Tech Resources


Privacy and Security

How to Fix Your Privacy
A large privacy guide we wrote up with all of the useful privacy information we've come across, as well as some security information. You are 100% free to copy, use, and distribute this as you see fit from any of the sources provided here. The local HTML copy will be the most up-to-date, but there are older versions in PDF and .txt formats.
Firefox Profile Maker
A website that helps you create a custom Firefox profile with various privacy improvements.
about:config Tweaks
A list of about:config tweaks for Firefox that disable telemetry and improve privacy.
Detailed VPN Comparison
An excellent chart comparing different aspects of 185 different VPNs.
Spyware Watchdog Articles
Articles going over the amount of spyware in various web browsers and other software, sometimes with guides on how to mitigate that spyware.
StevenBlack's Hosts File
A custom hosts file blocking thousands of sites hosting malware, adware, and a few optional categories.
ArchWiki's Simple Stateful Firewall Guide
A guide to creating a simple stateful firewall using iptables in the command line. Not an Arch Linux-exclusive guide; if you use iptables, this will work for you!
PrivacyTools
Plenty of recommendations for privacy-respecting software and tools.
How to Live Without Google and Other Evil Tech Giants
Even more privacy-respecting options for software and services, this time specifically targeted at getting away from Google and similar corporations.
WebBrowser
Our web browser of choice. It's an open source fork of Pale Moon with a focus on respecting user privacy. It has tabs, supports XUL plugins but not web extensions, and runs beautifully on Linux in our experience. Importantly for us, it supports nMatrix, uBlock legacy, HTTPS Always, and similar plugins. It does require compiling but comes in a variety of file formats- and don't let compilation scare you. It takes a little while but was fairly painless for us, and we'd never compiled anything before.
Riseup.net
A provider of privacy-respecting communication tools including email, chat, mailing lists, and a VPN. Requires an invite code to make an account, but is one of the better options out there if you care about online privacy and security. Riseup has been around since 1999, runs off donations, and doesn't sell data or serve up ads to support its services.

Programming and Computer Education

Big List of Naughty Strings
A long list of strings that tend to cause problems in text-entry fields. Don't cause more problems for the guy whose last name is Null- he has enough to deal with as it is.
Safely Creating and Using Temporary Files
Security considerations for creating temporary files as part of a program, and how to mitigate some potential security risks.
Doodle Nerd Design Tools
Plenty of CSS generators and tools! There's even a tool for CSS animations.
Spellbook of Modern Webdev
Links to a ton of resources and information about modern web development.
Tech Learning Collective
Quite a few free modules for learning about Linux and the command line; if you want more, there are also paid courses available.
The Linux Command Handbook
A guide that attempts to cover essential BASH commands as efficiently as possible while still giving plenty of detail.
Vim Adventures
Learn Vim by playing a game! Never get stuck in Vim again.
The Map is the Territory
A webzine about the command line from a technomancy perspective. It's an excellent way to learn basic commands and put them into practice in a way that feels meaningful.
The Linux Filesystem Explained
A great description of the basic structure of the Linux filesystem.

Utilities

Pluralnotes
A terminal-based notes utility made by us and designed for plural folks. It supports multiple users on a single OS user, allowing you to keep notes as individuals without ever needing to log out. In addition to creating personal notes in your preferred text editor, there's also the ability to create shared notes that everyone can view, making it easy to communicate or share information. Runs for certain on Linux; may run on MacOS and Windows but currently untested on those platforms.
TLDR Pages
A downloadable command line utility that provides simplified man pages with examples.
The Fuck
Another downloadable utility that acts as autocorrect in the most entertaining way possible. Curse your problems away (maybe)!
DotShare.it
Who wants dotfiles? This site has dotfiles galore. Want an improved bashrc? Need to customize your window manager? You can probably find dotfiles that work for you here.
RAM and CPU Percentage Script
A handy script for checking the amount of RAM and CPU in use as percentages. We use this script with genmon in XFCE's panels to have a live readout of free resources.
Local copy here. We also found an even simpler script for RAM only that doesn't round to whole numbers.
Owl Homepage
A simple homepage we made for ourselves and decided to share! It's intended to be easy to customize the colors and has a search bar, 12 buttons, and an image we made for it.
Our Firefox userChrome.css
Did you know that you can customize how Firefox looks in ways that go beyond the settings menu? If you enable the setting "toolkit.legacyUserProfileCustomizations.stylesheets" in about:config, you can customize the browser quite a bit. You'll need to create a directory/folder called "chrome" in your Firefox profile's directory, then place this file inside. Our userChrome.css file reconnects tabs so they don't float, makes the edges not rounded, changes the font of the toolbars to Source Code Pro if it's present and Monospace if not, reduces the size of the toolbars, and auto-hides the bookmarks toolbar when your mouse isn't hovered over it. It's a hodgepodge of snippets we found and liked (and are still trying to re-find the sources for so we can credit them). If you don't like our file, there are plenty of others out there and you can always roll your own!

