Disclaimer: I know that being a developer is hard, I’m not trying to say that people should start doing these ideas to please my desires. I just thought it was fun to have a list of ideas that could improve the libre software community and these are some of them that I would really love to see. If you have some other Ideas contribute as well, and if you are a developer and you are looking for something to do but don’t know what, you may gain some inspiration from here.

Projects that do not exist:

  • Libre and privacy respecting alternative to DeepL. Details: I know there are already some libre translators, but I will not stop using DeepL until there’s something as good as it.

  • Libre and privacy respecting alternative to Genius. Details: It’s a website where users create community based lyrics for their favourite artists and can create annotations and add metadata.

  • Libre and privacy respecting alternative to Goodreads. Details: It’s a website where you keep a log of what you’ve read, what you want to read and what you are reading, you can also rate books. Here is an alternative.

  • Libre and privacy respecting alternative to Grammarly. Details: It’s a set of applications or add-ons that help you with typos and it will improve your text.

  • Libre and privacy respecting alternative to Letterboxd. Details: t’s a website where you keep a log of what you’ve seen and what you want to see, you can also rate movies and TV shows.

  • Libre and privacy respecting alternative to Pixabay. Details: It’s a website where you can get images to use without copyright restrictions. I know CC has a website for this but their content is really poor.

  • Libre and privacy respecting alternative to Push notifications. Here is an alternative.

  • Libre and privacy respecting alternative to ReCaptcha.

  • Libre and privacy respecting alternative to Shazam. Details: It’s an application that tells you what you are listening if you let it listen to it

  • Libre and privacy respecting alternative to Unsplash. Details: It’s a website where you can upload and use photos of people that are licensed under a license that allows for use under most circumstances for free.

  • Libre and privacy respecting mouse gesture and radial menu to an operative system level. *Similar to Gesturefy and CompassMenu but in a way that it can work in any application. Look this video for more details since this is probably a really deep and hard to explain topic. Here is an alternative for the radial menu.

  • Libre and privacy respecting website where to upload and download 3D models licensed under a CC.

  • Libre and privacy respecting website where to play a lot of different card games. Details: Similar to Lichess. I am satisfied if you only can play poker until it gains some traction.

  • Fully libre and privacy respecting alternative to Xayn. Details: It’s an application that recommends you articles based on the input you give to the algorithm. Some of its code it’s liberated on GitHub, but not all of it.

  • Libre , decentralized and privacy respecting alternative to Imgur. Details: It would be great if this could work along the fediverse, for example people would host images there instead of here on Lemmy or Mastodon, making these platforms much more lightweight.

  • Libre, privacy respecting and not self hostable visual bookmark manager. *Details: There are a few alternatives here and there, maybe, but they are really awful looking and generally you need to self host. I don’t know how to self host and it would probably make my machine slower, I would prefer something that someone’s alreay hosting. This is exactly like what I’m looking for, but they haven’t launched it yet since they don have enough resources, it could die, too, maybe.

Projects that exist but have some issues:

  • A set of common android apps. Details: I know there are a are a lot of basic Android applications to replace the default ones that come with your phone but I feel someone should create a set that align the aesthetics of them to be coherent with each other. I know Tibor Kaputa does this, but in my opinion I would like something that looks a bit more modern and that has more features, since theirs are based around minimalism. For example, the camera application does not have as many options as my default one, etc.

  • Libre, privacy respecting, aesthetic and functional map application. Details: I haven’t been able to find a working application to see maps, I generally end up using DDG’s in browser map because of this. The only one that worked was one calle Maps which was a fork of a really good one (but it was filled with proprietary and other shady stuff ) but it stopped working after some time. I mention the aesthetic parts because I want to be able to recommend this to people who wouldn’t use it otherwise if it looks like something really “primitive”.

  • Revive waifu2x as a serious project. Details: I really love this website, but I really hate the whole idea of the waifu thing, it is misogynous and I feel like unprofessional.

  • Libre, privacy respecting and highly customizable home launcher. Details: I know there are a ton of home launchers for Android, but most of them focus on minimalism or simplicity, I don’t want that, I want a super customizable full of features application that can let me do almost anything. The closest to this was Lawnchair which is dead, luckily Omega launcher exists now and it looks like it’ll be able to achieve this, but it’s not there yet.

  • Revive AquaDroid Details: It is a really beautiful application but it has some bugs, not so many features and development has halted.

