The Free World - Directory of Free Software/Culture Related Websites
Last updated: March 14th, 2019
This page is a directory listing for websites and other resources on the topics of free software and/or free culture. The contents of this page are sorted by category and accompanied by descriptions and applicable warnings. I have made this page mostly for my own benefit, but also to help anyone in the free world find useful or interesting resources.
Just about anything that is related to free software or free culture can go on here. Additionally, other resources on things more tangenitally related to free software, such as digital cryptography/security, educational materials about programming and other topics, and even stores of general information, are, in my opinion, deserving of inclusion here. The whole point is to create a nexus that links to a great many resources that a person who is concious of their freedom and privacy rights will appreciate and can use. Licensing information, especially for resources that you are supposed to download to your local machine, is preferable. If you know of any sites that should be on this directory, E-mail me at erik (at) chowhowse (dot) com.
Activist Organizations & Communities
This category is for the websites of activist organizations, social programs, or movements that are related in a major way to free software/culture, or communities that are built specifically around free software/cultureor a subset of it. It also may include organizations that are dedicated to related subjects like privacy (online and off), civil liberties, and fighting DRM.
- The Free Software Foundation - The main organization fighting for free software, both now and historically.
- The Electronic Frontier Foundation - A group fighting for digital rights, mostly in the legal arena.
- The Software Freedom Law Center - An organization providing legal representation to free software projects.
- The Open Source Initiative - An organization that advocates for open source software, and that maintains the Open Source Definition license list.
- FreedomDefined.org - A project that provides a definition of free cultural works and evaluates free content licenses.
- Defective By Design - The most visible and consistent anti-DRM organization around.
- Software Freedom Conservancy - An organization providing hosting and logistical support to FOSS projects. Conservancy also has a history of litigation in support of free licensing issues.
Free Software Communities
- Framasoft - French non-profit that is dedicated to free software development and eductation.
- freedesktop.org - Project/community that works on problems of interoperability between other free software projects.
- Dyne.org - Community-oriented free software foundry that has been around for nearly 2 decades.
- h-node - A project aiming to create a database of hardware devices that work with fully-free systems.
Free Operating Systems
This category is for free operating systems. Note that not all GNU/Linux distributions are fully free (in fact, most are not). As such, I will not link all of them here. However, I am probably more lenient than some, and I am definitely more forgiving than the FSF. The main goal of this section is to document the OSes that make serious attempts to be fully free, rather than the somewhat more narrow category of OSes that succeed.
GNU/Linux Operating Systems
- The GNU Operating System - The original free operating system project. This site links to some of the other free systems that are linked in this section below, but not all.
- Debian - The Debian operating system. Though it does not meet the FSF's strict criteria for a fully free OS, default Debian is entirely free, and the Debian Foundation is one of the secondary authorities on free software.
- Devuan - Devuan is a fork of Debian without systemd. It is actively developed and maintained, and like Debian can be compiled as a fully free OS.
- Trisquel - Trisquel is a GNU/Linux distribution that is fully free and FSF-endorsed.
- PureOS - PureOS is a Debian-based fully free OS created and maintained by Purism.
- Parabola - Parabola is a fully free OS based on Arch linux.
- Hyperbola - Hyperbola is a fully free OS based on Arch that aims to be stable and provide long-term package support.
- Gentoo - Gentoo is a "meta-distribution" which aims for maximum customizability. While it is not a fully free OS by default (if it can be said that Gentoo even has a "default"), it can be customized to be fully free.
- GuixSD - The Guix System Distribution is an experimental OS developed by the GNU project itself. It uses a unique package manager and heavily employs Guile Scheme.
- FreeBSD - A version of the Berkley Software Distribution. It uses its own, non-Linux kernel. While the FreeBSD system includes some non-free firmware by default, it is possible to compile it without this, resulting in a free OS.
- Replicant - Fully free operating system based on Android, running on certain smartphone devices.
- libreCMC - A fully free set of embedded operating systems, mostly used for devices like network routers.
- ProteanOS - A "Universal Embedded Operating System". Fully free and FSF endorsed.
This category is for the websites and project pages of individual pieces of free software. This category will likely grow extremely large. My intention is to limit the entries here to only those free software programs that are notable, useful, important, and/or have a dedicated website of their own (a GitHub page is not enough). I will consider the latter of those qualifiers to be the most critical, though if the program is important or noteworthy enough, I may include it here even without its own website. Consider this discretionary on my part. Note that inclusion here does not imply my endorsement of these programs, nor any favoritism by me. It is simply meant to be a potentially useful list.
- The Linux Kernel - The core component of GNU/Linux OSes, and a major piece of the puzzle towards making a fully free OS. Note that the designation of the Linux Kernel as free software is not without some controversy due to the inclusion of some closed-source binary blobs.
