I have an Android phone.  For the most part it gets the job done, except it’s always reporting back to the Google Mothership, which I do not like at all. That Google spyware is a deal breaker for me with Android. I’ve had iPhones, and I like them, except over time I get tired of always having to do things Apple’s way, plus I get bored with iOS.  But there is a couple of ways I can get a third choice in smartphones. Here is my current Big Plan, to de-Google my phone life.

Plan A/e/ Foundation.  I’m a donor and supporter of /e/ Foundation’s effort to de-Google Android.  What makes their effort different is they realize that you can’t just fork Android and say you are done.  You have to come up with replacements for all those Google apps you can’t avoid or delete on Android: Gmail, Chrome, Maps, cloud storage, Google Play, Calendar, SMS and more.  Google has infested Android so deeply that it becomes useless without all those Google services.

/e/ Foundation is coming up with a whole host of open source cloud services to replace the Google spyware.  Plus they are forking Android, plus they intend to bring out phones with this all pre installed.

My worry is they won’t have a phone I like that will run on US GSM networks.

Plan B: If I can’t get a suitable phone with /e/ Foundations OS pre-installed I may try to install their OS on my existing phone.  I’m not keen on trying this, but I might.

Plan C (Provisional): Purism Librem 5.  This is Linux on a smartphone.  This is heavy duty privacy.  I have one on pre-order.  While I like the idea I have reservations: 1. This is new untested waters.  I really have to have a phone that just works in all the core smartphone functions. No excuses.  My fear is that i will be a perpetual beta tester. 2. Purism will provide the basics: email, phone, SMS, calendar, browser etc. all untried on a phone, but after that I would be totally dependent on web apps via the browser.  3. will this be another walled garden?  If I can get a working phone via Plans A or B I will cancel my pre-order.

Plan D (If all the above fails): Back to iPhone.  iPhone isn’t really private, but it’s way way better than Google Android.  I don’t like this though, the Xseries of iPhones are way over priced and don’t have a fingerprint reader. Duh!

The bottom line is I hope /e/ Foundation succeeds and soon.  I’d like to buy a T-Mobile US phone with a big screen from them and switch to their services and apps.

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Like: Framasoft ~ Portal Homepage

  • A network dedicated to globally promoting “free” and particularly free software.
  • Many services and innovative projects freely put at the disposal of the general public.
  • community of volunteers supported by a public interest association.
  • An invitation to build together a world of sharing and cooperation.

Framasoft is a French based, public interest organization promoting free software and services on the internet.  Note: one of their campaigns is to de-Google the internet, which is shorthand for providing free, opensource alternatives to web services provided by the internet silo’s.

The Framasoft’s goal is to offer, mainly online, a set of concrete and practical tools to facilitate adoption:

  • of free software (directory, USB sticks, installer…);
  • of free cultural creations (blog, translation, publishing house…);
  • of free services (more than 30 free services in the project De-google-ify Internet).

Presented as a “gateway to the Free World”, the network Framasoft wants to position itself as a bridge between the librarian community and the general public.

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Bookmark: WikidPad – wiki notebook for Windows/Linux/Mac OS

This installed just fine on Win 10.  The instructions for Linux and Mac look more complicated.  I have to say this is pretty damn cool.  I would call this more of a wiki notebook, “pad” sounds too small.  You can make some extensive, many pages of, notes on this just like a notebook.  With the WikiWord linking this could be a great project notebook.

I also think this could make an interesting personal journal.

Free. I could see this as a way to learn the gist of wiki usage prior to installing one on a web account.

The negative is no cloud storage, no sync between computers.

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Bookmark: Home | Solid

(From the Sir Tim Berners-Lee and Inrupt.)

Solid empowers users and organizations to separate their data from the applications that use it. It allows people to look at the same data with different apps at the same time. It opens brand new avenues for creativity, problem-solving, and commerce.

Note: Ownership of your own data and having control of your own data are very Indieweb.org concepts. Solid brings the concept to more to mobile and apps but it applies to the web too.

This was also posted to
/en/indieweb.

 

 

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Vivaldi 2.0 is out!  This is a major update and I like it.  You can see all the details at the link below.

For me the big added feature is encrypted sync.  This means my Vivaldi browsing history, bookmarks, setup, logins, can be shared with Vivaldi on my other computers.  I really like that.

It also opens the way for Vivaldi to release an Android version of the browser, so you can share all that stuff from your desktop.  I use Firefox on Android right now but I’d really prefer to use Vivaldi, so I’m hoping this means an Android version is to be released soon.

Adventure in Upgrading:

I did have an adventure in trying to upgrade to Vivaldi 2.0 on Win 10.  The installer kept failing.  I tried a lot of things like disabling my anti-virus to no avail.  Finally, I uninstalled my old version of Vivaldi – still failed.  Now I’m really worried because I am stuck totally without my go to browser.  I tried one last time and on the Windows installation wizard I clicked on Advanced.  This lead me to a dropdown set for “Install for One User”  I clicked on that and changed it to “Install for all users” which changes the file path as to where Vivaldi is installed.  Success!  Vivaldi 2.0 installed, all my settings are there.  Very happy.

