Purism has been working remote since we started in 2014. Here’s our list of essential free software for remote work, all can be self hosted or used via various hosted options.
Chat, Calls and Video Conferencing
Team chat has already become an essential tool for teams looking to be more collaborative and less reliant on email. At Purism we use Matrix for team chat, 1 to 1 calls, video conferencing via Jitsi (open source video conferencing), adhoc file sharing and all our community chat channels. Matrix is a distributed (federated) network, similar to email, which means you can communicate across Matrix servers and compatible services.
You can self host Matrix or use a public instance like our own free Librem Chat service part of Librem One. All the goodness of Matrix conveniently hosted for you and accessible with one account that also gives you access to Librem Social, our hosted Mastodon instance, and our premium services: end-to-end encrypted email and VPN.
We use Mumble for weekly team calls and general large group audio conferencing. We really like its low bandwidth requirements and found it scales really well for our all-hands meeting.
Our primary social channel is on our free Librem Social service powered by Mastodon. Like Matrix, Mastodon is a distributed (federated) network, so you can create an account on one of the many public servers or host your own instance and still communicate across instances. Setting up a private company Mastadon can be a great way for everyone to share their days.
In addition to our community chat and social channels we have Discourse forums for our various products and support. Forums are great for long term conversations not suitable for chat. If you are new to remote work try out both team chat and forums to see what works for your team.
Project Management and DevOps
At Purism we have a pledge that all our software and hardware will be free/libre and open source. We host our own GitLab Community Edition instance for our source code, project management, support and DevOps. GitLab also has powerful user and group management which makes it easy to work with hundreds of active community contributors. For PureOS we also host phabricator for ticketing.
Content Authoring and Publishing
Our various web properties use WordPress for content authoring but we publish static sites for security and speed. We are looking to migrate to pure static site generators in the future but WordPress has been an essential tool for us to launch products and share updates with the community.
Calendar and Files
We heavily use NextCloud internally for our calenders, event scheduling, general file storage and collaborating on documents.
At Purism we use PureOS, our secure GNU/Linux operating system based on Debian. PureOS comes with many security improvements over a default setup from the average Linux distribution. There’s support for our TPM chips and Librem Key. We’ve also enabled AppArmor for more secure apps and we’ve created a better, safer browsing experience by blocking ads and enforcing HTTPS everywhere. See the PureOS wiki to learn more about the extensive security features in PureOS.
PureOS is the same operating system we run on our Librem laptops, servers, our recently announced Librem Mini and even on our Librem 5 smartphone. Yes that’s right, the Librem 5 runs a complete desktop Linux experience with access to the same rich app ecosystem.
Most office-based teams already have email and things like a company newsletter but we thought we’d share how we manage ours. Our company email and Librem Mail are powered by Dovecot and we use GNU Mailman for our newsletter and mailing lists. We also have an internal wiki based on wiki.js.
If you’d like to know more about how we work remotely let us know on social, chat or our forums.