  • @testman@lemmy.ml
    73 years ago

    It would be great if there was a website where people could propose ideas like this, and also vote on the proposed ideas. That way we would have a good community-wide overview of which projects do most people want to see happen. Instead of getting an “I wish this kind of project would exist” post every now and then on some random part of the internet.

  • @Micalet@lemmy.ml
    63 years ago

    Grammarly FOSS alternative: https://languagetool.org/ Multilanguage (It recognizes which one are you using, that is very useful for me as I use 3 - Catalan, Castilian, and English -) and it is sponsored by the European Union

    • Jomn
      13 years ago

      For French, Grammalecte is also nice. What I like about it is that I can very easily make it work with Emacs and AucTeX.

    • ghost_laptopOP
      23 years ago

      Yes, someone already recommended it to me and I’m using it, I love it! I’m going to edit the post when I have some time.

  • Nathan John Cooper
    32 years ago

    Fantastic list! I would love to find an open-source, decentralised alternative to iMDB/Letterboxd for tracking movies. If anyone knows of one, let me know!

  • ufra
    33 years ago

    These type of lists are good for deveopers who are looking for new ideas. This would be a good community/sub in its own right.

    • ghost_laptopOP
      23 years ago

      Yeah, something like opensource/libreideas or something like that.

  • Alex
    22 years ago

    For grammarly, check out LanguageTool. For ReCaptcha, chech out Friendlycaptcha

  • @southerntofu@lemmy.ml
    23 years ago

    Wow, so after all is said, the list is really long for me. I’ll also try to take from other posts other ideas that interest me and put them here. Turns out it’s too long for Lemmy (lol) so i’ll post as subcomments of this one.

    • @southerntofu@lemmy.ml
      53 years ago


      • a native, bloatfree Scratch implementation for free operating systems


      • a free-hardware/software 2D printer that’s easily operable/repairable with refillable inkslots (no cartridges) and serious driver support on all systems (seriously has no one done that yet?)
      • DIY pagers with:
        • encrypted/authenticated payloads
        • mesh-like hopping possible for smaller messages
        • additional latency & noise added for social graph obfuscation
        • support for DIY base stations

      There’s also a lot of stuff that needs reverse-engineering/hacking:

      • free-software wifi drivers for all chipsets (Linux kernel is not entirely free and strongly relies on binary blobs for hardware support)
      • libreboot support for many motherboards
      • mainline kernel support for smartphones so they can be supported by distros such as PostMarketOS or Replicant
      • free-software collections of rooting/unlocking tools for smartphones so you don’t get stuck with shitty/invasive Google/Samsung apps (bloatware) on second-hand hardware
      • free-software hacks and alternative OS for John Deere tractors and other shitty electronic-stuffed cars

      Other cool stuff

      • a simple, hackable specification system where integration tests reside within the specification document itself (see my draft here for more ideas on that)
      • a pad manager, to easily export/transpose pads from Etherpad/CodiMD/Cryptpad to different sources, and automatically trigger actions, either on everychange or when a revision is tagged (two previous early experiments here and here)
      • Helix
        13 years ago

        a native, bloatfree Scratch implementation for free operating systems

        If you’re not confined to Scratch, there are other block-based coding platforms such as Edublocks.

        EduBlocks displays the Python text on the block so you can see exactly what you’re coding.

      • @icyflea@lemmy.ml
        03 years ago

        Isn’t Scratch already open source? I know before 2.0 it was made in Java and so there were cool forks of it like BYOB and Panther. A nice feature of online scratch, however, is the ability to “remix” (fork) projects, which teaches kids the benefits of open source.

        • @xarvos@lemmy.ml
          23 years ago

          It’s a bloated JavaScript app. The version 2 even required Adobe AIR. Also it’s not packaged for GNU/Linux.

