Friday, January 23, 2015

Free (as in freedom) software

One of my goals for 2015 is to move completely away from proprietary software, and use free (as in freedom) software instead. If you've not come across this before, Richard Stallman explains it better than I ever could.

It's turning out to be a bit more complex than expected, but that complexity is, in itself, reinforcing my resolve to do it - because its the deliberately defective design of proprietary software that is at fault. For example, I'm trying to move to a free email client - away from Outlook and Apple Mail, and towards Thunderbird. But getting my 14 years of email archives out of these programs and into an open format is not easy. Outlook for Mac is the worst case - it will only export in an .OLM format, which basically nothing else reads.  It claims to export to MBOX format, but this does not work reliably. Similar problem with Apple Mail - claims to export to MBOX but only actually exports a seemingly random sample of large archives. I'm now in the process of uploading my mail archives to my mail provider, so I can then download them into Thunderbird. Argh! I never want to have to go through this again, and avoiding proprietary software seems to be the best hope in that regard.

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