Temps de lecture 8 min
There was one more present left at the foot of the Christmas tree… The French free software directory and founding project of Framasoft is evolving once again, into a site that’s nicer, simpler, more ergonomic… and a lot more practical for recommending your favourite free software !
🦆 VS 😈 : Let’s take back some ground from the tech giants !
➡️ Read the series of articles from this campaign (Nov. – Dec. 2023)
There was one more present left at the foot of the Christmas tree… The free software directory and founding project of Framasoft is evolving once again, into a site that’s nicer, simpler, more ergonomic… and a lot more practical for recommending your favourite free software ![ENCART DE DONS]
Just over six years ago, we introduced you to a new “2017” version of our collaborative FOSS directory, Framalibre. Since then, we’ve been testing, learning and observing changes in usage.
We have used all these lessons to create this new “2024” version of Framalibre, which we are proud to present to you today on Framalibre.org.
🎀 An obvious simplicity 🎀
So, for people who were used to the previous version of Framalibre, we warn you : it’s going to leave a gap… You have every right to exclaim “but where’s all my junk ?” … But for many newcomers to the world of free software, that was the problem !
Maiwann has done a lot of usability testing for us, especially at conferences and at the stands where we meet. These tests helped her to realise, for example, that putting a simple ‘mail’ label on the home page wasn’t helping people who were ‘looking for an alternative to Gmail’.
So for this new version, we’ve made a radical choice : simplicity. So we’ve gone to great lengths to simplify menus, sub-menus, drop-down menus, labels, boxes, notes, buttons, and so on.
This radical choice for simplicity came at a price : we had to refocus the Framalibre directory on digital tools. The previous version wanted to open up to free culture, objects and structures. But the problem with doing a bit of everything is that it’s hard to do everything well : presenting all open source resources meant multiplying menus and categories, while increasing the complexity of creating a listing.
The new Framalibre site is deliberately bare bones. It welcomes you with a page displaying tags (the most frequently used search terms) and a search bar. Goodbye the meta-categories, categories, sub-categories and sub-category filters… In short, the tree structure inherited from the 2001 directory !
Our aim is to respond as quickly as possible to your need to find free software to do what you need to do, or to find an alternative to the service provided by the web giants that you want to free yourself from : you search, you find.
📃 Under the hood, the pages 📃
For the more technical among you (the rest of you can skip straight to the next part ^^), this simplicity can also be found under the hood.
Framalibre 2017’s Drupal 7 needed a good upgrade, which takes time and energy. The entries database was difficult to access : while we’d done a good job of tinkering with something so that it could be used by others, we would have had to spend more time and energy developing a practical, documented API…
Instead, we decided to devote this energy to applying this choice of simplicity to the software itself, by making the new Framalibre a static site, which we hope will be lighter and faster. The code for this tool, based on Jekyll software, was developed by the talents of l’Échappée Belle (thanks to Fanny and David <3), and of course it’s free and available online.
This choice of static allowed us to modify the structure of the entries and the database. Now written in markdown, these records can be read by both humans and scripts (as long as your robots remain well-behaved, of course :p). As the Framalibre records are CC-By SA, we hope that making them more accessible and readable will lead to some interesting re-uses !
We’ve also taken the opportunity to simplify the manuals as much as possible : you won’t find any screenshots of the software, for example. After a few years, these images are often outdated and misleading. From now on, the information presented in a manual will be simple and concise, and if you like this first look at a particular free software product, we invite you to find out more on the official website.
🎁 “Here, this is what I use to free myself…” 🎁.
Because our goal is not for you to stay on Framalibre as long as possible (yes, in the game of attention economy, Framasoft is frankly – and deliberately – bad ;) ). On the contrary, Framalibre aims to be a mediator, a ramp to take you to the official site of the free tool that meets your needs.
In addition to being a search tool, we have designed this new Framalibre as a tool for recommending free and ethical alternatives. Whether it’s during the preliminary surveys and tests for this redesign of Framalibre, during the regular meetings we attend, or even when we look at how we operate ourselves… we observe the same constant :
It’s much easier to adopt a free tool when it comes highly recommended by people we trust.
This is how we came up with the idea of adding a “used by Framasoft members” box at the top of certain search pages. This doesn’t mean that other software isn’t as good, or that it won’t meet your specific needs : it just shows the free software and services that we use regularly.[capture mini-site]
💝 Framalibre mini-sites : offer your choices ! 💝
With this new version of Framalibre, we wanted to go even further to encourage peer-to-peer recommendations. We know from experience that a person who uses free software today is a person who will help those around him or her to liberate their digital use tomorrow.
On the new Framalibre, you can make your own selection of free tools and get a link to a page that you can share with your friends and family !
Just for fun, here are a few examples we’ve put together for you :
We look forward to hearing your choice of free tools !
🤝 Collaboration is about sharing ! 🤝
What’s more, we’ve made the whole process a lot easier (you can see there’s a theme here !). The downside is that your submissions will be reviewed by our team of moderators before they are published (rather than being moderated after submission, as was previously the case).
The upside is that there are already almost 1,019 entries to discover, like so many of the solutions that open source communities offer each of us to make our digital practices better.
And if you can’t find the entry for that great free software or application that freed you from the web giants… feel free to add it : you’ll see, it’s (unsurprisingly) easy !
So now it’s up to you !
It’s up to you to use Framalibre to find, share and, above all, recommend the free tools that make your digital life easier… and life in general !
- The new Framalibre website
- The software code behind the new Framalibre
- The Échappée Belle association website
- Support Framalibre by supporting Framasoft…
Because, yes, at the end of the year, we need you, your support and your sharing to help us regain ground on the toxic GAFAM web and create more ethical digital spaces.
So we’ve asked David Revoy to help us present this on our ‘Support Framasoft’ page, which we invite you to visit (because it’s beautiful) and above all to share as widely as possible :
If we are to balance our budget for 2024, we have just 5 days left to raise € 71 398 : we can’t do it without your help !