Why self-host/use FLOSS?

NOTE (2023-07-22): my opinions on this subject are more nuanced these days than this article lets on. It’s due for a rewrite, and probably deserves to be split up into two separate articles. Until then, please take what’s written here with a grain of salt because it fails to acknowledge some of the pitfalls of open source. Not all open source software is created equally, and it’s important to always do your best to assess the quality of projects before using them.

People often don’t understand why I choose to be my own provider and use libre software.

Allow me to explain my reasoning/proselytize. Libre software has these benefits among others:

Contrast the above with the experience proprietary software offers:

Understand that my intent here isn’t to be negative, nor do I want to attack those that use proprietary software. It’s the companies that make said software that are to blame, not the users, and any honest account of these injustices is bound to be negative.

Instead, I’ve outlined the differences so I can drive this point home: those who run proprietary software are the product. I’ve experienced it firsthand and I’m certain that people deserve better.

This raises a question: if proprietary software enables developers to take advantage of those that run their software, how can the end user combat that?

A good way to regain freedom is to exchange software that violates privacy/user rights for software that respects these values. That is to say, LibreOffice instead of Microsoft Office, Jitsi instead of Zoom, Firefox or Tor Browser instead of a proprietary browser, and so on.

Bear in mind that this process doesn’t have to be all or nothing. Gradually replace things as comfortable and note the differences. If those differences are more positive than negative, embrace it.