Krzysztof J. Weblog

Indie game developement, pixel art, open source and linux

Switching Software and Canceling Subscriptions

December 10, 2016 — Krzysztof Jankowski

Recently I came to the conclusion that lot of services I pay for are not that grate. And there is always that Stallman philosophy that all companies are evil and want to steal my data and information about me. Last but not lest why to pay if I can use open source and spend money on something nicer (like a film pack for my Lomo'instant camera)?


More than year ago I canceled Dreamhost hosting after they suspend my account for no reason. My little Raspberry Pi B was good enough for hosting few simple sites since then. Now I have little server room with four of them with redundancy and backups.

Dreamhost to Raspberry Pi

Sublime Text

I have only company license that I use on OSX. At home (Linux) I was using Sublime for a long time. I eventually wanted to buy my privet license. But I came to conclusion that it will be much better to just learn something new and exciting - VIM. And yes, it was hard but after few weeks I don't want to go back. VIM is superb.

Sublime Text to Vim

Adobe Creative Cloud

I have been using Photoshop since version 5.5 (1999). Many, many years. I pirated every new version as it cost like new computer since Adobre presented the CC. A subscription based service. And it was cheap in compare. I subscribe to bundle for photographers: Photoshop + Lightroom. New versions was introduced every few months. But to be hones they were all the same. I even tested Photoshop CS2 once (2005) and did not see any new features that I would use in the latest CC (2016). So after 11 years they do not add anything that I needed. Too bad CS2 do not work on Intel processors. I was searching for alternative for many years. Yet there is no real competitor even now. The closest is Pixelmator (OSX) that I bought 5 years ago and the latest version of GIMP (Linux). So after I become more a pixel artist and less web designer I decided that I no longer need full Photoshop. For small designs on OSX I'm using Pixelmator. And on Linux I started to learn GIMP. It's not that bad as it was years ago. It has finally a one window - no more floating bullshit.

As a photographer I get back to the analog as my main camera (Fuji X-Pro1) broke. And my second camera (Fuji X-100) is superb in shooting JPEGs. But that doesn't mean I don't need a good RAW converter. But I found that Lightroom 5 is basically identical to the CC version and extremely cheap (~$15). And for Linux there is digiKam.

Adobe Photoshop CC to Pixelmator and GIMP

Adobe Lightroom CC to Adobe Lightroom 5 and digiKam


The last service that I pay monthly subscription was Dropbox. I was using it for two main reasons: backup and syncing. It have Linux and OSX integration and it's simple to use. But it's slow and they subscription sucks: free account (~9GB) or 1TB for $10. And I'm using ~15GB. And for this 6GB more I needed to pay for full 1TB. Nonsense. I don't even have a hard drive that big. So yesterday I installed Syncthing on every computer I own (2x OSX, 1x Linux). It was a little bit more complicated but not for a programmer. I just needed to make it auto start and sit in the background. For OSX I created simple .plist for ~/Library/Launcher and for Fedora I added .desktop file to ~/.config/autostart/. But to have it working always I needed some server. So I finally used my Raspberry Pi 3 for something useful. For now it is using internal SD card (13GB free space) to store synced data. But I will be buying two 64GB flash disks (for redundancy). After initial setup everything is working smooth and automatic. It's free, super secure (you can't say that about Dropbox) and open source.

Dropbox to Syncthing


I don't want to sound like Stallman but free and open software is much better. It respects me and my data. And I learn a lot setting up or learning to use new software. Also I spend less and less money on absurd subscriptions.

I still pay for SmugMug, Digitally Imported radio and Gaia TV. But storing photos (a lot of them!) is more complicated and music/entertainment is a different thing (and those two are not mainstream services).

Tags: linux, open source, photoshop, syncthing, gimp, raspberry pi