Free Software Trip 5: Acting on what I learned.

Date: 24th January 2019


5. Acting on what I learned.

So I was back home and I had my work cut out for me. I had decided to not let what I learned in this trip go to waste and planned to slowly start moving toward using free software for my personal computing.

So my approach for it was in two steps:

Below I will explain the above in detail.

1. Identify my software usage

So I got down to inspect my software usage and noted down my present setup:

So these were the areas where I could afford to make some changes to use more free-software.

The way I saw it, the best solution was to self-host my apps on a VPS with free-software alternatives, and start using a FSF approved OS like Debain for my primary personal computing. So slowly I could add more and more free softwares and services to my toolchain.

2. Moving towards using more free-sofware.

The first thing I did was to remove my Manjaro and Ubuntu partions and replace them with Debian Stretch and Linux Mint.

I’ll explain why below:

Then I decided to ditch Sublime Text as my primary editor. I started using more of:

After that I decided to self-host my apps/websites on VPS. First thing I did was to dockerize all my apps with Dockerfiles and docker-compose. Then I used NGINX as reverse proxy and then and proceeded to host the following:

I completely switched to Firefox as my primary browser with extensions for Pocket etc disabled. Its great, but I a still facing the text illegibility issue with dark themes.

3. Next steps

Now that I have the base setup(s) ready I can slowly adopt more free-software tools and services.

In the future I’d like to:

4. Conclusion

This trip has taught me so much and I am very thankful for the new point of view I have gained from it. I got to learn so many new concepts, new tools, new philosophies to live by and most importantly it has inspired me to aspire to the Hacker Ethic.

From the multiple projects, the self-hosting, and the taking back control of my software freedom I feel alot more confident of my skills, yet humbled by all the things which are left for my curious exploration.

I love using computers, they are the single greatest inventions of our age with an underlying guarantee of freedom and choice to use it according to our needs and thanks to the thousands of Hackers before us who have made the tools to make it possible.

This is probably the only tool in the world, where you are limited only by your curiousity and the amount of work you are willing to put in it to make it truly personal.

I dont want this tool to be corrupted and become a means to exploit innocent people and I want to do everything in my power to prevent that.

The way I see it, using more and more free-software is the first step in the process, but definately not the last.

At the same time, I feel great amounts of grattitude towards the developers before me, like Mr. Stallman, who have given away these tools for free usage. Without them, the computers and the internet wouldnt be the only place in the world where you have the option of being truly free.

I also feel indebted to the community and hope to give back to it by building useful tools myself (like keeplink.in) and publishing the code under a copyleft licence so that others can benefit from my work to.

It is nearly not enough to pay them back, but it is a start.


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© Abhishek Balam 2019

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