A non-Amazon wish list, anyone?

I once thought I was making a neutral choice to shop at Amazon, and that their wish list was a nice convenience.

Just like I one thought Google was my friend, and signed up for their “free” email. I deeply regretted that and have now deeply deGoogled.

Nowadays I recognise a greedy mega-corp when I see one, with everything wrong that goes along with that, and so I shut down my wish list there and almost completely avoid shopping there.


More and more I find myself using the fediverse (based on ActivityPub) alongside Matrix, and the two protocols complement each other nicely in some ways. In other ways their differences seem needless and jarring, only getting in the way. I'd like to be able to offer my contacts the free choice of which protocol to use, depending on what kind of communication they intend (public-ish versus private or group-ish), without everything else being different — especially the user identifier/addressing but also many lesser issues such as the existence of user profiles.

I have long remained hopeful we'd get use profiles eventually. Conceptually it's not a big deal. So where are we now and where are we going?


A Mini Review

Tandoor is a self-hosted open source recipe manager. I have been running it in my YunoHost test server, in order to try it out, for about a year, collecting 21 recipes in it.

Basically I'm not satisfied with it, for my needs.

It's quite nice in some ways but terribly limited to one particular fussy attempt to organise a recipe in a particular way with steps, ingredients categorised by name and quantity, etc. There's no way to include recipes that don't fit this format. No way to include a web page (that doesn't import neatly into this very precise format) or a text document that I wrote or a PDF scan of a paper page. No way even to represent “fuzzy” ingredients like “some herbs of your choice” or “about 2 or 3 cloves of garlic”. Each ingredient has to have a number and a unit specified, and there are only hacky work-arounds like defining the word “some” as a custom unit. So I'm still running it for fun, for a small handful of recipes I imported (sometimes with awkward manual clean-up required) from web sites, while most of my recipes are still on scraps of paper or PDF scans or books or web sites that don't import.


Open tech, be afraid. Be very afraid. Microsoft owns both Visual Studio Code “VSCode” and MS-GitHub, two intertwined and utterly proprietary product-service ecosystems with a bit of open-source in their core to lure us in. Because they love open source? Yeah, no.

Soon after leaving GitPod whose technology links the two, Geoffrey Hunt last year explained their strategy and what it's doing to our open tech world, in a great and “harrowing” article, “Visual Studio Code is designed to fracture” https://ghuntley.com/fracture/

“The future of software development tooling that is being built is closed as ****, and people seem to be okay with it...”

This is why MS-GitHub is not our friend.

This is why falling for their trick, disguising MS-VSCode as a neat “free” editor, will come back and haunt and hurt us.

Vendor lock-in double-whammy. Using open source as “a financial weapon”.

”... the biggest challenge for Gitpod, GitLab, Datacoves, OpenBB, Foam, et al lies ahead – developing open language tooling for each community where Microsoft has forked the communities over to proprietary language servers...”

If we have a grain of public spirit, if we are motivated at all by the Freedom that's supposed to be afforded by Free-Libre Open-Source Software, we must #GiveUpGithub, we must recognise the trap, we must choose truly open #FreedomTech.

Related: – FOSS Apps Live in FOSS ForgesI Can't Wait for Forge FederationYour FOSS Project Deserves its Own DomainFOSS Apps Live in FOSS App Stores!

#awesomeFOSS #selfHosted #GiveUpGithub #DitchDiscord #forgeFed #forgeFederation #ForgeJo #Codeberg



I was just preparing a Merge Request to contribute upstream, when I noted,

You can review my merge request in the web UI at my TraxLab (gitlab) repo. Obviously you can't click the “Merge” button (until Forge Federation is done — there's an awesome project to check out).

It still grieves me that open source devs push me into working with Microsoft Github. Sure I understand the argument to use it “because it's convenient right now and 'everyone' is there” but to me there's a more important value I wish to uphold:

Millions of Free Software developers forgot why it matters to own their tools.

... says ForgeFriends.org, continuing ...



You know that feeling when they send you a PDF to sign? “Simply print, sign and scan!” Or the more sophisticated ones, “Sign it digitally in our partner's secure signing system!”

Well, thanks to this awesome open source SignaturePDF, created by 24eme.fr, now we can sign a PDF file digitally, in our own home network.


Where does your project live? Where do people find it? Who controls how people access your project's resources on the Internet?


Github the Mega-Mall

See also: Open Tech, Be Very Afraid

In practice, what do ninety-something percent of small FOSS projects do? They sign up on Microsoft Github. If we are one of these, then we feel our little project has a home on the Internet, its own address: https://github.com/our-name/our-repo. Oops, but did I say an address of its own? Well, there's the catch. I meant an address of Microsoft's own.

Github is a Gatekeeper. Every link to our project now takes the reader through a virtual gateway owned and ruled by Github's owner, Microsoft. The domain name is the gate, and its owner holds the key. Want to visit the source code? Before we reach our-name/our-repo we must walk through their gate at github.com. We must pass through whatever they put in the gateway. Ads? Nagging to sign up? Then they will let us visit the source code that we feel is “ours”.


Software is a process, and whoever controls it ultimately decides what the developers can do and how they communicate.

The elephant in the room is Microsoft. Open tech, be afraid. Be very afraid. Microsoft owns both VSCode and MS-GitHub, two intertwined and utterly proprietary product-service ecosystems with a bit of open-source in their core to lure us in.

Have the Freenode sell-out (2021) and the Twitter fiasco (2022) taught us nothing?

FOSS thrives in FOSS ecosystems.

In their “State of the Forge Federation” newsletter, ForgeFriends said it best:


Don't lock a FOSS Android app in Google's proprietary store!

Many of us are looking to FOSS solutions in order to keep our digital lives under our own control. We don't accept that any Big Tech company should hold the keys to a vast swathe of our digital life.


Bitwarden is a decent modern password manager. While it is available as a cheap hosted service like many other password managers, the awesome thing about Bitwarden is it is commercially developed as open source software that optionally can be self-hosted. The perfect combination. Hurray!