I’m not sure what was causing the problem, but this is Windows and Windows gets weird.  Similar things used to happen back in the old Opera days too so no big deal.

 

via Vivaldi 2.0 – Your browser matters | Vivaldi Browser

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Like: Leaving Apple & Google: /e/ first beta is here! – Hacker Noon

I just reread the above article for the second time, this time more carefully.  Then I went back and read the older posts about this project that are linked to in the article, and I strongly suggest you read all of them too.

I think this is on the right track.

  1. /e/ is a fork of Android, already well established in mobile.
  2. They are including making their own private cloud services (mail, calendar, storage, maps, notes, etc.)  This is key, because they recognize that it does little good to make a secure OS and hardware if all the services you use are still tracking you.  That is not private.  By providing these services they can make a more seamless, one login, operation that mainstream users are accustomed too.  With cloud services it also makes you data available on your PC and other devices.
  3. They are developing their own app  store/repository (like Play) so that there will be a lot of free apps available.  I have a caution here: I expect Google will quietly maneuver to pressure Android app designers to make their apps exclusive on Google’s Play store and freeze out /e/.  But even so, there will likely be a lot of apps available.
  4. I have learned by my own experience, that for many things you don’t really need a smartphone app: I actually prefer Facebook and Twitter on my phone browser better than the apps.  Less chance to spy on you if you are not using the app.  But this makes the choice of default browser a key decision – it had better be good.
  5. They are making progress at a much faster pace than I anticipated. This is very good news.
  6. They fully intend to find an OEM, manufacture and sell new phones with this /e/ OS fully installed.  This is vital for mainstream adoption.

How does this compare to the efforts of the Linux camp for the Librem 5?

I like the Librem 5 approach to hardware.  I like Linux being adapted to smartphones.  There are two weaknesses that the Librem does not address:

  • Those cloud services we have been talking about.  You can have the most secure phone in the world but if you are still using Gmail, Calendar, Dropbox and Yahoo, than your data can be scanned and your privacy is compromised.
  • Very few apps.  The Librem will ship with bare bones apps (browser, email, messaging, calendar, notes).  You will be dependent on the browser for web apps.  Unless the Linux community jumps in and starts developing Linux phone apps quickly this will hinder mainstream adoption.  This could make or break the Librem.

That said, I want both the Librem 5 and /e/ to succeed.  Linux needs to get off their ass and get into the mobile OS market, plus, it would be great to have 2 choices in privacy smartphones. Friendly competition is good.

Source: Excursions.

This was also posted to
/en/privacy.

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via Epic Privacy Browser, a secure chromium-based web browser that protects your privacy and browsing history | a free VPN privacy browser

With Epic you are always in Private Browsing mode.  No history and it blocks tracking cookies.  The big thing that makes it different from other browsers with private browsing is that it has a free VPN so your ISP can’t track your browsing.  I like that.

I wouldn’t make it my daily browser because I like having history and login details, but if I was traveling or on an open wifi network I’d use Epic.

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We are down to just two operating systems for mobile phones (tablets too) Android and iOS.

Android is controlled by Google, no OEM phone maker that wants to do business globally will defy Google and try and fork it.  Android and a lot of the most popular apps tells Google everything it can about you and your every move.  In otherwords it leaks your privacy out like a sieve.

iOS is proprietary from Apple.  It’s a walled garden.  You do it Apple’s way or STFU.  It is probably more private than Android.  And it works.

That’s it. No other choices.

Long term the only other chances for a mobile OS come from Linux and here are the ones I’m aware of.

Sailfish – spun off from Nokia’s flirtation with Linux, this one does not seem to be gaining traction.  And it seems like the US is always being left out of release plans.  No OEM has adopted it. You can download it and try and install it on a couple of old model compatible phones.

KDE Plasma Mobile – it’s hard to tell how far along this Linux based OS is.  The screen shots are nice. (See notes for Librem 5 below.)

UBports Ubuntu Touch – This community effort seems to be making big strides.  When Ubuntu gave up on Ubuntu Mobile they turned it over to a volunteer community UBports who have been working away ever since.  It comes with a couple hundred apps and web apps, plus anything that the browser can handle.  If I were a phone OEM, I’d have my eye on this.  You can download this now and install it on several old model phones.  Some have an installation wizard.  (See notes for Librem 5 below.)

Puri.sm Librem 5 – this is actually a real phone hardware not just an OS.  The OS is Linux adapted to mobile.  The last I heard, the plan is that the Librem 5 will come with Purism’s mobile OS installed by default, but it will be fully compatible with UBports Touch and Plasma Mobile.  No word on how easy it will be to install any one of these.  Launch has been delayed from January 2019 to April 2019.  I’m hoping this is the point of the spear and proves very successful so that other OEM’s become interested in Linux phones.

Linux needs to get into mobile where all the growth is.  It can’t just stay on the desktop.  There may be others but these seem to be the furthest along.

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