Ade Malsasa Akbar contact
Senior author, Open Source enthusiast.
Sunday, February 9, 2020 at 21:48

I remember a quotation from GNU/Linux FAQ document published by Free Software Foundation "In that alternative world, there would be nothing today like the GNU/Linux system, and probably no free operating system at all" that is very inspiring for me. Because of this statement, I can easily find similar alternative movements around computing and software, especially for those related to user privacy. You will find here resources such as PRISM Break, PrivacyToolsIO, FSF Directory,, Fediverse.Party, and many more with my comments, plus additional links at the end. Here I want to collect the rest of resources I know up to today (Monday 9 February 2020) in one article so I can easily share with you and anybody on the internet. I wish this short article to be useful for everybody in the world. Enjoy!

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About This Article

Do you care about free software, internet decentralization, and privacy? Do you want to escape from and seeking alternatives to Google, Gmail, Facebook and Twitter, Youtube and Instagram, WhatsApp and Skype, and many more, either in software side or in service side? Do you want to know about internet federation? Do you know about Windows 10 serious problems with privacy and security (that cannot be fixed)? If so, you can start by reading resources such as websites mentioned below with short description from me. As an important reminder, when I mention free software here it is not meant gratis software but libre software which official definition you can read from the FSF.

/1/ PRISM Break

This community collaborated site appeared as a reaction to 2013's mass-surveillance privacy case to break through the so-called PRISM for everybody. This site is actually a table comparing proprietary services against free software privacy-oriented services. The table is divided to several sections for different operating systems. From PRISM Break we know SearX search engine as alternative to Google, Hubzilla as alternative to Facebook, KeePassX as password manager, and many many more. Up to today, PRISM Break is still my favorite website number one in privacy.

/2/ PrivacyToolsIO

This community collaborated site is similar to PRISM Break but with more colorful display and wider free software recommendations. You will find useful recommendations of secure & private operating systems, web browsers, browser add-ons, software utilities, search engines, federated social networks, VPN and email services, encryption systems, meaningful explanations & quotes, tips and tricks, warnings against several insecure OSes / applications / services, and finally further privacy resources. We will also see excellent explanation about The 14 Eyes there.

/3/ MyShadow

This site is also similar to PRISM Break and PrivacyToolsIO, but more dedicated to make us aware about our own online data being tracked by companies. It explains much more about Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon, and Microsoft (GAFAM) surveillance in comical way hence very easy to understand and then teaching us how to control and secure our own data in same amusing ways. More interestingly, it provides an animated analysis of GAFAM's & alike's terms of services so that we know they are dangerous for our privacy. Ultimately, it explains short but strong guidances about Security & Privacy. As 2019 ended, I noticed that this awesome site was not going updated anymore and I feel really saddened about that. Could anybody with capacity please continue this site?

/4/ Degooglify Internet

This is site by Framasoft, a free software enthusiast company from France, that inspired the particular de-google-ization movement we can find everywhere. Not only that, Framasoft is a leader behind world decentralization of internet services, as it develops PeerTube, the federated YouTube, released as free software and also a part of Degooglify Internet.

/5/ That One Privacy Site

This is a site by That One Privacy Guy that analyzes Emails and VPNs by comparing with tables which are easy to understand but still detailed and as objective as possible. For us, after reading the tables we will have good reasons to choose an alternative services we want. For email, we will find here providers such as ProtonMail, Tutanota, Disroot, among dozens others. For VPN, we will find here IVPN, TorVPN, Mullvad, among dozens others. We can sort out the table descending/ascending by every columns, and even more columns available if we choose detailed tables instead. We can even download the tables in LibreOffice Calc spreadsheet and CSV file formats. This site also provides a valuable long essays on choosing best VPN and email providers. And lastly we will get many valuable information in its FAQ section.

