Should I be using open source software exclusively?

Long story short…I come from iOS but switched to Android for the benefits of using a more open and free platform i.e (I can use 3rd party app stores, even use an open-source OS, and change default apps on android - for which you are not “allowed” to even think about on iOS.)

But now being with Google (they own android) for many years now - they make you the product in exchange for your data.

It is more convenient for me to stay on Google’s platform but what are yall doing? SAre you okay with giving up all your privacy to Google? If so why? Or why not?

It would seem to me that Apple is not or cannot --in this day and age-- be the best platform due to its closed-ness and lack of innovation, extreme prices, etc. So I am asking, should I stay with Google or use open-source apps and software exclusively? Or if you are an Apple user, do you use Google? If so, why? If you are using Apple, doesn’t make more sense to stay on their platform (safari, pages, imessage, etc.)

I am currently using Firefox as my browser and have switched to using all open source apps but still using Gmail and Drive. What is the best practice here?

There isn’t one, its your own personal choice based on your own personal values regarding your own privacy , and your own data.

There is a price to convenience, along with the obvious advantages of using a “mix” of services from different companies/open source.

Google is an industry leader in a number of areas, such as search, along with providing Google Drive and Gmail which are excellent products that integrate well. However, the “price” is you must have a Google account, which directly ties into these 2 platforms, and will use them together to do what you said, “make you the product”, where Google will take these data points and use them for marketing/advertisements, or potentially future endeavors through integrations. IE if you already have a Gmail account, its easier to use YouTube, which can show you further advertisements etc.

On the flip side, Google’s hardware division hasn’t had the same track record as Apple. This is especially true for development, where MacBook Pros are mainstays. Chromebooks are awesome, but developing on them is very niche.

There is also the question of if open source is actually much better in regards to “getting away from Google”. Android is open sourced, but its development is lead by Google. Chrome is open sourced (as chromium), but Google Chrome is still the primary flavor out there built upon it (Edge is another). The web is built on “Google Tech”, or at least influenced directly or indirectly by Google, and other big tech companies.

If your concerned with your own privacy, there are plenty of steps that can be taken. However, each step to anonymize yourself is also a price paid against convenience against these companies. How far you want to go is your own choice.

I personally have sold my soul bought into the Google ecosystem vastly more than most people. I have a number of Google technologies, where the list of “what I don’t have” is shorter than what I do have. I have a Google Phone/laptop/smart-home/subscriptions/etc.

I made a decision a while back that my own privacy isn’t worth as much as the potential savings and convenience as just fulling buying into the evil schemes full ecosystem. I personally picked Google, as not only do I work with one of their growing products (Google Cloud Platform), but I personally believe Chromebooks would grow, and become a driving force behind the future of work, and the web in general. This ended up being true faster than I expected, due to the pandemic.

I used to use Linux, Firefox, Atom and open source technologies as much as I could. However, the “price” I paid was more against stability, features, and overall just lack of a “drive” behind all of these technologies moving forward.

Linux is open source, but has stability issues where I’d have to manage issues myself, find fixes myself, and just manage more to keep a stable system. I got fed up and use a Chromebook for day to day use, and Windows for development work for simplicity alone. I still use Linux from time to time, for hard development however.

I stopped using Firefox due to their decision to walk away from desktop PWA support, along with lacking a few key features, and unavailability on Chromebooks.

I stopped using Atom because another open sourced editor came into the scene and worked better in every way, VSCode. It itself has some features directly tied to github+Microsoft that makes it worth to “stick with their ecosystem” rather than use a spinoff variant, or the pure open source alternative.

Ultimately the price I “pay” with Google is literal as well as figurative. I pay for their products, and services directly.


I want to point out the actual moment I decided to “sell out” to these companies and more or less give up large elements of my privacy. I had to do it to get a job as a developer. Simply put, getting hired is hard enough, being impossible to find online doesn’t exactly help. Your welcome to try to hold onto your privacy, but there are scenarios where keeping your privacy becomes too much of a negative.

If your creating a portfolio with intimate details about your background and knowledge and personally throwing it out there, whats using Chrome over Firefox, or letting Google know I want tacos.

Just remember, the choice is ultimately up to you :slight_smile:

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Thank you for that thoughtful reply. I agree with a lot of what you say. But I find it incredibly tough to swallow the fact that Google is essentially a monopoly over the world in software tech. Firefox cannot financially exist without them and every 3rd party option is also based on Chromium including Brave and Edge. You’re also right about Chromebooks. Google really pushed those in schools around the world and now those same kids that are growing up will continue to use Chromebooks in the real world to get stuff done. It was a smart marketing decision by Google.

I just worry about the lack of care or indifference when it comes to privacy.

The whole open-source philosophy is also worth looking into and I think goes hand in hand with the philosophy of the American Constitution when it comes to rights and privacy.