I’ve been writing about free and open source software (FLOSS) for several years now. Not only is this software free as in free beer but it also means freedom for me to use the software as I deem fit. I can install it on any system I like, copy it, distribute it and even study the source code, change it and perhaps create my own version if I want to.
Over the years I’ve become attached to the FLOSS programs that I often use. I often discovered them reading articles mostly on blogs about FLOSS or on the Fediverse where people love to share their experience with FLOSS. Below I’ll go through my list of favorite FLOSS. I’ve created the list ordering the programs in the following categories: operating system, office, games, social, music, video, browser, graphics, 3d cad and cloud. So here it goes.
Operating System: MX Linux
There are plenty of Linux distros and I tried several but MX Linux has been my daily driver for several years now. It’s stable, pretty light weight, well maintained and I allows me to easily install all the software that I need.
From LibreOffice I use the LibreOffice Calc part the most. For our personal accounting something like GNUcash is a bit too much so I’m using LibreOffice Calc for that. Importing our financial transactions as a .csv file, using pivot tables to sort the current accounts and sum the amounts. Lastly I add a category per current account and filter.
Games: Beyond All Reason
My favorite game was Mindustry for a while but now it’s Beyond All Reason (BAR). BAR is the spiritual successor of Total Annihilation, an old RTS game, but it has become so much more. Like Starcraft 2 it’s used for competitive gaming which makes it also fun to watch.
Social: Lemmy (Beehaw server)
Currently I’m using Beehaw which is a very good moderated Lemmy server. Lemmy is the federated version of Reddit but the main Lemmy servers are radical to the point that it’s becoming unbearable (although I do believe that lemmy.ml has cleaned up their act recently). Beehaw has plenty of users with good links and discussion without the toxicity that seems indigenous on almost all social media.
I’m still using Squeezebox, a complete home audio streaming system. I’m running my own Squeezebox server where I uploaded my music to. It also contains my favorite radio stations and podcasts. Squeezebox is no longer produced by Logitech but since everything is FLOSS even the hardware can be made from off the shelf components.
All YouTube videos from an Invidious server (Yewtu.be). With all the content YouTube is hard to avoid but at least with Invidious I’m no longer served with ads and the relentless data mining from Google has stopped.
I’ve been using Firefox for many years now. It’s the last FLOSS browser with a decent, although shrinking, market share and offers good privacy, speed and stability. And it’s not Google.
I’m using Inkscape for many years now for all my vector graphic design work. As with all vector illustration design programs it’ll take some time to get used to but once you do it’ll allow to get the most out of your 2d graphic designs. It’s unbelievable how it has grown over the years and is able to compete with the proprietary and expensive Adobe Illustrator.
During my quest to get away from Google I needed cloud storage to replace Google Drive. I discovered NextCloud a couple of years ago and setup my own home server (a Nuc) with NextCloud. It’s great to sync photos from my smartphone and to exchange documents. I never looked back.
3D CAD: OpenSCAD
Perhaps a bit of an oddity for some people but I do 3d printing as a hobby and although I also use Solvespace or FreeCAD if I need a more functional part, OpenSCAD holds a special place since it allows me to make more creative designs. Some people might be put of by the UI and the fact that every 3d model needs to be programmed instead of drawn.
And that concludes my list of my favorite FLOSS programs. I use plenty more FLOSS. In fact none of the programs that I use for the PC are proprietary (with the exception of proprietary blobs).