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    While not removing YouTube, you could point out that all YouTube channels actually come with RSS feeds. As far as maintaining subscriptions, you can effectively do this and have a logged-in YouTube experience without needing an actual account :)

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      That’s nice to know, how can you access it?

      If you combine this with youtube-dl, you get an ad-free, tracking-free experience without ever having to open up a web browser!

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        Also MPV is very good at streaming youtube videos.

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          put this feed into your rss reader: https://www.youtube.com/feeds/videos.xml?channel_id=$channel_id

          There’s also a special URL that works with pubsubhubbub/websub: "https://www.youtube.com/xml/feeds/videos.xml?channel_id=$channel_id" (websub endpoint is https://pubsubhubbub.appspot.com/subscribe).

          if you replace the string videos with playlist, these URLs also let you “subscribe” to playlists, IIRC.

          Also note that the websub feed will also push updates to existing entries (e.g. updated description/title/thumbnail) to you. i’m filtering these by <updated> - <published> <= 60 seconds, which seems to work OK.

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            If you use Android, you can try NewPipe, an open source frontend for Youtube, with more features (you can download videos, subscribe to channels’ feed rss and more).

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              I really with NewPipe was available for iOS. 😞

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            That’s a great point, I’ll add that to the article. I’ve actually done that in the past, but I always like to see what the YT algorithm has come with on the home page too.

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            Youtube -> Peertube

            This all depends on how you define ‘using’ Youtube. If by ‘using’ you mean ‘watching content distributed through’ you’re bound to whatever channel the publisher uses, Youtube included. If you mean ‘distributing content’ it is fairly easy to get away from Youtube by just not using it. Use Peertube or a similar platform instead. The more people go this way, the more viable these platforms become.

            Android -> Android without the Google bits

            Going from a stock Android to the Apple world just means submitting to another master. Android can be used without Google-specific bits, I’ve been doing this for close to a decade now and have never felt the need to succumb to the lures of Google. I can do way more with my devices running AOSP-derived distributions than those around me who still insist on submitting to the whims of Apple. On top of that I get to pay less than a quarter for what I consider to be superior performance, there is far more choice, the devices can be repurposed due to the flexibility of the software, there is no risk of the thing suddenly refusing to work because of an update which checks whether I have used third-party parts to repair the thing, etc. Frankly I find it baffling that so many people just blindly walk into this type of bondage.

            Gmail -> self-hosted mail

            I’ve hosted my own mail server for 24 years and see no reason to stop doing so. In that time I went from Sendmail to Exim, from spam not being anything worth mentioning to spam not being a problem due to the well-functioning filtering (graylistd, spamassassin, some specific user/domain related blacklists) and my practice of using recipient-specific addresses for commercial and institutional correspondence. I might see one piece of spam per week in my inbox which I move to the ‘SPAM-it’ folder from where sa-trainer picks it up to train the filter. Hosting my own mail means nobody gets to run their harvesters over this treasure trove of information, it means I can do interesting things with sieve etc. It also means I can move from one ISP to the other, from one country to the other without the risk of losing my mail address.

            Google search -> Searx

            This is a no-brainer, just run a Searx instance and point it at whatever sources you deem worthy. If you don’t want to run your own instance there are plenty of publicly accessible Searx instances to choose from.

            Google Drive -> Nextcloud or Owncloud

            Another no-brainer for me, I have my own server with my own storage with my own content on my own domain so I see no reason to involve any third party here. The same server runs mail, web, search, media, telephony, etc. One server to rule them all and in the closet-under-the-stairs bind them.

            Google Maps -> ~OsmAnd (open street maps)

            As to whether OsmAnd can be used to replace Google Maps depends on where you live since Open Street Maps has a varying level of coverage and accuracy for different regions. For me here in Sweden it generally works fine. For those few occasions it doesn’t I can always fall back on a web-based version of some mapping service - Google or otherwise - running in a private tab.

