, my Google Home’s will grow old and become unsupported at which point hopefully the Mycroft devices have matured and become available for purchase. YouTube may never be replaced (although I do hope for projects like PeerTube to succeed) but I find the compromise of using only one or two Google services to be acceptable.

At this point losing my Google account due to a mistake in their machine learning would largely be inconsequential and my focus has shifted to leaving Amazon which I use for most of my shopping and cloud services.

The reason that I moved to mostly FOSS applications is that it seems to be the only software ecosystem where everything works seamlessly together and I don’t have to cede control to any single company. Alternatively I could have simply split my service usage up evenly across Google, Microsoft, Amazon, and Apple but I don’t feel that they would have worked as nicely together.

Overall I’m very happy with the open source ecosystem. I use Ubuntu with KDE on all of my computers and Android (no GApps) on my mobile phone. I’ve ordered the PinePhone “Brave Heart” and hope to one day be able to use it or one of its successors as a daily driver with Ubuntu Touch or Plasma Mobile.

I don’t want to give the impression that I exclusively use open source software either, I do use a number of proprietary apps including: Sublime Text, Typora, and Cloudron.

https://www.kylepiira.com/2020/01/09/why-i-quit-google/

Today is a good day. Finished and pre-released the next Ubuntu animal on my Patreon page: patreon.com/sylviaritter 🕵️‍♂️💕 #art #illustration

@kitkat Been listening to the "Black Focus" album by Yussef Kamaal, very breakbeaty jazzy kind of stuff, hope you enjoy it :)

@Gina For new parents books that help them cope with being new parents are also nice to receive, they gave me some nice tips and help on how to deal with the whole thing of being a father.

@Gina To be honest, diapers and wet towels are always welcoming presents as most of the buddget goes to those. Other than that something for the baby to chew on as soon as the teeth start to grow around 4 months is nice or some towels / robes for the bath are also cool presents that can last a bit longer than clothing.

Back from vacations after helping organize the Ubucon Europe in Sintra, which was a very nice experience, apologies for everyone that tried talking to me and that I tried talking to, I barely had a moment to stop and have a proper chat with everyone. Overall the experience was excellent and looking forward to organize some other cons with some lessons in the luggage learnt from Ubucon Europe.

Oh yeah and I managed to gain +3kg on these vacations. 🙈

Who called it romanesco and not fiboroccoli!?

We found this good looking gem on the farmers market. First time I have eaten this psychedelic looking vegetable, besides stunningly beautiful, it is super delicious and a nice variation of the usual veggies.

Scheduling a visit to a local gym with the family I am "greeted" by this message saying thank you for scheduling...

Does this image mean that they are gonna beat my ass as soon as I arrive on site? Kind of worried, send help.

Back to my schedule consistency, waking up at 6:30, swimming pool at 7:00. 💪🏊‍♂️

Swam 1km in 30 minutes again after a loooong break, and I can definitely do better. Next goals are to increase distance and time. I Feel like I need new swimming gear, my regular beach shorts are probably too heavy and are slowing me down. Maybe they can be good as a Goku style way of training lol.

@Gina How do you define an ethical server provider? The closest I know to Greenhost is Datacenterlight in Switzerland: datacenterlight.ch/.

Pi-hole has been a success, it does not block some ads, but around 85% does get blocked.

This week in #LXD news, we have a lot of bug fixes and improvements following the roll out of the LXD 3.15 release. Changes to CPU accounting in LXCFS and some ongoing work on containers devices for LXD. bit.ly/2Ygf8Q4

Should I make otherreality.net mastodon instance public?

Remote build allows you to build snaps for multiple architectures directly in Launchpad, from the command line. This has been high on the developers’ wish list, and now it’s here.

bit.ly/2M06O0a

Just finished the Mastodon upgrade from 2.7.4 to 2.9.2 without a sweat. Thanks @Gargron and the rest of the team.

Un vieil homme hurle sur les nuages !

RMS avait raison ...

#humour

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