The internet as we know it is a “free” service. I mean this in the way that it is free of charge. However, we probably all know that nothing is life is offered for free. The price you pay for these services is your data.

Perhaps this okay with you. In that case, you should continue to use these services. But personally, I value my privacy, and I prefer to use services that don’t collect my data.

The problem with this approach is that you will have to pay for most services in another way, as they are not free. This is where open source comes in. Open source doesn’t necessarily mean free of charge, but it means the code is provided to you. So in most cases, you can use the software for free.

Let’s run down some free and open source, and also free of charge alternatives to big tech services. First off, you most definitely use a search engine from a big tech company. For this, we can use SearXNG. It’s a free and open source search engine that you can configure to use the data sources you want, without becoming a data source to them.

In terms of web browsers, I use Firefox, which I’m sure you know about. They still provide a great browser and it has the benefit of being open source. It also doesn’t rely on big tech companies for its rendering engine so you can support the open web by using it.

Now for email. There’s multiple options, but the one I use is Proton Mail. The clients are open source and the free tier of the service has more than enough storage for me. They are also developing a calendar syncing service and a file syncing syncing service.

For notes, I use Standard Notes, which is actually what I used to write this blog post. It supports multiple editors, although their free plan only includes a plain text one. Either way, it’s open source, cross-platform, and your notes are encrypted and shared with no one.

If you want to find more of these truly free services, including some open source software that is provided for a small cost rather than also being free of charge, I encourage you to check out Privacy Guides. They provide great recommendations for software that respects your privacy, unlike software from big tech companies.