Sunday, November 3, 2013

Moving Away from Google's Proprietary Ways

by Dietrich Schmitz

As a result of drawing a line with GoogleI've spent considerable time considering a range of options to avail myself to in replacing Google services

As for Blogger, I intend to use Wordpress and will convert my Linuxadvocates website soon and am hoping to have some of Kev Quirk's guidance on tap as I move forward.

As for my browser, I've turned to looking at Chromium.


Because The Chromium Projects is fully open source and not proprietary, unlike Google Chrome. The two are quite different beasts. In fact, I am using Chromium right now and it is working nicely as many of my colleague Friends have reported. That word 'proprietary' will mean more to you below when you continue your reading of this piece of verbosity.

So, I've also shifted from Lubuntu 13.10 to Linux Mint 15 "Olivia" Xfce Edition.  That's Mint below for those of you interested in making the 'leap' from Windows to Linux who may be wondering just how difficult the transition may be.

Linux Mint 15 "Olivia" Xfce Edition - My Desktop

If you are new to Linux, you may think of the graphical user interface (gui) as being 'loosely coupled'. Linux doesn't care if you have one or not. In fact, linux web servers are set up without one in command line 'headless' fashion. But, as far as choices go, the move to Mint Linux is a safe bet. You see, they are #1 on for a reason. It's that good. I call it Ubuntu +1.

The choice of guis was easy for me. Xfce. It's still a lightweight gui, like Lubuntu's LXDE, but it is really more feature complete. There are trade-offs for using LXDE which for me are taken in stride but for a newcomer, Xfce will make any Windows user feel quite at home. There is little to do after installation. Just boot and use.

Here's some background information on Xfce:

Many newcomers will find the naming of things in the Linux world funny, but that's open source for you. It is rather benign but much of it will make sense as you become accustomed to the "Linux Way" of doing things.

The "Linux Way" of doing things incorporates many concepts but there is none more important in light of the Snowden revelation than open source 'Transparency'. This is a good place for you to stop and read a link on the topic to frame in your mind this abstract but yet so vital concept:

It's basically this. Proprietary = Exploitation. That's how I see it.
And at growing levels I see Google's expansion in the name of profitability colliding with their "Do No Evil" mantra that so many of us, including myself, believed in.

So, on principle, I am looking to non-Google solutions to continue using the Internet.

I find using Chromium safe and acceptable by virtue of the pure open source footing on which it is developed. That will assure transparency going forward as with Mozilla's Firefox.

As for the array of Google services like Drive, Gmail, etc.?

I don't need them. I am looking at Kim Dot Com's Mega for its Zero Knowledge Encrypted free 50MB space support and also their upcoming encrypted end-to-end email. Phil Zimmerman, the Founder of Silent Circle and Lavabit's Ladar Levison are forming Dark Mail Alliance.

Those are my two target email solutions going forward.

That should do it for now.  -- Dietrich
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