My favourite free and open source software

July 20, 2023    Article    601 words    3 mins read

Over the years I have become attached to the FLOSS (Free/Libre and Open Source Software) software that I often use, and as I grow older I am more invested in their fate on an ideological and moral level. Here is my list of favourite FLOSS software:

Operating System: Debian

I always felt a strong connection to Ian Murdock (the founder of the Debian project, the name is a portmanteau of the first name of his girlfriend and later wife Debra and his own first name; Deb Ian) and I considered him an older brother even though I have never met him. I followed the last period of his life with great sadness and it’s very easy to draw a parallel between the lives (and deaths) of Ian Murdock and Terry A. Davis. I could write endless paragraphs on the power, stability and coherence of the Debian operating system, but I won’t. You just need to try it.

Thank you for everything, Ian.

Game: Beyond All Reason

I was and still am a HUGE FAN of Total Annihilation, so its spiritual successor is on the top of the list; it even has multiplayer and can be used for competitive gaming if you’re into that sort of self-flagellation. I know that in theory Chris Taylor (the original designer for TA) created much later the Supreme Commander series, but for me Beyond All Reason really captures the essence of Total Annihilation, and it’s open source to boot. Chris is my other brother and I can only thank him so much for the fun he provided to the younger me, by playing his masterpieces, Total Annihilation and Dungeon Siege.

Messenger: Ricochet Refresh

Ricochet Refresh is an updated codebase of the original Ricochet IM project started by John Brooks in 2014. It uses the power of the Tor network to enable users to connect and talk anonymously and securely via Tor Onion Services v3.

Browser: Brave

I have been a hardcore user (and advocate) of Mozilla’s Firefox browser since version 1 but lately I’m feeling there is a big disconnect between Mozilla (both the corporation and the foundation) and its users. It was wrong when they forced Brendan Eich to resign, it was wrong when they called for more censorship online, it was wrong when they hired a CEO without any technical merits (Mitchell Baker) and boosted her salary while Firefox’s market share dropped to a level so low that nobody I know uses Firefox today.

But enough about that. Brave is a Chromium-based browser started by Brendan Eich, co-founder of the Mozilla project and creator of the JavaScript language, a browser that’s focused on privacy, ad-blocking and Web3.0 features. It supports Tor windows, InterPlanetary FileSystem (IPFS), Blockchain domain names, bypasses Google’s AMP pages and integrates with other Brave services as RSS reader and News aggregator, Brave Talk, Search, VPN and more.

Video: Invidious

I stopped using Google services few years ago and Youtube is no exception. All my videos are played and downloaded from an Invidious server (most likely but I change the instance sometimes) and it gives me a warm and fuzzy feeling inside because I’m no longer being served ads and my data is no longer mined by the evil, evil Google.

Office Suite: LibreOffice

My Office needs are very small (I need to be able to open doc(x) files, do some number crunching and maybe generate pretty graphs) and LibreOffice is perfect for that. I mainly use Calc and Writer as replacements for Excel and Word and I haven’t encountered any problems. It just works.