Linux Distros

Forewarning: we are very biased towards rolling release distributions.

Endeavour OS
An Arch derivative that does the setup for you and leaves you with an Arch system with a few extra scripts and utilities. For the most part it's vanilla Arch, but there are a few welcome additions such as a GUI welcome utility that makes system maintenance a breeze. The live ISO comes with both offline and online installation options, and the online installation offers the major desktop environments and a few window managers to choose from (i3, Sway, and BSPWM being the current offerings)! As with any Arch derivative, Endeavour is rolling release and bleeding edge, and it uses pacman as its package manager. The default theming of the distro is very appealing, and we were tempted to keep the default aesthetics for the first time. Its community is much less elitist and toxic than Arch's, making it great if you need help and don't want to be shamed for not knowing what something means or where to look for information. We'd highly recommend Endeavour for anyone wanting to use Arch that doesn't have the time for its manual install, as Endeavour is fairly minimal by default and stays close to its Arch roots. It's also an excellent option for anyone interested in trying a window manager instead of a desktop environment, as Endeavor does the setup for you and has a sane base configuration.
Void Linux
An independent, volunteer-run distribution notable for a fast and effective package manager, runit init system, support for both the glibc and musl libraries, and (surprisingly) stability. It follows a rolling release model but is less bleeding-edge than most other rolling releases- that said, the packages aren't without bugs, though functionality-breaking bugs are usually caught before being released to the repositories. Despite being rolling release, one can go a surprisingly long time without updating (months) and still be mostly safe. Several ISOs are provided with different DEs, including a base ISO for users that would prefer to do the work themselves. Void comes with relatively few applications pre-installed, making it ideal for minimalists and people who know what software they want or need. The repositories are smaller than most but are very well-maintained to make up for it, and the package manager supports source compilation if you need a package not yet in the repositories. Notably, new repositories are added via installing packages rather than modifying a configuation file. We'd recommend Void to anyone who wants a simple, fast OS without systemd. If you're planning on installing Void, it would be best to have at least a little experience using Linux, as the installation requires one to use cfdisk or fdisk to manually partition their disk(s). It's by far an easier and faster installation than Arch, but it would be a good idea to make sure you know how you want your partitions before going for the install. If you're struggling, there is an installation guide in the documentation.
Arch Linux
Arch Linux is a community-run and bleeding edge distribution with a rolling release model, a phenomenal package manager, and a wiki that covers almost anything you'd ever need to know, troubleshooting included. In addition to the official repositories, it also comes with access to the AUR, a user repository hosting over 2000 packages and counting. The distribution is aimed more at users that like doing things themselves and allows complete freedom to decide what goes on your computer; the base install is very minimal and you're left to add and configure everything else yourself. While traditionally installed manually through the terminal, the ISO now includes a terminal-based installer that seems to work well for some people and not so well for others. We'd recommend Arch for anyone that feels limited by other distributions that doesn't mind putting in effort to get things working the way they want them to, but be forewarned that it's not a beginner-friendly distribution and requires some serious reading of the wiki if you don't know your way around your OS yet.
Manjaro
An Arch-derivative distro with a GUI installer and multiple DE options built into the ISOs. Packages are held back and tested before release, reducing the risk that a buggy package will break your system at the cost of being less bleeding-edge (though there have been some complaints that held packages are released with bugs anyway). As an Arch derivative, it uses pacman and has access to the AUR. This distro is a good beginner's look at Arch; if you don't want to do much work yourself but want to use pacman, it's a good option. If you don't mind doing some work yourself and/or would prefer to avoid installation of unwanted programs, we'd recommend going with Arch itself.
Pop!_OS
Pop!_OS is an Ubuntu derivative developed by System76 that has built-in NVIDIA support, window tiling, and disk encryption. It's an excellent distribution for beginners and has great support for most applications. While GNOME is the only available DE at the moment, it's been heavily customized and the devs are busy creating their own desktop environment for the distro. GUI options are available for most essential actions, though the distro's application store is notoriously buggy. The built-in NVIDIA and hybrid graphics support makes this distribution great for gaming as well as daily use, and we'd highly recommend it if you're new to Linux or want an OS that just works.
Puppy Linux
A family of compact, lightweight, and portable distributions designed to run on a USB stick or other media device, though they can be installed directly onto a computer as well. These distros come with their own software, and more can be installed via the package manager in a variety of common formats (deb, rpm and tgz/txz) as well as a more compact format exclusive to the distro. These distros are frequently praised for being easy to use and fast. Because Puppy distros run on RAM, this might be a way to continue using your computer if your hard drive breaks while you wait on a replacement drive.

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