My back to school free software toolkit


The 2018 spring semester started last Wednesday. I think I've set up a pretty good free software toolkit for a successful year:

  • Operating system: Fedora - latest software with stable releases
  • Browser: Firefox - what else? :-) Note that our school and most California universities and colleges have adopted the AGPL licensed Canvas learning management system, so usually my browser is running free JavaScript code too!
  • Documents/notes: LibreOffice - nearly all professors are fine with assignments being submitted as plain text or PDF, only a few want docx specifically. For professors that insist you need to use Times New Roman or fail the assignment - not a single one has noticed my usage of Liberation Serif.
  • Cloud storage: Nextcloud - I self-host a nextcloud instance that all my school documents are saved to. Additionally I have the Android app on my phone for convenient reading of notes while I'm on the train.
  • Photos: Shotwell - very simple photo organizer, though I would also like to become more proficient at darktable soon.
  • Email: Thunderbird - I have filters set up so all my school email gets filtered into a folder that I normally read first.

Total software cost: $0