Living Open Source Lifestyle

It is no surprise that Open Source Software plays a significant impact on my life. I wouldn’t bee able to run my business let alone feed myself if it wasn’t for the existence of OSS. Contributing to the Open Source community doesn’t necessarily have to be in code, it can be by sharing software with everyone - which is what makes the OSS community special. In this article, I want to share Open Source things I use every day and things that I use that have Open Source alternatives.

1. WordPress

WordPress will always have a special place in my heart. If it wasn’t for WordPress, I wouldn’t not have been able to start freelancing over 6 years ago. There are endless reasons why I like WordPress, but mainly it comes down to ease of development and ease of use for clients. I’m writing this article on my WordPress site right now, and have no plans of moving from WordPress as my main content management system for the foreseeable future.

2. Linux

Lets face it, Linux is everywhere. From my smartphone to my web servers, Linux is the fabric that makes them all possible. In many ways, some of the marvels of our modern world simply wouldn’t exist if Linux wasn’t in the picture. I would consider myself a more avid Linux user than most of my peers, but I am by no means an expert. If you’re looking to get started, I highly recommend trying out a user-friendly desktop Linux OS like Ubuntu, Linux Mint, or ElementaryOS.  If you’re slightly more adventurous you could also get a Raspberry Pi.

Note: I do use a mac for most of my day-to-day work. At this point, since I use a lot of design programs (like Sketch and Photoshop) to build things for clients, it is necessary that I have my mac. In the future i’m looking into using Open Source Alternatives like GIMP and PDFs to read design files.

3. Nylas

Nylas is an open source email client that is based on Electron. I use Nylas because it is easy to use and it’s hackable. It is also a good example of a company that actually has a paid model for Open Source software. They have a free version that is good for most users but, effectively, you can run Nylas for free if you build and run the backend Nylas API (which handles a lot of the nifty functionality that it has) on your own servers, but if you want to use premium features on their servers you have to pay.

4. Vim/Atom (Text Editors)

As a programmer, I write code and it’s important to have the right tools when coding. For a long time, I was a habitual user of Sublime Text. While Sublime is an amazing tool that made my life much easier for many years, it is closed source. When Atom was first announced, making the switch was a no brainer. Atom has (virtually) all of the features of Sublime but was written on top of Google Chrome (which became Electron) and is infinitely tweakable with HTML, CSS and JavaScript. In recent years, I have since moved to Vim.

5. GitLab

6. Slack => Mattermost

One of the closed source pieces of software that I rely on the most is Slack. Slack is the primary way that I communicate with my team and other communities that i’m involved in. Unfortunately, Slack is closed source. An Open Source alternative that i’ve been looking into is Mattermost. I really like what Mattermost is doing, and i’m close to making the switch for internal communications.