#FreeSoftwareAdvent: all my Free software suggestion posts in one place

From 1 December 2022, I thought it would be fun to do one post (in the Fediverse, rather than on Twitter) per day about a piece of Free / open source software, that I value.

Here’s the combined list.


calibre is a multi-tool for managing and converting eBooks.

I use a Kobo Clara HD eReader rather than a Kindle, but find the Amazon store convenient, and calibre is the tool that makes that viable.

It’s also great for converting PDFs to eBooks, with regex support for removing page numbers etc.



Jitsi is an incredible Free software video conferencing platform. I use it every day, and I’d be lost without it.

Great for self-hosting (mine runs on a Pi; fine for a low load!), and you can get managed instances of it too.

It has come on leaps and bounds in the past couple of years too.



Semiphemeral is a simple tool for deleting posts from Twitter automatically.

When I used Twitter more, I used it to keep just the last 7 days of content readily available.

Code: https://github.com/micahflee/semiphemeral

There’s also a hosted version, at https://semiphemeral.com/.


Nextcloud started life as an automatic file synchronisation tool, and now it appears to be aiming at a replacement for Microsoft 365.

I only use it for file synchronisation and as a shared drive replacement, and I’m a bit worried it’s trying to do too much, but it’s still superb.

There’s an add-on for collaborative document editing, via CODE.



WireGuard is a virtual private network protocol that’s easy to install, easy to manage, and not very chatty.

I have my phone connected to a WireGuard server 24/7, mainly because I can’t work out how to do on-demand activation properly on Android.

One of the best FOSS tools I use.



LibreOffice (@libreoffice@fosstodon.org) has been my go-to document creation software for over a year now, and I’ve been thrilled by just how good Writer is. (I’m less of a fan of Impress, the presentation software, but that’s for another day.)

Whether it’s “good enough” to replace Microsoft Word is a matter of personal choice but, for me, it has done exactly that.



Cryptomator is a transparent encryption tool, which creates a virtual encrypted drive which sits between you and your cloud/remote storage.

You have the files, unencrypted, on your computer, but when they synchronise with Nextcloud, Dropbox etc., the names and content are encrypted with 256 bit AES. If someone compromises your cloud storage, they get nothing useful.

Definitely worth a look if you store files on other people’s computers.



Apostrophe is my current favourite #Markdown editor.

It’s simple, and has a toggleable preview mode,



Audacity is the tool I invariably reach for if I need to do something with audio (usually for a presentation).

There was a bit of a kerfuffle last year, after a change in ownership, but I think that that’s settled down?


GIMP / GNU Image Manipulation Project

If you can get over the name, GIMP (@GIMP@floss.social) is a very capable image editor.

I’ve used it for years, and I suspect there’s a bit of a learning curve to it, but functionality is quite superb.


The manual has a section on “How do I become a GIMP Wizard”, which always makes me smile.


Want to post a photo but blur out or redact one or more bits? Obfuscate to the rescue. It does one job, and does it well.

(Sorry, people who don’t use #Linux. This one isn’t for you!)



I use mkdocs to generate my company’s website, https://decoded.legal. I’m so pleased I went down this route.

Updates, new pages, and new menus and items are dead easy, without needing a content management system.

I write content in Markdown, and have a bash script which generates and deploys the site.



I still buy DVDs and CDs (although I do occasionally buy DRM-free downloads), and I use jellyfin as my network media player.

With nginx in front of it for TLS termination and reverse proxying, I can access my own media, wherever I am (as long as there’s a reasonable Internet connection).

It’s easy to install, and runs nicely on a Raspberry Pi.

MrMC is a decent client for Apple’s tvOS.

Tor Browser

Want a privacy-friendly browser, which also lets you access .onion services? Tor Browser is a great choice.

I’ve used Tor for years, and never stumbled across anything remotely dodgy. Alec Muffett has a great list of real world .onion sites: https://github.com/alecmuffett/real-world-onion-sites

And you can visit me there too! https://dlegal66uj5u2dvcbrev7vv6fjtwnd4moqu7j6jnd42rmbypv3coigyd.onion



I’ve been using reveal.js for presentations for a few months now, and I love it.

Write css once, for slide styles, and then you can write your content as quickly as you can write Markdown.

Add audio and video easily with html.

?print-pdf lets you generate a PDF copy.


Here’s an example of my slides using it: https://decoded.legal/presentations/2022-10-11_LSE_Internet_law/2022-10-11_LSE_Internet_layers_and_chokepoints.html


I sign up for everything using a unique username and password, and I’d be lost without a password manager.

I’ve been #selfhosting #Bitwarden for a year or so, and I’ve been pleased with it. I pay the annual subscription for some of the more advanced features, and it is worth every penny.

For added security, Bitwarden supports hardware security keys.



Today’s FOSS is a tool I just couldn’t do without: espanso.

espanso is a text expander: you type a sequence of keystrokes, and it “expands” them to a predefined snippet. Or shows you a form, for more dynamic text entry.

I use it All. The. Time, and set up snippets for pretty much anything I might need to type regularly.



A wonderful single-use utility today: qrencode

As the name suggests, it turns data into QR codes.

Great if you want a simple way of sharing your contact details, or a URL (e.g. in a presentation), or giving guests access to your Wi-Fi network.


Why #RSS isn’t more popular, I’ve no idea. If you want to keep on top of new posts on your favourite sites, without clogging up your inbox with newsletters, a decent RSS aggregator / reader is a great alternative.

My choice is FreshRSS: https://www.freshrss.org/

I use the web UI for reading my feeds on computers, and FeedMe on my Android phone.

I runs nicely on a Raspberry Pi.


Adverts and trackers, be gone!

The excellent Pi-Hole will be familiar to a lot of you but, if you’re looking for a holiday project, it’s worth a try:


I’ve put a DNS-over-https proxy in front of it, and unbound behind it:



If you want a self-hosted web-based secure file transfer system with email notifications, zend.to is worth a look:


I’ve used this for about six years now. Officially, it doesn’t work on a Raspberry Pi, but it can, with only minor tinkering.

(I’ve also heard good things about wormhole, which takes a very different approach.)


For “knowledge management” / keeping a record of useful information, I rather like a wiki, and dokuwiki is a very lightweight, flat-file, wiki system.

I’m so pleased with it, especially with the MFA and Markdown plugins.



This might be a @gnome@floss.social -specific one, but I am a fan of Internet radio, and my desktop player of choice is Shortwave:


Internet radio is a still a thing, despite Spotify etc., and there are plenty of great ad-free streams/stations.

Greenbone / OpenVAS

The last piece of FOSS in this year’s is the open source vulnerability scanner, Greenbone / OpenVAS (@greenbone@floss.social):


I use its scheduled tasks to do authenticated scanning of all the hosts on my network, to check for vulnerabilities. Even with unattended-updates running, it has helped me pick up bits I’ve missed.

For small networks, it runs fine on a Raspberry Pi.