    • @southerntofu@lemmy.ml
      43 years ago


      I really love the Rust programming language. It’s at the same time very approachable (unlike Haskell), very strict in the no-footgun policy (unlike C) and very performant (unlike Python). However, in the little time i’ve been doing Rusty things, i’ve longed for some libraries:

      • a simple plaintext foldeR/file database (hierarchical key-value store), so that settings remain human-readable, as well as machine-interpretable from simple shell scripts
      • a hook-based plugin system to integrate in Rust programs (to extend applications)
      • an Ansible-like high-level abstraction for sysadmin, but in pure rust (no YAML please), so you can compile your sysadmin script into strictly-typed Infrastructure-As-Code
      • parsing and overriding a Config struct from several sources (CLI flags, ENV variables, and a config file)
      • abstractions over several federated social networking vocabularies/protocols (ActivityPub, XMPP, Matrix) so we can write better bridges/bots
      • a library that abstracts over common markup formats (Markdown, AsciiDoc, HTML, org-mode…)
      • a library that abstracts over JSON/YAML/TOML parsing, with support for custom delimiters (eg --- for YAML)

      Rust is a language with interesting properties. Here’s a few ideas for actual programs i’d like to see in Rust:

      • a consistent, modern Desktop Environment as a library (with CLI utilities, and TUI/graphical frontends)
      • bridges/gateways between different federated networks (IRC<->Matrix<->Jabber/XMPP<->ActivityPub)
      • clients/servers for those federated networks
      • a server-agnostic pad client (library and TUI) for Etherpad/CodiMD/Cryptpad/Gobby
      • a modern web browser without client-side scripting or other anti-features
    • @southerntofu@lemmy.ml
      3 years ago


      I really appreciate emulators, but what i would really like to see is free-software, hackable reimplementations for really cool old-school multiplayer games:

      • Trackmania
      • (see FreeCS) Half-Life engine (CS 1.6, anyone?)
      • Super Mario Kart
      • Super Smash Bros

      Why reimplementations not emulators? Because then you can extend the game and make new games from it! You’re not stuck with a binary ROM dictating all the fun you should have.

      • poVoq
        13 years ago

        Actually most of these do have open-source counter-parts or re-implemenations.

        Stunt Rally (somewhat abandoned, looking for new maintainers)

        FreeCS (runs CS 1.5, recent versions also generally HL1 compatible)


        SuperTuxParty (not sure about that one, never played Super Smash Bros)

        • @southerntofu@lemmy.ml
          13 years ago

          Thanks i just added FreeCS to the original post. The others appear to be just clones not reimplementations, and SuperTuxParty would be a clone of Mario Party, not Super Smash Bros.

            • @southerntofu@lemmy.ml
              13 years ago

              It’s different. Many people are familiar with historic games and like the quirks of them. But yes i appreciate original free-software games as well :)

    • @southerntofu@lemmy.ml
      33 years ago

      Decentralized/Federated networks

      We may use all the free-software we like, as long as we’re stuck on centralized servers we’re never gonna win the battle against Silicon Valley startups.

      • a decentralized software forge (see forgefed, libervia or radicle for PoC)
      • more and more robust bridges/gateways between federated networks (IRC<->XMPP/Jabber<->matrix<->ActivityPub)
      • a protocol-agnostic nomadic identity system (inspired by ZOT):
        • to advertise the different services/servers/addresses you can be reached at
        • so federated clients/servers can automatically “migrate” you to another server should you request it with a cryptographically-signed request (account migration keeping history/contacts)
      • allow client connections with tokens, who open a session with only specific permissions (cannot do everything on your account)
      • allow/facilitate identity/service decoupling for ActivityPub (so you don’t need separate accounts for Mastodon, Peertube, PixelFed, Funkwhale)
      • support for server altnames (being reachable over .onion, .i2p as the same account) as well as clasic aliases
    • @southerntofu@lemmy.ml
      13 years ago

      OS / Desktop

      • a graphical tool for package management (seriously this is the only reason non-techie folks use Ubuntu)
        • super easy UI for your grandparents/grandchildren
        • supports multiple distros and comes preinstalled with most
        • super easy UI for multiple packaging systems (distro, nix/guix/appimage/flatpak…) and custom repositories (why can’t we have a single URI containing repo and security bootstrapping info like keys, like F-Droid does?)
        • minimal dependencies so it runs well across distros/desktops
      • a graphic tool for encrypted backups to/from your friends
        • configurable M-out-of-N recovery
        • everything is encrypted and signed
        • works offline-first (zeroconf, mesh setup…)
        • does NAT traversal just fine when online
        • optionally, route everything through a proxy (VPN/Tor)
        • per-friend quotas
        • different secret groups, where each secret you add in a group is encrypted for the public keys of its members following Shamir’s secret sharing algorithm, so you never ever loose a secret of yours (just ask M-of-N friends to decrypt their part of the secret for you)
      • out-of-the-box copy paste support integrated with the desktop environment for all CLI tools (this year is 2021, not 1985)
      • a extensible hackable library to build desktop environments in a static-typed/compiled language (like Rust) with minimal dependencies/runtime and integrated support for modern desktop features: (in idea similar to GNOME, radically-different implementation)
        • multiple frontends (TUI/graphical)
        • settings panel with categories (privacy, hardware, etc)
        • declarative settings (keybindings, text editor preferences, MIME settings, etc)
        • multiple workspaces, with an emphasis on supporting multiple settings profiles (and identities) within the same session (whether per-session, per-workspace or per-window is up to each implementation)
        • identity/authorization manager with multiple identities support
        • CLI utilities
    • @southerntofu@lemmy.ml
      13 years ago