/4/ FSF Software Directory

From the organization I quoted at the initial paragraph, this is a curated list of tens of thousands free software around the world and still counting. Compared to alternative resources I mentioned here, this is the biggest one. We can find comparison tables similar to PRISM Break here, by two pages Collection:PRISM page and Collection:Privacy_pack; alternative search engines by Collection:Search_engine; alternative online services and federated social networks list like PrivacyToolsIO at Collection:SaaSS; alternative software list for GNU/Linux and Windows and macOS users; but all exclusively free software. And ultimately unlike any other movements, just like initial paragraph quoted, a High-Priority Free Software Projects.

/5/ Get GNU/Linux!

This is an excellent introduction to GNU/Linux for non-technical persons. It is the real simple beginner's guide to switch to an alternative that every other movement should follow. It is short but informative, ultimately friendly, a thing missing in many sites. It cites the original sources such as Free Software Definition and uses GNU/Linux naming style. It answers several trivial but important questions such as why it is secure, how about antivirus, and why not Microsoft Windows, which distro to choose, further steps in GNU/Linux computing, how to find friends after migrating, etc. It also provides a FAQ and a forum. For me, the most admirable thing about this site is the How To Misunderstand Free Software, that is a reversed understanding explanation to Free Software Definition, which cannot be found from any other site.

/6/ Compute Freely

This is a similar site to Get GNU/Linux! but even more simpler but emphasizes the distro choices. The maker of this site is an ethical designer so of course the site will have awesome design stuffs such as easy to navigate, consistent layout, shuffle distros, neat displaying of screenshots + description, and with a search box. From this site you will find popular GNU/Linux distros such as Ubuntu, Fedora, openSUSE, along with Trisquel, PureOS, GuixSD, categorized from beginner to advanced.

/6/ Dont Track Us

This is a site by DuckDuckGo Search Engine that explains the danger of Google online trackings in a very short and easy way to understand suitable even for non-techie persons.

/7/ Spread Privacy

This is also a site by DuckDuckGo but unlike DTU, this one focused on privacy tips for end users, however of course it's promoting the search engine. Just like its sister site, this one is also excellently easy to read, by useful articles such as why we should leave Google (and this one is good too), living without Google, choosing VPN service, what HTTPS is, incognito is not really private, and more. More or less, this site is similar to Choose To Encrypt website by Search Encrypt search engine.

/8/ Choose To Encrypt

This is informational site by Search Encrypt alternative search engine. It publishes important-to-privacy easy-to-understand articles like how search engines track us, what is a proxy, what is a firewall, what is private search engine, why people avoid Google and Facebook, and so on.

/9/ Switching.Software

This is a purely informative list of alternative software and online services that are ethical, easy to use and respecting your privacy. We will find here things like "Alternative to Gmail" or "Alternative to WhatsApp" and so on. We will find also really simple and nice explanations in every section, take example, when SwiSo explains Google alternatives, Mastodon/Friendica, LibreOffice, and All in One Alternatives. I admire its simplicity from the URL, site appearance, and it's strong dedication to non-technical user as stated in one page. Despite that, cleverly this site also provides special page for technically advanced people.

Switching.Social (inactive) (archived February 2019)

This is a list of alternative social networks which are ethical but unfortunately this is is no longer available. The about page explains everything as I quoted here " is a grassroots website that is trying to let people know about more ethical alternatives to websites and apps that are threatening people’s privacy [...]". This is the one inspiring Switching.Software to exist (fortunately!) as the contents and the concepts are all transferred there. I mention this here as a tribute to them and I want people to know this amazing site once existed.


A join group among alternative service hostings. Mainly, they are committed to free software and decentralized internet, and they provide alterntives to Gmail, Pastebin, GitHub, Facebook/Twitter, and so on we can sign up to. Some of their services are gratis and some others are paid. Here we will find Disroot^, Linux.Pizza, Synopta^, NixNet^, Activix^, Webarchitecs,, and more. Name I mention with ^ sign provide gratis email accounts with POP/IMAP features. They communicate in their own Discourse forum.

/11/ InfoSec Handbook

This is an informative site maintained by European security experts that explains internet security and privacy in very easy ways. We rarely see any security site that is as easy to read as this site. From this site we will find out a handy glossary of security and explanations to several among them shortly such as what is vulnerability and privacy. We find out also excellent explanations of GnuPG email encryption, End to End Encryption, even securing document with LibreOffice. Personally, I think their most valuable thing is their recommendation of security tools. InfoSec is active at alternative social media Mastodon.

