Bubbling Under

These aren’t quite ready to go on the main switching.social list, but are highly developed and well on their way.



An open source federated alternative to YouTube, PeerTube lets anyone set up their own video sharing site, or join an existing PeerTube site.

The owner of a particular PeerTube site can federate with other sites on the network so that visitors can access a greater selection of videos, and if a video goes viral the federated sites can share the load.

There are already lots of PeerTube sites out there, but it is still in development and there isn’t much content on the sites yet.




An open source federated alternative to Instagram, PixelFed is a photo-oriented social network.

Once it’s ready anyone will be able to set up their own PixelFed site and federate with other PixelFed sites, and also federate with other social networks based on the ActivityPub standard (such as Mastodon).


PIXELFED SITES – pxlfd.me, pix.diaspodon.fr, pix.hostux.social


Purism Librem Five

Purism’s Librem 5 is a new kind of smartphone which runs entirely on open source software and includes lots of features to protect the user’s privacy (including physical off-switches for the camera, microphone, wifi etc).

Purism are already known for making high end privacy-oriented Linux laptops, and this will be their first phone.

It’s currently due for release in April 2019. More details and pre-ordering from the link below.

WEBSITE – Librem 5



GetTogether is an ethical open source alternative to Meetup.com. Unlike Meetup, it costs nothing and anyone will be able to set up their own site as part of the federated GetTogether network.

It is currently still under development so there aren’t many events listed, but you can take a look or post your own events on the first GetTogether site below.

FIRST SITE – GetTogether.community



Funkwhale is an open source federated version of Grooveshark or SoundCloud, which lets you easily discover and share music online through a music-oriented social network. It’s still being developed, but you can try it out at the demo link below, or join one of the “whales” listed on the project website.


DEMO WEBSITE – Funkwhale Demo



Snips is a privacy-by-design voice assistant, an ethical alternative to Amazon Alexa, Apple Siri or Google Home. Unlike those other voice assistants, Snips processes your voice commands on your own device or computer. It works entirely offline without sending your data anywhere, so no one is listening in on you.

It’s still in development and currently aimed at businesses and developers/hobbyists, but it should eventually become available to a wider audience.




Alternatives to Google Translate

There are a number of open source alternatives to Google Translate.

Apertium – Apertium demo site, Apertium source code

OpenNMT – OpenNMT demo site, OpenNMT source code


Home Hosting / Home Servers

A big reason for privacy being under threat is that your data is usually stored on a large faceless corporation’s computers, and you have to trust them not to do anything bad with it.

One alternative is to store your data at home instead, on a computer (or “server”) that you leave plugged into the internet. It runs all the time, sort of like a fridge for your data, and when other people want to connect with you (for example to send you an email) they connect to your home server. Also, because it’s connected to the internet, you can access your server from anywhere in the world through your phone, laptop or tablet, for example to check your email or to upload photos.

Traditional server computers used by large companies have a reputation for being massive, expensive and power-hungry. However, because a home server is only used by a small number of people, it can be tiny, cheap, and low-power. Modern microcomputers (such as the Raspberry Pi) are popular choices for home servers as they are physically about the size of a packet of butter, cost as little as €50 and use very little electricity.

The main stumbling block at the moment is the technical difficulty of setting up and maintaining a home server, which can be quite demanding. However, there are a number of projects which are trying to make it as simple as possible:

WEBSITES – YunoHost, Freedombone, Freedom Box, LibraryBox, Lima



If the internet is out of action, or if you cannot use it for some reason, it’s possible to communicate with others through a mixture of wifi, bluetooth, messages being passed from one device to another, and messages waiting until they are near a network before being sent. This is known as “mesh networking”, and while a mesh is not as convenient as the internet, it is much more durable (e.g. workers in disaster zones use them for this reason).

Apps are starting to appear which combine mesh networks with the internet to produce extremely privacy-friendly services. They’re still relatively tricky to use, but they are getting easier all the time and they offer unique advantages over their internet-only counterparts.

ScuttleButt is a social network with no servers, all your data is stored on your own computer or phone, and you can use it offline. There’s a mobile app for ScuttleButt called Manyverse and a desktop app called Patchwork.

Briar is a messenger which combines meshes and the internet so it can work offline and work without servers. It is especially suitable for journalists and activists who are operating in environments where communications are difficult.

ScuttleButt – Introduction Site, Technical Site, Mobile App, Desktop App

Briar – Website (including mobile app)


back to the front page