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nihilist@mainpc - 2024-04-29

Why can't I trust closed source software?

"Hey, i just wrote this code, i compiled it, it gave me this .exe file, run it on your computer!

What? You want the source code ? Hell no, just trust me bro!"

What is closed source software?

To briefly explain, any software out there was first written (a developer wrote some source code, for example in the go language), it was then compiled, and then the compilation produced a binary file (for example it became a .exe file on windows)

The catch here is that when you try to reverse-engineer binary files, it's going to be very hard to figure out what the original source code was. This practice is called Reverse Engineering, a niche in cybersecurity, where someone tries to figure out what the original sourcecode was intended to be, with only the binary to work with.

One thing is for sure: you can't arrive at the original sourcecode from just the binary. It's mostly guess work.

Most software companies (which can be corporations) out there are greedy, they work hard to produce software, and they hate to have any competition. Hence they want keep their software sourcecode private, to make it as hard as possible to others to arrive at the same level of functionnality. That is exactly why closed source software is used by most people.

The most popular example out there is Windows, they would definitely not like their sourcecode to be leaked/reversed like it with Apple's IOS.

Spyware example, and how to replace it

Discord: a Privacy Nightmare

Let's take a popular example: Discord as detailed in their article on spyware watchdog, it's one of the worst pieces of spyware out there. It's sourcecode is not public, and they confirm that they collect large amounts of sensitive user data (as much as they can).

Discord even goes out of it's way and contains a process logger to spy on what you do on your computer.

That service even forces you to add a phone number in case if it suspects you tried to create an account anonymously (via a vpn or via tor).

You get it, it's a nightmare for privacy and anonymity there is out of the question. The perfect governmental proxy to spy on the masses.

Matrix + : The Decentralised and Open Source Alternative

Take the counter example, Matrix is an open source chat protocol. Meaning if there were any spyware to be baked into the software, you would see it in the sourcecode, and rest assured the entire open source community would go into huge turmoil and you would know it.

You are also free to use other equally elegant UX/UI clients (for example using cinny or element), you can self host both the server and the client, and it implements E2EE (end to end encryption)

Remove surveillance using Open-Source Software

To conclude, here are the requirements you need to look for, for any software that you use:

  1. It must be open source

  2. It must be self-hostable (for decentralisation) (meaning the serverside code must also be fully opensource)

  3. It must implement privacy features like encryption

  4. It should not contain any telemetry, or any spyware.

  5. It should ONLY do what it was originally meant to do.

By that standard, you can already discard software like Windows, Discord, Whatsapp, Instagram, iOS, pre-installed phone host OSes, Word, Excel, etc, as none of them are open source, and you can be damn sure that they are spying on everything you do, willfully or not. (ever since the US government passed the FISA section 702.)





Now that you have the full reasoning laid out, and if being watched by an entire crowd when you are using your computer doesn't sit well with you, it's time for you to move out of all that surveillance, out of that theater/circus that is closed-source software (in which you are the clown on stage, for corporations to see), it's time for you to close the blinds and declare that the show is over to these entire crowds that have infringed upon your basic right of privacy. It's time to install Linux.


Until there is Nothing left.

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