Finished the most significant digital conversion of my lifetime (from someone doing digital since mainframes roamed the earth).
The main challenges that I faced were
(a) keeping compatibility with all necessary commercial and public service apps,
(b) preserving instant messaging functionality,
(ç) having UnifiedNlp location services, and
(d) minimizing short and long-term maintenance costs and time.
Given these four challenges, the effort centered around two axis:
(1) open system smartphones (chose Fairphone 2 with FP Open OS for the family) and
(2) an open source personal cloud (chose Nextcloud and DAVdroid).
Next step was to make a few concessions and move to Open Gapps pico. This showed to be a good compromise. I could freeze Google Play Store, a major irritant and invasive block in Google’s Android implementation, while reinforcing (a), (b) and (ç) and achieving (d).
The challenge then was to get out of some remaining GAFAM services, and the solution was to use a non-GAFAM cloud. Even though using an open source independent cloud provider is a decent solution, I preferred, as a user of a Synology personal server for many years, to build my own cloud server. I went with (2) above and it solved most of my problems. I have now my own cloud access to contacts, calendar (both Android stock apps), to do lists (Tasks) and notes (Synology’s own app).
The effort paid off nicely, I have now a robust Android-centered system without a trace of a Goggle account and compatible with most existing apps. The advantages:
(I) much improved data privacy and hygiene,
(II) much reduced battery consumption and better phone performance (setup isn’t dependent on apps that have to frequently phone home or exchange substantial data over the air to finance their business model),
(III) more control over features and suppression of irritant or invasive events,
(IV) better ownership of my own data and services and emancipation from whimsical decision making in places like Silicon Valley, and
(V) contributing to a more decentralized Internet and to many socially desirable outcomes such as less political, social and economic inequality, etc.
I believe that we have achieved enough critical mass in the open source movement to make this situation possible, but unfortunately the procedure is still too complex for the average user, this should be part of our next efforts.
It’s also unfortunate that I can’t do the same with my PCs because of my employer’s mandated dependency on Microsoft digital solutions. I’ll probably have to wait until I retire before I can setup an equally effective solution at the PC level, but given the more intrusive nature of smartphones and the ability to use Mozilla products on a PC I rate my own digital hygiene currently at an 8/10 compared to a 2/10 just a year ago.