“Welcome to this introduction to Conversations. It is gonna be a great introduction. It’s gonna be fabulous. Other instant messengers have fought Conversations for many years, but they couldn’t beat it. Just couldn’t do it. Total loosers. They’re all dead now. All the other messengers have failed. Forget WhatsApp, okay? Signal …total disaster. Threema is so bad, it’s not even a real messenger. It’s fake. Threema is a fake messenger. Converstations has got to be the best messenger in the world. It’s huge. OMEMO. You’ll love it. Best protocol. Tremendous. Absolutely fantastic. Nobody has messengers better than Conversations. This messenger is so big, you can even see it from the moon. And I am going to make you pay for it. It’s true. Important people tell me that Conversations is so great, it’s unbelievable. So great, it’s beautiful. Conversations is the best instant messenger that God ever created.”
K-9 for Android is one of the best email clients available on any platform today. This open source application implements support for many different protocols and comes with a host of useful features.
“We need to remember that we’re fighting not only against government surveillance, but also against corporate surveillance as well. We need ways to defend against this, and using corporate solutions that create a dependency on these solutions, even if the communications themselves are not readable to them, there’s still the issue of metadata, and of course general availability of Google’s services to Signal.” Sander Venema disagrees on strategy, not cryptography.
“And one way to fight back is through Open Source. To make sure that the systems we use are trustworthy and can be verified and can be veryfied by anybody [sic]. Relying on Open Source to bring us privacy and trustworthy security is a crucial point for our future on the Internet. The Utopia is gone, it’s not coming back. But we can do what we can to maintain as much trust on the Internet as possible. And openess is key to trust. Without openess there is no trust—without trust there is no democracy.”
“While all three apps use the same secure-messaging protocol, they differ on exactly what information is encrypted, what metadata is collected, and what, precisely, is stored in the cloud—and therefore available, in theory at least, to government snoops and wily hackers.” Bottom line: Micah Lee recommends that you use Signal by Open Whisper Systems whenever you can.
In response to Voice of the Masses
My favourite Desktop is Unity because it is not MATE. This has been bugging me for quite some time.
Like almost everyone else on the planet, I was unhappy when in 2011 Canonical declared Unity Ubuntu’s new default desktop. After years of using GNOME 2, I just thought that Unity felt a bit awkward. But I stuck with it, mainly for a perceived lack of alternatives and my wish to avoid PPAs if at all possible.
Fast-forward a few years and, thanks to the excellent Martin Wimpress, I hear of MATE Desktop Environment almost every other podcast I listen to. With the release of Ubuntu 15.10, MATE is finally elevated to official flavour status and I was sure to be making the switch away from Unity.
I ended up using MATE for about one day before going back to Unity. It was quite an uncomfortable thing to have to admit, but there was a problem: After years of using Unity, I just thought that MATE felt a bit awkward…
“I am regularly impressed with the thought and care put into both the security and the usability of this app. It’s my first choice for an encrypted conversation.”
Signal offers private messaging and calling in one simple app. It is both free and open source. Development is supported by community donations and grants. This means that there are no hidden strings attached. Use Signal as an alternative to WhatsApp or, better still, its replacement.
“OpenKeychain helps you communicate more privately and securely. It uses high-quality modern encryption to ensure that your messages can be read only by the people you send them to, others can send you messages that only you can read, and these messages can be digitally signed so the people getting them are sure who sent them.”
“This program allows you to run an ftp server on your android device. This means that any program can access the files on your device while the ftp server is running.”
“And whoever tells you that they have nothing to hide simply haven’t thought about this long enough. ‘Cause we have this thing called privacy. And if you really think that you have nothing to hide, please make sure that’s the first thing you tell me because then I know, that I should not trust you with any secrets because obviously, you can’t keep a secret [sic]”
“The other aspect of it is the changing the world part. Directly, it’s put computers into places that could never afford proprietary licensing. Indirectly, it forms part of the first wave of the whole reclamation of culture and production by the people.” Alan Cox talks to Jennifer Cloer.
“Fast, smart and safe, the official Firefox for Android browser from Mozilla offers more ways than ever to make your mobile browsing experience uniquely yours.”
“You use Linux everyday, whether you know it or not…”
The Linux Foundation
“Ubuntu could have stayed relevant if Canonical hadn’t tossed aside its user base to pursue Unity and tablets.” Barbara Hudson shares her doubts about Canonical’s apparent strategy for Ubuntu.
OpenOffice.org is a free, multi-platform office suite. It includes key desktop applications, such as a word processor, spreadsheet, presentation manager, drawing program, and database module. OpenOffice.org is an Open Source project and available on all major platforms, including Linux, Mac OS X and Windows. At present, you can choose from more than 100 different language options.
OpenOffice.org avoids the risk of vendor lock-in because it uses a standardised, XML-based file format that makes interoperability easy and your documents future-proof.
OpenOffice.org is compatible with Microsoft Office. The latest version imports .docx files and continues to be able to read and write all the other Office formats.
“OpenOffice.org is released under the LGPL licence. This means you may use it for any purpose—domestic, commercial, educational, public administration. You may install it on as many computers as you like. You may make copies and give them away to family, friends, students, employees—anyone you like.”
Submitting Bug Reports
“Simple end users are really critical in the process of making the code better. It’s important for end users to understand how important they are in the process.” OpenOffice.org developer Florian Reuter discusses some of the issues and explains how you can take part.
“This is an overview of software support for the OpenDocument format, an open document file format for saving and exchanging editable office documents.”
“This is a quick introduction to some of the new features in OpenOffice.org 3.1.”
“As a lifelong Windows user, system builder, ex-gamer, and performance freak, I’m not drinking anyone’s Kool-Aid. I just want the most amount of control over my system as possible, and at this point in time, Ubuntu is the best follow-up to Windows XP.” Adam Overa walks the Windows user through the Ubuntu installation process from downloading the CD image to finding help online.
“The latest version of the open-source office suite OpenOffice.org 3.1 has just arrived, and it’s a good one. While some of the improvements are visible to the naked eye, I found that the most important changes were hidden under the hood.” Steven J Vaughan-Nichols takes the latest OpenOffice.org release for a spin.
“Many people discover LaTeX after years of struggling with wordprocessors and desktop publishing systems, and are amazed to find that TeX has been around for over 25 years and they hadn’t heard of it.”
LaTeX is a free document preparation system that enables you to create beautifully typeset pages. It implements a set of commands designed to control TeX, the typesetting engine developed by Donald E Knuth. LaTeX stores the information about your documents as plain text, thus avoiding the risk of vendor lock-in and ensuring that your documents will still be editable twenty years from now. LaTeX processes the plain text data and, with pdfTeX working in the background, generates PDF output of the highest typographic quality—perfect for viewing on-screen or printing on paper. LaTeX runs on many platforms and is included as standard with most Linux distributions. Ready-to-run LaTeX systems are also available for Windows and Mac OS X.