- GNU Linux-Libre - This is the Linux kernel expunged of all non-free firmware. Linux-Libre is distributed with all GNU/Linux distros that meet the FSDG requirements.
- Libreboot - A fully free BIOS/UEFI replacement.
Programming Languages, Tools, and Compilers
- GNU Compiler Collection - A collection of compilers for C, C++, and other languages, made for the GNU system and distributed with most GNU/Linux variants.
- Python - Python, a freely-available, high-level interpreted programming language.
- Vim - Why would you need anything else?
- Emacs - A fine operating system, that only lacks a decent text editor!
- Firefox - Free software web browser, very full-featured and popular.
- qutebrowser - Keyboard-driven free software web browser based on the Qt5 framework.
- Chromium - Free web browser by Google. It is the basis of the non-free Google Chrome.
- Lynx - Text-based web browser. It is the oldest web browser still in use and under active development.
- LibreOffice - LibreOffice suite of office productivity applications. Meant as a replacement for MicroSoft Office.
- NetHack - Nethack, a venerable roguelike game and one of the oldest free software games still developed.
- SuperTux - A platforming video game starring Linux kernel mascot Tux.
- The Battle for Wesnoth - Vast strategy game with excellent artwork and challenging gameplay.
- Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup - Roguelike game with a great UI and a large, involved playerbase.
- Xonotic - Multiplayer arena first-person shooter with fast-paced gameplay.
- SuperTuxKart - 3D kart racing game, actively developed and quite good-looking.
- 0 A.D. - Real-time strategy game with great visuals and a dedicated team.
This category is for hardware devices that meet the specifications of being fully free. One main source regarding whether or not a piece of end-user hardware is free is the FSF's Respects Your Freedom Certification, which constitutes an official endorsement from the Free Software Foundation and has rigorous requirements. There may be some other peices of hardware that warrent inclusion in this list, especially components or other non-end-user-focused devices.
- Ministry of Freedom - A store that provides Librebooted laptops and PCs. Good product selection (mostly refurbished laptops) and international shipping.
- Technoethical - A refurbisher/seller that distributes devices running fully free software.
- The Zerocat Label - Online seller that is mostly known for making an RYF-Certified chipflasher.
- Vikings - Online computer store that sells libre-friendly devices, as well as some RYF-Certified hardware.
- Purism - Manufacturers of the Librem product line and developers of PureOS.
Free Cultural Works
This category is for works that fall under the banner of "free culture." My definition of free culture is simply and expansion of the Four Software Freedoms to include cultural works. Therefor, some things that many might consider "open source" artistic works would not fit in this section. This is usually due to the authors prohibiting "commercial" uses of their work (as in, for example, the webcomic xkcd), which makes the work as a whole incompatible with true freedom.
- Project Gutenberg - Massive resource for freely available ebooks.
- Pepper&Carrot - A wonderfully vibrant and entertaining fantasy webcomic series created by David Revoy and made entirely with free software tools.
- Moose Lake Cartoons - An archive of Canadian newspaper cartoons by Roddy Thorleifson that are explicitly released under CC-BY 4.0.
- Phill From GCHQ - An adult-oriented webcomic by Scandinavian artist Katharsisdrill, made with entirely free tools.
This category covers websites that are primarily used by regular people for persistent communication and the sharing of media and information. Traditional "social media"-style sites (that are free software) would belong here, as well as web-based technologies for sharing other specific media (videos, for example). Note that inclusion in this section implies the platform, not neccessarily its contents, is what is free.
- Mastodon - Federated microblogging platform. Fairly popular and user-friendly. The main site links to several active instances that can be joined.
- GNU Social - Another federated microblogging platform using OStatus, compatible with other Fediverse services (such as Matodon).
- diaspora* - Federated microblogging platform based on the Diaspora personal server program.
- Steemit - Blockchain-based social media and blogging system, with its own cryptocurrency. Steemit.com is a frontend for the Steem blockchain.
- Minds - Privacy- and transparency-focused social media site. Fully free and has an associated ERC20 crytpocurrency (described as a "utility token").
- Hubzilla - Community CMS microblogging platform. Federated and built with the Zot web framework.
- Friendica - Federated social media platform, another member of the Fediverse.
- pump.io - Federated microblogging service, using Nodejs and an ActivityStreams API.
- Pleroma - Federated social networking server.
Video Sharing Services
- PeerTube - Decentralized video hosting network developed by Framasoft, based on federated principles.
- LBRY - Blockchain-based media streaming service. Primarily used to distribute videos. Has its own dedicated desktop app rather than a web interface.
