As many of you are aware, I try to keep myself away from proprietary software. Most wouldn’t equate my principles to the likes of the revered Richard Stallman. Unfortunately, this endeavor and my needs are likely to be likened to someone more like Linus Torvalds where free software isn’t necessarily morally correct but rather it’s more convenient than proprietary software. So here it goes, the proprietary software and the reasons I use them
Spotify: This one was an app that I had eschewed for about a year but then like usual, I got tired of all the music I had, of hearing the same thing over and over again. Then I considered pirating more music and I found myself uncomfortable with that. Should I break the law, pirating music? Should I succumb to the strongholds that proprietary software has over me? I started to feel internally troubled by this conflict of, “it’s just copying digital bits” and “well the artist should still get paid something” and finally I decided the best alternative to pirating would be to use Spotify. At least this route leads to the possibility of the artist getting paid. If there was someone that I listened to that I wanted to make sure they would get paid some amount, I’d personally donate to them in some way like buying their album.
The convenience this app offers me is access to practically unlimited music, and the discoverability of new music. I get recommendations left right and center, and this is one of the few legal avenues available for music consumption at a low price.
Netflix: I need to relax sometimes. I need to turn off my brain sometimes. Again, this is a way to reduce my pirate footprint, along with Netflix having some quality originals. Yes it’s all laiden with DRM but it’s all part of the old white men being insecure about getting paid. Instead of letting the “meritocracy” take over, they try to take life into their own hands, clinging to what little youth they have left.
Social Media: When I started writing on this blog, I needed a way to branch out and increase discoverability to my blog. Almost all the mainstream platforms only use proprietary code. This is unfortunate but it’s the price I gotta pay to get people to know about my blog. I have a secondary goal with this blog to inform and inspire and the only way to reach the biggest audience is to use the proprietary apps that they’re using.
That being said, I don’t spend a lot of time on these apps aside from when I’m interacting with readers and posting content to keep the accounts fresh and to keep people attentive. I like to provide a source of entertainment and if this is what I have to do to do that, then so be it.
Fitness Trackers: The reason I say trackers in general is because I don’t always use the same one so to list them all would be redundant. The convenience that these offer me is being able to have a set-it-and-forget-it fitness tracking solution. I don’t have to fiddle for 20 minutes manually entering my fitness data and I’m able to use my GPS to map out my previous workouts like runs and biking adventures. What this also offers me is a way to access my data on my desktop by having this data “synced with the cloud.” While there are free software alternatives, none of them are as feature full, or are local only. I could set up a syncthing folder to have the data be transferred easily, or set up a server on one of my VPSs but both of those are more work than I’m willing to put in at the moment.
Speaking of effort, there’s one that I want to employ very soon. I don’t yet have the budget but I want to set up a small home server using a Lenovo Thinkcentre Tiny that will take care of a majority of my “cloud” needs. Between degooglization and general convenience, this server would supply the cloud file storage using nextcloud, a cloud-based office suite, home theatre streaming, But all this, is a post for another day.
Do you have any proposed alternatives for the software I’ve listed above (aside from Spotify)? What proprietary software do you use and why? Let me know in the comments below or feel free to reach out to me on Mastodon, Twitter or Facebook
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