Microsoft Word. Adobe Photoshop. Whatsapp. Some software is so ubiquitous that you don’t even think that an alternative might be a good idea, or even exist. But often they do exist, and you should consider switching.

Why do I think you should switch? The two biggest reasons, are Google and Adobe. Adobe removed the ability to purchase software outright, forcing users into a monthly subscription. Google are just…well…Google. They sell your soul to the highest bidder.

I stopped using Google Analytics a few months ago on here, opting instead for a locally hosted Matomo analytics plugin, which does everything I want it to (and more). What it doesn’t do, which is the real drawcard, is send the analytics on to anyone else. The analytics are for me, and for me only.

I subscribe to a daily email called The Sizzle (https://thesizzle.com.au/), and today it alerted me to the website called Switching Software (https://swiso.org/). It’s super simple: look for the program you use, click on it, and it will tell you what the open source/free/non-evil/ethical alternatives that are available.

I’ve written about Signal before here: Why do I use Signal?, and it is one of the alternatives to WhatsApp – the one that I recommend. It has an edge over WhatsApp in that it will take over (if you want it to) as the default SMS app and allow you to keep SMS and Signal messages in the same encrypted database on your phone.

Switching Software mentions Matomo as the replacement for Google Analytics, along with another few options – a switch I already made.

I dumped Adobe for the Affinity software suite – which isn’t free, but all three applications cost $150 all up when they were on special, for a permanent licence.

I use OwnCloud instead of Dropbox. This is a faff, and not for everyone, because you have to host your own server. But if you have access to a machine that’s always online, it’s a good option.

I host my own mail server using Mail In A Box (https://mailinabox.email/) rather than relying on Gmail. Also a faff, because spam restrictions are so tight these days that if you aren’t one of the big players (Microsoft/Google) you’re very much a second class netizen. With patience and some polite emails to whatever spam filter is blocking you and it’s possible to get unblocked and then it works a treat.

It’s worth while investigating these. I’ve just downloaded kdenlive, a non-linear video editing application to replace Adobe Premiere Pro. I’ll see how it is and maybe post a review down the track.

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