Graham searches for the best new free software


There are many things to love about Google's Chrome browser. It works with almost every site; it's about the best performing, full-fledged browser I've used; and it's secure, thanks to a constant stream of updates. But there's one thing you can't quite trust in Chrome, and that's its privacy credentials. Fortunately, like Android, the core of Google Chrome is open source and can be merged and built into other projects. Chromium, for example, is an open source version of Google Chrome. But this also means the source code can be taken, changed, and rolled into a completely new project, which is exactly what the Iridium browser is.

Iridium is a web browser for modern times. Every modification made to the open source code base has been made to enhance the privacy of the user, and it does this without sacrificing Chrome's speed or ease of use. The project's GitHub page lists the changes made to the Chromium code, and these include always sending the Do Not Track header, changed default search, blocked third-party cookies, disabled battery status API, no password saving, and many more. Additionally, many of Google's embedded services have been disabled, too. These include cloud printing, embedded hot words, translation features, and automatic update check. All this means you get the best of Chrome, offering the latest web technologies such as WebRTC, without many of the features and services that could compromise your privacy. And although many of these options can be changed within both Chrome and Chromium, it's reassuring to know a skilled set of developers have created a set of baked-in defaults that should help the majority of us reclaim our privacy.

Project Website

All the things you like about Google's browser, without the Google.

Password Manager

KeePassXC 2.1.0

Password security is still a nightmare, and no one has really come up with a better solution than having a strong, randomly generated password for each site or service you use. This of course makes remembering them impossible, which is why password managers exists. But putting all your passwords into the same virtual pocket is the encryption equivalent to putting all your eggs in one basket. One mistake and you've lost everything. This is why open source password managers are so important. My favorite is a tool called "pass," which uses a normal filesystem layout of folders and files, alongside your GnuPG key, to secure your information in plain site. But another popular option is KeePassX, a GPL Linux port of the same tool on Windows and OS X.

Unfortunately, the original port of KeePassX has stalled, with lots of written and proposed new features and bug fixes being kept from the main project's repository – there were 69 opened pull requests without maintainer comment waiting to be merged, for example. This feature stalling has led to KeePassX to be forked into a new project called KeePassXC, which now includes all the stalled features and fixes along with a renewed vigor to provide users with the best password manager for your systems. The new application looks the same and has the same database management with hooks to your browser. It also opens and saves a 2.x compatible database, so you can switch between the two applications if you've not yet got the confidence with the new version. But because the new application includes a fantastic password generator, complete with strength meter for your own, favicons for website entries, and the ability to merge databases that can reload when there's a change, I don't see any immediate reason to go back to the old pre-fork version.

Project Website

The excellent KeePassX has forked, adding a C to its name alongside some excellent new features.

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