      • an extensible static-site generator, that’s very low on ressources that supports:
        • many input formats (Markdown/AsciiDoc/org-mode)
        • many output formats (HTML, gemini, RSS/Atom)
        • good translations support, with multiple integrations (Fluent, Weblate, gettext, JSON…)
        • a sane templating engine (not go templates please)
        • diffing through a DVCS (git, mercurial, darcs, pijul…) to provide incremental builds, so even huge sites are not a problem (think static site output for your favorite federated social network)
      • a bloatfree modern web browser
        • no client-side scripting at all (WASM/JS)
        • extended support for HTTP authentication and HTTP signatures client side (so you should not need client-side scripting at all)
        • support for multiple frontends (terminal with SIXEL for images and mouse support for links, graphical…)
        • modern HTML5/CSS3:
          • without any kind of support for 3rd-party requests (only the server you actually want to connect to can serve you content)
          • with mobile-first CSS and only media queries allowed for larger screens / pixel depths (with a default to not load higher-quality resources, for privacy/bandwidth reasons)
          • with CSS themes support (as advertised by the server, not just light/dark themes)
          • with an additional property to indicate that a stylesheet is entirely semantic CSS (no classes/ids), in which case the browser has a setting to use a local CSS theme instead (for accessibility reasons mostly)
        • support for multiple domain names / network transports / security layers / file formats:
          • DNS + HTTP/Gemini + TLS/Plaintext + HTML/GemFile/RSS/Atom (etc)
          • GNS + HTTP/Gemini + DANE + HTML/GemFile/RSS/Atom (etc)
          • .onion/.i2p + HTTP/Gemini + HTML/GemFile/RSS/Atom (etc)
          • .ipns/.ipfs + HTML/GemFile/RSS/Atom (etc)
        • multiple profile/containers/identities, per-tab, per-window or per-session with a profile switcher
    • @southerntofu@lemmy.ml
      13 years ago


      • a simple, hackable CI/CD system that can interoperate with almost everything (see my PoC here)
      • a declarative selfhosting platform with (draft for more on semantic selfhosting, two PoC of mine: 1/2):
        • a standard specification for host configuration (hostname, aliases, enabled services, user management)
        • multiple implementations (ansible, nix, GNU/guix, Rust, etc)
        • high level specifications for services (eg webserver, nameserver) with interchangeable implementation (apache, nginx, caddy…)
        • support for alternative transports and names (.onion, .i2p)
        • support for offline/mesh services (act as a router) alla FreedomBone/PirateBox
        • strong support for social replication, eg. trusting other selfhosted servers/techcoops to provide secondary services (NS, MX, backup)
        • good support for multi-user with:
          • Single Sign On on services that support it (usually web services)
          • federated identity providers (OpenID Connect, OAuth 2.0, XMPP)
          • user groups for filesharing, and for other services to use (eg. to create chatrooms)
          • CLI/TUI tooling to edit your personal settings
          • disk quotas
          • maximum number of vhosts
        • bring-your-own-domain support:
          • users can configure their own vhosts for services (DNS, WWW, Jabber, email) and have everything configured automatically
          • users can manage virtual users on those vhosts
          • user quota applies so a user cannot take too much disk space with their vhosts
        • translations server-side (server config and deploy tool) and client-side (configuration files and built-in utilities)
        • a solid automated test suite that focused on high-level integration tests (eg. account was created and service was reachable with this account, federation to another server was possible over such protocol…) ; unit tests are left for specific implementations
  • SeerLite
    13 years ago

    I’d love to see an open source mood tracker (for mobile)

  • @xarvos@lemmy.ml
    13 years ago

    For grammarly there is LanguageTool. There are browser add-ons, libreoffice plugin, and command line tool for checking plain text