Microsoft’s stance for decades was that community creation and sharing of communal code (later to be known as free and open source software) represented a direct attack on their business. Their battle with Linux stretches back many years. Back in 2001, former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer famously tarnished Linux “a cancer that attaches itself in an intellectual property sense to everything it touches”. Microsoft also initiated its “Get the Facts” marketing campaign from mid-2003, which specifically criticized Linux server usage, total cost of ownership, security, indemnification and reliability. The campaign was widely criticized for spreading misinformation.
However, in recent years, there has been a partial shift by Microsoft to embrace the open source software paradigm. For example, some of their code is open sourced. Examples include Visual Studio Code, .NET Framework, Atom, and PowerShell. They have also made investments in Linux development, server technology and organizations including the Linux Foundation and Open Source Initiative. They have made acquisitions such as Xamarin to help mobile app development, and GitHub a hugely popular code repository for open source developers. And they have partnered with Canonical, the developers of the popular Ubuntu distro. But many developers remain hugely sceptical about Microsoft and their apparent shift to embrace open source.
This series looks at the best free and open source alternatives to products and services offered by Microsoft.
is a web search engine owned and operated by Microsoft. The service has its origins in Microsoft’s previous search engines: MSN Search, Windows Live Search and later Live Search. Bing provides a variety of search services, including web, video, image and map search products. It is developed using ASP.NET.
There are lots of alternatives to Bing. We only recommend the best free alternatives to Bing in this article.
1. Google Search
Google Search is a hugely popular web search engine with more than 92% market share.
But there are many who are concerned about how the service tracks them. If you believe that Google invades your privacy, what other alternatives do we recommend?
Startpage is a Dutch-based Google search alternative that stakes its reputation as a privacy search option. The service actually retrieves its search results from Google, paying them to get a feed of links for any search. Startpage submits your query to Google anonymously, then returns Google results to you privately. Google never sees you and does not know who made the request; they only see Startpage. Obviously using Startpage doesn’t break away from Google’s ecosystem.
DuckDuckGo collates data from hundreds of sources including Wolfram Alpha, Wikipedia and Bing, with their own proprietary web crawler, to surface the most relevant results. Google does exactly the same, albeit on a somewhat larger scale. The main difference is that DuckDuckGo does not store IP addresses or user information. There isn’t storing or tracking of a user’s search history. Therefore there is no profiling of users, and all users see the same search results for a specific search term. Some of DuckDuckGo’s source code is open source published under the Apache 2.0 License, but the core is proprietary.
Qwant is another search engine that sets its store by claiming it doesn’t employ user tracking or personalize search results. As Qwant is based in France, users gain some protection due to tighter European privacy laws.
All articles in this series:
|Alternatives to Microsoft's Products and Services|
|GitHub||Distributed version control and source code management functionality of Git|
|OneNote||Note-taking program for free-form information gathering and collaboration|
|Project||Develop schedules, assign resource, track progress, manage budget +|
|Yammer||Social-networking platform for organizations|
|Bing||Search services, including web, video, image and map search products|
|OneDrive||File hosting service and synchronization service|
|Outlook||Personal information manager that's primarily an email client.|
|Office||Family of client software, server software, and services|
|Dynamics 365||Enterprise resource planning and customer relationship management|
|New to Linux? Read our Linux for Starters series.|
|The largest compilation of the best free and open source software in the universe. Supplied with our legendary ratings charts.|
|Hundreds of in-depth reviews offering our unbiased and expert opinion on software.|
|Alternatives to Google's Products and Services examines your options to migrate from the Google ecosystem with open source Linux alternatives.|
|Alternatives to Microsoft's Products and Services recommends open source Linux software.|
|Alternatives to Adobe Cloud is a new series looking at free and open source alternatives to products available from Adobe Cloud's subscription service.|
|Essential Linux system tools looks at small, indispensable utilities, useful for system administrators as well as regular users.|
|Linux utilities to maximise your productivity. Small, indispensable tools, useful for anyone running a Linux machine.|
|Home computers became commonplace in the 1980s. Emulate home computers including the Commodore 64, Amiga, Atari ST, ZX81, Amstrad CPC, and ZX Spectrum.|
|Now and Then examines how promising open source software fared over the years.|
|Linux at Home looks at a range of home activities where Linux can play its part, making the most of our time at home, keeping active and engaged.|
|Linux Candy opens up to the lighter side of Linux. Have some fun!|
|Best Free Android Apps. There's a strict eligibility criteria for inclusion in this series|
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|These free tutorials offer the perfect tonic to the free programming books series|
|Stars and Stripes is an occasional series looking at the impact of Linux in the USA|