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InvoiceNinja – Opensource Online Invoicing service

This week end, Sean, a habitual reader, contacted me to ask some help on installing a particular invoice web based app on his server.

As you may have figured out, I love web based apps and I didn’t know any invoicing apps online before his mail. As I’m starting my own company/website soon (I’ll let you know when settle down), I thought it would be nice to give this software a shot.


InvoiceNinja logo

InvoiceNinja is a great open source online invoicing service.


Mosh – an alternative to SSH

Mosh works just like SSH but the feeling is much smoother than a traditional ssh client. You don’t get disconnected to the server if your connection drops or your computer goes to sleep. You don’t feel the network lag when you type. Mosh stays connected even if you switch to another internet connection (from wired to wifi, tethering…) !


Libravatar, alternative to Gravatar to manage your online avatar

Gravatar is a very helpful service. Instead of uploading my profile image in the many websites I have registered, I only need to upload my avatar to a single place where every website could easily access to it. Also, if you register to a new website, it will also use your Gravatar profile image directly without any effort from your end.

Great service but is not under a free software license and cannot be hosted on your server.

This is where Libravatar differ.

Libravatar is a free (APGL) and opensource software and as Gravatar, is an online avatar hosting service.

Their belief is that centralised approaches don’t put users in control, so they let you now also control how your profile pictures are served to others websites.

For example, if you run your own business, you may want to integrate Libravatar with your existing systems (Staff directory, …) and delegate the authentication to LDAP. Then you could choose what happens when email addresses or profile pictures are not found, for example you could display your company logo instead.

Libravatar also support OpenID and is hosted on Gitorious.

You can either use their own services or directly install their project on your server.

The installation is not easy but all the steps can be found here.

Tox, the P2P Skype alternative oriented privacy

After all the NSA revelations from Edward Snowden, a lot of new projects have emerged aiming to protect our privacy, especially through robust end-to-end encryption.

One of my first article on this blog was to present a serious opensource alternative to Skype, the quite popular Jitsi. Still actively developed, it’s probably the most promising alternative. But the objective of the project is not purely oriented on the privacy (Although they have good support of OTR and others encryption types).

It is more the case of Tox.

Indeed, with the revelation of governmental surveillance programs, Tox, a FOSS initiative  is aiming to be an easy and all-in-one communication platform that ensure and respect the privacy of their users.

tox p2p messaging screenshot

Decentralized by using torrent-style DHT, Tox directly uses UDP connections (better for Hole punching) and add encryption to it.

Tox supports messaging, calls and videos but note that it is still in alpha (So do expect some bugs)

It has been developed by a group of 4chan members and the project is hosted on Github.

If you are interested to give it a shot, here is their download page.

For more information, you can directly access their wiki.

List of alternatives to Google and co for your own server

search engine logoGoogle Search having probably more than 70% market share followed by Bing and Yahoo, Google tends to be unavoidable….but it exists quite a lot of robust alternatives and I wanted to share some of them here.


Obvisouly DuckDuckGo have become quite popular after all the revelation about PRISM, NSA surveillance, etc….. and after testing it for several weeks, I’m quite happy with it, although its was tough to change my habits and I even felt the relevancy of answers was not so good as I was used to the “selected” (Called it restricted) contents from Google (based on my previous history). But actually I’m now very happy¬† to see the web from a fresh eye!

If you’re not a big fan of DuckDuckGo, I recommend you to give a try to Ixquick or StartPage. (Many more exists tho)

But hey, this is a blog on self hosting or managing your own server…DuckDuckGo is great, but how about having my own search engine?

Basically, you can have 2 types of search engine:

1) The Meta search engine, using the indexes of others search engine (They crawl the web and the meta search engine will use their database to deliver you the content).

It’s usually a light application with a good accuracy (Large number of indexed websites, usually from Google, Yahoo or Bing). Hence you got most of the web under a single click with some added features (Compared to google, etc..) such as privacy or even collaborative. However, you fully rely on the 3rd party databases. If Google remove a website from its database, then you cannot see it.

2) The “real” search engine, clearly like Google and co. Meaning you will need to crawl the web and index it before doing a search. The benefits are a total censorship-free, independence and privacy, however as you can expect, crawling the web is a long job and you won’t be able to compete with Google’s billions of pages indexed and million servers….

Actually, expect for intranet or if you want to have your own search engine restricted in few websites that you can crawl by yourself, I don’t see much reasonable alternatives except the great Yacy (Peer to Peer search engine) that I will detail (and write a tutorial) later.

Here is the list of meta/search engines that worth a try:

1) Meta Search Engine

Searx, opensource meta search engine protecting your privacy with parallel query for faster response, Duckduckgo like !bang functionality with engine shortcuts and many more.

Seeks, opensource collaborative distributed (p2p) search engine that ranks results by social consensus (filter)

MySearch, opensource simple meta search engine (Minimalist design) and respecting your privacy.

2) Search Engine

Yacy, decentralized and censorship free, Yacy allow you to crawl your part of the internet and share your index on p2p. The more people running a node, the faster and more complete it become. (My favourite Search Engine!)


Well, I have to say I didn’t find many still maintained search engines so far, but I’ll continue to look for. if you know any other good ones, please share them on the comment section!


google search engine question why