Free software: why I use it and what I use

All of you are using free software in your everyday life. You don’t think so? Well, I bet some of you are using Firefox, an android phone or are reading blogs which are based on the CMS WordPress(.org). Yes, all of those are free software and this are just some examples. There are even free software desktop operating systems like Debian, Trisquel or Ubuntu.

But first of all, what is free software? When we talk about free software, we do not talk about it’s price. The free stands for freedom. The freedom to run, study, change and distribute the software as you like. Software like that has some great advantages, which I want to point out to you in this comment on free software.

The first reason to use it – which is probably the most appealing one to you – is, that free software is indeed without any price. You can download, use, change and share the software as you like, without paying anything. That doesn’t mean that you should not consider donating a little bit to the software makers if you are a content user of their software.

The second and way more important fact is, that free software gives you a maximum of privacy. If you are using free software, there is no company behind the software that wants to make money off of your data. So if you do care about privacy, please don’t use Windows or OS X, use a free Linux distro, like Debian or Trisquel.

Finally, I love the philosophy and idea behind free software.  I think that free software shows, that people can achieve great things and innovation is possible without money as the driving force behind it. People are willing to work hard and share their work with others, just because they are good and they do it for all of us. That mentality of not chasing profit all the time low-key gives me hope in humanity.

CC-BY-SA me, Aaron

So, what free software do I use and what can I recommend? Here’s a list:

  • Debian: I use Debian since about December 2015 and after almost one and a half years I can tell you that it’s great! It works absolutely reliably, it never crashed or anything like that. I can really recommend it to you if you mainly use your laptop/computer for browsing the web, editing pictures, writing texts and stuff like that.
  • Firefox: okay this one is a no-brainer. Firefox is one of the best browsers out there, especially when it comes to privacy. But I want to show you some great add-ons:
    • Self-Destructing Cookies: You hate that you are being tracked by cookies but if you turn them off in the settings you can’t even put anything in your shopping cart? Then Self-Destructing Cookies is for you. It allows cookies as long as you are on the site, so that you stay logged in and the stuff you want to buy stays in your shopping cart, but if you close the tabs it will delete all of the cookies that have been left by the site. That way, you can’t be tracked around the Internet too efficiently.
    • uBlock Origin: A great and lightweight blocker. And I am super sorry to block ads because I want to support the content creators I like, but I just think the privacy-invading ad industry is the wrong way. I pay for my E-Mail service, I pay for my music-streaming service and I donate money to blogs I read. I wish the Internet economy would not be based on ads so much.
  • F-Droid: If you are an Android user, you should definitely check out the alternative app-store F-Droid. It’s an app-store that only offers free software apps. Here are some of the ones I use:
    • K-9 Mail
    • Document Viewer
    • Firefox
    • Red Moon
    • VLC

To sum it up, if you are an privacy aware digital citizen that likes being in control of his/her software instead of the other way around, you should definitely use free software. I hope some of my recommendations were helpful! 🙂

Aaron ⭐




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