            Android Pay -> [nothing]

            I don’t use mobile devices for financial transactions, I prefer to pay with cash or cards. The harder the push for electronic-only payment, the more reticent I become in using it. Cash has no memory.

            I never had a Chromebook since I never saw it as a viable platform - why buy a device which is tied so intimately to a single vendor when I can just run a browser on any device I want and point it anywhere I want to? I’ve been using Linux since the days of SLS so I’ve become rather fond of my freedom, thank you…

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              Youtube -> peertube is fine unless you make money from your content, in which case it’s a non-starter.

              Quite a bit of the rest involves spending more recreational time on system administration than I’m keen on (and I say this as someone with a freebsd box, an ubuntu box, a windows box, a mac, a custom DHCP setup, and a bunch of VMs running things).

              so I’ve become rather fond of my freedom

              I retain, at all times, the freedom to go and set this stuff up. I’m always free to use a free software stack. To me, that’s the important freedom - I don’t have to exercise it in everything I do to keep it.

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                To be frank the PeerTube suggestion is ridiculous. Even if you don’t care about making money and just want people to watch your vids, it’s not a good option. YouTube is too deeply entrenched.

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                  Well, I use it, it works, video gets distributed to those who want to see video and now that I added the capability to stream audio-only versions it can be used to stream lectures to bandwidth-starved mobile devices as well. If your definition of “ridiculous” equates to “is not Youtube” you’re right but fortunately most other people don’t think in this way, just like “not Windows” was not a good reason to shun Linux, “not IBM” did not stand in the way of Amdahl, “not UNIX” never stopped GNU and “not a typewriter” did not thwart WordStar.

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                    Take a look at the video in this article:


                    Personally, I was thoroughly surprised how well it works and integrates in HTML, I had no idea PeerTube is so advanced. With that, I see no reason to claim “it’s not a good option”.

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                      It ain’t 2009 no more, desktop isn’t the dominant platform for watching internet vids. There are tons of other platforms which unfortunately are all walled gardens and do not have a great web browser experience. But they have a YouTube app though (sometimes preinstalled!)

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                        Peertube support is starting to show up in apps for those platforms as well, e.g. Newpipe [1] now supports Peertube (plus a few other media platforms).

                        [1] https://newpipe.schabi.org/

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                    Quite a bit of the rest involves spending more recreational time on system administration than I’m keen on

                    Mail takes about 4-8 hour per year in administration time. AOSP-derived Android with OTA updates (e.g. Lineage) only takes a little time on first install, I have this running on several devices. Nexcloud takes a few minutes for each update, use the stable update channel and you won’t see many of those. Searx mostly just works but sometimes one of the ‘engines’ (which form the interface between the Searx instance and the different search engines used to retrieve results) stops returning results in which case an update generally appears within a few days. All in all I probably spend about a week per year in keeping things running and adding new bits here and there, some years more, some less. Many things which used to require intervention are now automated, e.g. certificate requests and renewals are now handled by a central Letsencrypt client which distributes the resulting certificates to the different servers (i.e. containers running in Proxmox on a DL380G7).

                    I retain, at all times, the freedom to go and set this stuff up

                    You do… but you’ll be at a disadvantage having invested so much time and money in closed systems. You’ll have to extract your data from those closed services in some way, you’ll have to make sure you unsubscribe from Apple’s iMessage before leaving the Apple ship or they’ll hold your phone number hostage wrt. SMS/MMS, you’ll have to communicate a new email address to all your contacts, you’ll have to find alternatives to any proprietary Apple things which you’ve invested yourself in, etc.

                    So, to each his own. I value my freedom enough to justify spending a few days per year in keeping things running for me and my extended family. I also like the fact that this approach makes it possible to greatly extend the usable life time of many types of hardware, from the 15 year old Thinkpad T42p I’m using to type this message to the 9 year old Motorola Defy I use when I’m doing ‘rough’ work on the farm or in the forest, another similar device is in use as a wireless trailer camera, another one runs MPD in a custom made 25kg solar-powered boom box I use when building but also to play music at my daughter’s school class parties, etc. To paraphrase Pratchett: “Nae king! Nae quin! Nae laird! Nae master! We willnae be fooled again!” - no matter whether that ‘laird’ or ‘master’ be called Google or Apple or what have you.