/12/ Peers.Community

This is a join group that supports free software and free culture. It also presents two software freedom companies that sell RYF certified hardware, Minifree and Vikings. They communicates with its own technologies,, a discussion board similar to Reddit. They have clear objectives here. This site features an important page called Why? which listed reasonings in exclusively using free software and also many resources to alternative world. From this unique community we know things like Libreboot (a free BIOS alternative), Dragora (a 100% free alternative operating system) Notabug (GitHub alternative), GNU Social (federated social network), Mumble (VoIP alternative to Skype), Replicant, F-Droid (alternative to Google Play Store for Android), Libre Game Wiki (alternative free games), and so on. We also recognize that this community recommends us to read PRISM Break.

/13/ Fediverse.Party

This is our gate to alternative social network world. For us who want to leave GAFAM alike, this is what we are looking for. This alternative, which we call Federation or Fediverse, is a world of social networks that are interconnected. From this gate you will find out PeerTube (YouTube alternative), Mastodon and Pleroma (Twitter alternatives), PixelFed (Instagram alternative), diaspora* (Facebook alternative), among others, read the explanations with screenshots and how to create an account, and also see the population of every one of them.

/14/ The Federation

This site is a public monitor to watch out fediverse growth worldwide. This site is referenced by Fediverse.Party as statistics source.

/15/ Good Alternative Providers almost complete Google services replacement from alternative world which uses exclusively free software. similar to Framasoft, but they provide a gratis Gmail alternative which is built upon free software.

Linux.Pizza: service provider provided by one person and it's a part of mentioned above.

Pixie.Town: similar to Linux.Pizza, also a part of

TuxFamily - oldest longstanding free software services provider (email, hosting, mailing list, code repository) exclusively for free software projects. They host 3000 more projects since 1999. For example, Get GNU/Linux! mentioned above is hosted here.

Neocities: an alternative to Geocities, and in turn, Blogspot, as a gratis blog service provider. Your website will have address there. To me, the name is amusing and also intelligent, it reminds us to Neo Geo, arcade game platform of our past times.

Netlify: an alternative to GitHub Pages, a static-site service provider.

/16/ Self-Hosting

Self-hosting is when if you want to be your own Gmail or YouTube as you have infrastructure and are able to maintain it. The word self explains everything that you are not depend to somebody else's hosting. For that purpose, you will find extraordinary software project you can install and maintain yourself alone or with your friends such as:

Mail-in-a-box - build your own Gmail.

Nextcloud - build your own Google Drive.

Jitsi - build your own Skype VoIP system. You can create a gratis server instantly here.

Freedombox - imagine Google alternatives already installed in an OS and you can get that OS freely (and you can buy a computer preinstalled with it).

Interesting Projects

Tor, The Onion Router

Email Safe Defense

Internet Archive
(alias: Internet Wayback Machine)

Purism Librem 

Respects Your Fredom



Sourcehut and Codeberg


Historical Links

For everybody researching about privacy, you will eventually find out Edward Snowden anyway, as he recognized as the person that revealed the 2013 case so people know about mass surveillance and at the end made worldwide departure movements from GAFAM and alike. Do you know which document was revealed? It was revealed by two popular sites, The Guardian and The Washington Post, the two historical articles.

Important Links

Why privacy is more than crypto - to me, this is my ultimate starting point to privacy ethical world, as it explains new concepts such as decentralization, federation, metadata, xmpp, end-to-end-encryption, cryptography very well and easy to understand, and honestly this is the one drove me to Telegram, Signal, Kontalk, and F-Droid, and eventually to Mastodon an others. This article is extraordinarily awesome. A horrible thing not easy to forget to me is the statement "We kill people based on metadata" by NSA you can find quoted here --just to warn us how important privacy is. If you are starting to learn about privacy and security, I suggest you to read this first. Awesome Awesomes.

This article is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.