Ade Malsasa Akbar contact
Senior author, Open Source enthusiast.
Wednesday, April 15, 2020 at 14:21

This is a list of good alternatives to GAFAM online services in ways understandable by people without deep knowledge about computer. By "Gafam" I mean popular online services of Google, Facebook, and alike and by "Alternative World" I mean Free Software-based challenging services of SearX, Mastodon, PeerTube, and alike. You can find here the new term Fediverse is sided with Alternative World. I hope this short article helps everybody to try out our Alternative World. Enjoy!

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About This Article

What is GAFAM? It is a collective of Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon, and Microsoft and others alike. Included in Gafam popular online services like YouTube, Twitter, GitHub, Yahoo! Messenger, Zoom, and so on. They share similar attributes which are: the software behind service is Proprietary, the network model is centralized, and the user's privacy is subject to 2013 Global Surveillance. Gafam world wants to create life which is not controlled by the users but by Gafam instead.

What is Alternative World? It is a collective of alternative to Gafam led by Free Software Movement. Included in Alternative World popular online services like PeerTube, Mastodon, Riotim, Jitsi, and so on. More than that, Alternative World has things do not exist on Gafam world, mainly they are Fediverse and Open Standard. Alternative World things share similar attributes which are: the software behind service is Free, the network model is decentralized (but not always), and the user's privacy is strongly committed against 2013 Global Surveillance. Alternative World wants to create life which is fully controlled by the users not by Gafam.

What is this article? This article serves a purpose as a short and simple explanation which everybody especially people without deep knowledge about computing could understand quickly and try Alternative World easily. You can, however, read another resources which are very good like PrivacyToolsIO and PRISM-Break but they are lengthy and require deep experience in computing. I hope this article can serve as short version of them but with my own selections below. I do not follow strict rules as I prefer to prioritizes software freedom above other technical things. The wording "Alternative World" I use here is a continuation to the same wording from my previous article.

This article often uses name of software and name of service interchangeably so you are wished to distinguish between both. Read this article which solely written to explain that difference.

Google Search - SearX

Alternative which is Free as in freedom is SearX. See

Google Docs - Collabora 

Docs and Microsoft 365 are both Proprietary Software and SaaSS. The alternative is Collabora or also called LibreOffice Online. Nowadays, it is usually integrated into the free Nextcloud server software. See services of

Google Drive - Nextcloud

Successful, all-in-one, highly praised alternative is Nextcloud. See

Blogspot - WordPress

Blogspot is Proprietary Software-based service from Google. The alternative is WordPress (as software) and (as service). Go to

Yahoo! Messenger - Jabber

Everything about proprietary instant messaging like YM!, WhatsApp, LINE, or Skype has an alternative --which is strongly established since 20 years ago-- called Jabber. See

YouTube - PeerTube

YouTube alternative is PeerTube. See

Facebook - Fediverse

In the Alternative World, there is one thing does not exist on Gafam, it is Fediverse, a joint of different social networks which the users can talk to each others. They are: Identica, Friendica, Hubzilla, Diaspora, and Mastodon among others. The most popular at the moment is Mastodon. You can start leaving Facebook by testing it out. See
(This is Fediverse you can see at

Twitter - Mastodon

Successful alternative to Twitter is Mastodon. See

Instagram - Pixelfed

Alternative is Pixelfed. See

Zoom - Jitsi

Video conferencing technology but proprietary like Zoom, Skype, Team, or WhatsApp has alternative named Jitsi. Start conferencing instantly at

WhatsApp - Telegram

Instant messaging alternative is clearly Telegram. See

Discord - Mumble

For voice conferencing, the already worldwide popular one and not merely alternative anymore is Mumble. See

Pastebin - PrivateBin

PrivateBin is a clear alternative. See

GitHub - Alternatives

Alternative is GitLab. See

Gmail - Alternatives

Gmail is the most difficult thing to rival from Gafam world. How can one provide a service like Gmail which is gratis, imap/pop, 10GB+ storage, with advanced spam filtering, nice web view, and with autologin ability to other services? Because of that, only a few alternatives available which are not perfect but at least closer to Gmail compared to others, namely Disroot and Snopyta and ProtonMail at least. Other than that are paid or difficult to access for many.

Closed Standard - Open Standard

Open standard is like email. You Yahoo! user can always connect to me Gmail user which means no need to create Gmail account in order to email a Gmail user and vice versa. Closed standard is like most internet today, Twitter user cannot connect to Facebook user means need to create Facebook account in order to speak to Facebook user and vice versa.

In instant messaging, every Gafam has its own closed standard that means only the Gafam itself can serve a service removing outside party ability to serve same service. This creates LINE, Skype, WhatsApp, and Facebook Messenger. The open standard from Alternative World is Jabber (also called XMPP) which is established since 2 decades ago and still strong up to today.

(XMPP official website)

In social networking, every Gafam has its own closed standard so Facebook user cannot connect to user in Twitter and vice versa explained above which is called "walled gardens". The open standard from Alternative World is ActivityPub which is endorsed by World Wide Web Consortium and followed by most in the Fediverse and beyond.

More Await

All things I mentioned above are solely to simplify you in trying Alternative World out. There are many things out there waiting for you to use. For example, to replace WhatsApp you can consider Signal, Jami, or Riotim if you would love to. Another example, as an alternative to GitHub you can consider first link in Further Readings below. Also, there are collections of multiple alternative service providers namely and Chatons you will find very useful. I hope this article really helps you knowing and going to Alternative World together with your friends. See you in the next article!

Further Readings

This article is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.