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                      on the farm or in the forest

                      That’s enough to explain it for me. I’d insist on far more self-sufficiency if I were living outside the city (as it is, I’m ‘all in’ on the tightly-woven mesh of interdependence that is high-density living).

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                        Mind you, this farm at the forest edge has a gigabit fibre connection, things are not always like they seem in the Swedish countryside.

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                          Oh sure. It’s a cultural difference as much as a practical one, I suspect.

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                      I retain, at all times, the freedom to go and set this stuff up.

                      You currently have this freedom. You may not, in the future. Look at what’s coming down the pipeline with services like Stadia.

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                        Possibly not a great example. Google can’t seem to make anyone want the damn thing no matter how much money they throw at it.

                        Game developers aren’t touching it with a long stick, consumers aren’t buying it. Even average punters understand there’s a limit.

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                      As to whether OsmAnd can be used to replace Google Maps depends on where you live since Open Street Maps has a varying level of coverage and accuracy for different regions

                      Note that this cuts both ways. In Cambridge, OSM has much better coverage than Google Maps, because the university ditched its own mapping system in favour of a custom renderer for OSM and now invests a bit in keeping the maps up to date in and around university and college buildings. I’ve been to quite a few places where OSM has had much better data than Google Maps. It took Google two years after my house was built to notice that the road it was on existed: it was on OSM during construction.

                      I’m also a fan of OsmAnd. If you’re on Android, the version from F-Droid doesn’t require you to pay for maps. On iOS you can build it yourself, but it’s quite a painful experience. I’ve donated more to them than the cost of the app and so I don’t feel guilty about not paying them for the app and giving Google a 30% cut…

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                        I find your discipline impressive. Congratulations.

                        On my sides, I have to say that I had a comeback to Google Tools due to some work requirements (mobile, colleagues in the Google ecosystem) and convenience. Hard to escape that sometimes.

                        When it comes to notes, I am still on org-mode, but have a secondary system with Joplin (E2E is ok I think) based on Dropbox.

                        1.) Cloud, Software

                        I think Google’s package is very convenient here, and I think this is the most easy grab.

                        2.) Gmail

                        The integration of Gmail between web and mobile clients,and the usability, is hard to beat. So far, I was not lucky enough to find a good email client. K9-Mail is good, but the UI does come close to Gmail.

                        Also, running an Email server seems to me a daunting task. While there is many a free software around, so far I have been a bit scared by doing this work. Also, how hard is it to get a proper rating from other email servers?

                        3.) Google Maps

                        Tough one. Although it another great ad vector from Google et al.

                        4.) Android

                        What would you recommend to be the best way of action when it comes to installing a ‘more libre’ Android version on my Android phone? I am still running my good old Samsung Note 3, and I was considering doing this - however, I am not sure whether I can trust those custom ROMs either.


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                          If Google works for you, fine, go for it. I have always had a thing about keeping ‘my’ things to myself without having to rely on third parties (other than those which can not be avoided, e.g. that server needs to be connected to the internet which requires an IAP which is a third party…) so I have my own reasons for going all out.

                          Getting an Android derivative on your device is generally not that hard. If you’re just in it for getting a Google-free experience I’d use a well-established distribution like Lineage [1] which is available for your device, install it and live happily ever after. I’ve got a few Samsung devices around here (Tab 3, SIII Neo and a J3) running different versions of Lineage, they ‘just work’. You can either install the Google apps (‘gapps’) on it to get access to the play store, Google Services Framework and other Google-specific bits, choose to install ‘fake gapps’ to get access to things like GCM (used for push notifications etc) and run a number of GSF-dependent apps without having to install GSF or just forego on anything and all Google. Given that you’re using Google ‘cloud’ I’d say you’re best off using Lineage + gapps, the result will be a ‘clean’ Android experience with the normal Google apps, including OTA updates.