- DTube - Video streaming platform based on the Steem blockchain and IPFS technology.
- MediaGoblin - Free software, self-hosted media publishing platform.
This category is for sites that host news about free software, free culture, or other subjects of interest. There is much that should be "of interest" to a person concerned with free software/culture, including technology, privacy, and even general news. The issue of having to trust the source of your information is not lost on me, and I try to refrain from linking to both fringe news sites as well as the mainstream media. Most of these links are narrow in their subject matter, and if not, there is some other reason for their inclusion (which will be mentioned in the description). The main criteria for inclusion here is that the site exists to report events as they happen, or to cover persons, places, or events of concern to privacy- and freedom-conscious individuals. Therefor, both a current-events newspaper and an on-subject periodical would belong here, as well as interview-based non-personal blogs.
A note about the "General News" section: Most sources have an editorial slant. That slant can (and certainly does) cross any boundary and turn to outright attempts at manipulation. For this reason, I have been very VERY selective of which sites to place on this list as general news sources. In particular, I have tried to select sources that adhere at least partially to free culture values in some way, or that place privacy issues at the forefront. I also of course DO NOT endorse anything that might be said on these sites.
- LWN - Linux Weekly News. The main news organization covering events relating to the Linux kernel, and other related projects and subjects.
- LXer - A news aggregator that focuses on Linux and other FOSS topics, but also publishes their own works.
Security & Privacy News
- Opaque Link - A cryptoanarchist blog.
- Common Dreams - A left-leaning (think US Green Party) news website. They are independently funded by their readers and don't run advertisements, and also release many of their articles under Creative Commons licenses, making them free culture.
This category is for websites that present useful or otherwise desirable information as their main purpose. This can be encyclopedic articles, databases of info, free online books or educational materials, or something else.
- Wikipedia - An invaluable online encyclopedia. The articles are available under the CC-BY-SA 3.0 unported license.
- Internet Archive - The Internet Archive tries to archive websites on the internet at large. Huge database of information that may no longer be available on the web.
Personal Sites & Blogs
This category is for the personal websites or blogs of individuals involved in the free software and/or free culture communities, or who might otherwise be considered notable in the world of free computing (such as perhaps historical figures or professors). Note that blogs for organizations would likely belong under another category. Also note that social media pages will not be included here. In fact, the sites typically refered to as "social media" will not be linked on this page at all, because of serious privacy concerns inherent in most of them. Any exceptions (such as, say, GNU Social) will be included in the Social Media section of this page.
- Richard Stallman's Personal Site - Personal website of Richard Stallman, founder of the FSF, GNU Project, and the free software movement.
- Eben Moglen's Website - Personal website of Eben Moglen, Law professor at Columbia University, Chairman of the SFLC, and former general counsel and board member at the FSF.
- Linus Torvalds' Homepage - This is an old personal homepage for Linus Torvalds, creator of the Linux kernel. It seems Mr. Torvalds doesn't much do the personal site thing, and this is the only site of his I found that wasn't a social media page (which he also does not seem to be active on).
- Lawrence Lessig's Personal Site - Personal website of Lawrence Lessig, Law professor at Harvard and major advocate for free culture.
- Bruce Perens' Website - Personal site of Bruce Perens, co-founder of the OSI and creator of the Open Source Definition.
- Eric S. Raymond's Home Page - Personal website of Eric S. Raymond, co-founder of the OSI, author of The Catherdral and the Bazaar, and a major developer and advocate in the open source world.
- Ebb.org - Personal website of Bradley M. Kuhn, President of the Software Freedom Conservancy, former Executive Director of the FSF, and author of the GNU Affero GPL.
- Leah Rowe's Personal Website - Personal website of Leah Rowe, Libreboot developer and maintainer.
- Damien Zammit's Website - Personal site of Damien Zammit, coreboot/libreboot developer and reverse-engineer.
- Kroah.com - Website of Greg Kroah-Hartman, developer extraordinaire and maintainer of the stable branch of the Linux kernel.
- Cory Doctorow's Craphound.com - Personal website of Cory Doctorow, journalist and copyright reform proponent.
- GNUMonks.org - Harald Welte's personal page. Welte is well known for his efforts to enforce the terms of the GPL, and for being involved in the Openmoko cell phone project.
- Phil Zimmermann's Website - Website of Phil Zimmerman, inventor of PGP. Though his main contribution is a proprietary product, the world of digital cryptography would not be the same without him.
- David Revoy's Blog - Website of artist/illustrator David Revoy, creator of "Pepper&Carrot" and perhaps the most visible and economically successful producer of truly free cultural works.
- Barry Kauler's Homepage - Website of Barry Kauler, creator of Puppy Linux and former maintainer of that project.