                          [1] https://download.lineageos.org/

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                          Distributed sites like Peertube are not an alternative to YouTube IMO. They don’t have the 99% of the same channels/content on there, so someone can’t replace YouTube with those services. Also, when I’ve tried to use them, the performance has been atrocious.

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                          I first started De-Googling my life back in September 2019. It’s now been nearly 2.5 years

                          I think you mean 2017?

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                            Fixed, thanks.

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                            The fact of the matter is, there is no replacement for YouTube. Unfortunately I’m still a regular YouTube user.

                            I don’t know if this counts as a real YouTube replacement, but watching YT videos thru https://invidio.us has fewer privacy issues.

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                              A number of the YouTube producers I follow have started also posting to lbry.tv, so it is possible to give GOOG at least one or two fewer clicks a week! EEVBlog and Veritasium, to name a few of the bigger ones.

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                                I’ve yet to find any streamers I watch be interested in LBRY. The uphill battle they’ve gotta solve is monetization.

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                              And instead of Go try Nim.

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                                I phased out Google products starting around 2015. Most were pretty easy, YouTube and Gmail were not, so I’m still using them. Dropping Gmail would be too painful at this point. Best I can do is promote alternatives to future generations.

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                                  Gmail can forward emails to your provider of choice, which you can put under your own domain. You can switch over gradually once you do that.

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                                    That’s what I did, once you have the forward it doesn’t matter if the migration takes years.

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                                      I’m about 8 years into the forward.

                                      My (highly technical) parents are the only ones who still use the wrong address. I asked them about it, and they said it was because they have both one linked to my contact and sometimes their client autocompletes the old one without them noticing.

                                      They can’t unlink the old address from the contact without breaking search, and there’s no supported standard to mark an address as old/unused.

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                                        I have the same problem with some friends and family. Thinking about setting up an auto-reply message with a notice that the email address is no longer in use.

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                                    What’s your difficulty with gmail? I have it on my todo list to switch away from gmail in the future but I wasn’t anticipating much work beyond:

                                    1. switching my email on every single account I own (difficult)
                                    2. getting everybody who knows my gmail to switch to the new one (difficult-to-impossible)

                                    Mail forwarding would help with #2.

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                                      #2 is the challenge. I would need many people to use the new address. Maybe I should just suck it up and do it though.

                                      Mail forwarding doesn’t really help though. I need OTHERS to use the new address otherwise its still going through Google.

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                                        If you do it today, in 5 years time you will have basically no real mail coming through your gmail account.

                                        I trust google to still be running gmail in 5 years, but not in 15 years.

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                                    For a youtube alternative, there’s nebula; it’s great for the non-musical youtube stuff, although it doesn’t have everything youtube does.

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                                      Do you have a solution for shared document editing (i.e. shared Google Docs, Sheets), or is that not something you use?

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                                        Libreoffice online/Collabora on Nextcloud works for me here.

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                                          It’s not something I really use. However, there’s an office suite for Synology which is really good, also Zoho have a free office suite too, which rivals GDocs.

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                                          Dear god awstats is still a contender in the analytics space?

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                                            Hey, it works, so yeah. 😊

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                                              I’ve been using goaccess.io for a while. Also a log analyzer. It’s pretty nice.

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                                              Absolutely, I’m also using it. It’s the simplest solution to install (every OS has a package) and it only needs to be able to parse logs, so no JS or any “integration” you have to set up.

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                                                Exactly! I don’t need trends or tracking, or any of that other BS. I just need to know how many hits I’m getting, what’s popular and what’s not.

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                                                  I understand why awstats fits the bill, i used to use it heavily in my first job many moons ago. I’m just astonished that a better solution fitting the same criteria hasn’t emerged in the last 20 years.