Non tech beginner - resources to get started on sovereign journey

Hi, I came across Start 9 because of my interest in bitcoin and wanting to escape from the tyranny of big tech in general. My business of 20 years has relied on google apps and facebook. I really liked the idea that Start 9 is for the non tech savvy to start the journey of detaching from that world. But, After having a look here at the topics it seems that ‘non tech’ used here has a different definition to what I have! To be honest I would probably have not said I am totally non tech when I compare myself to my peers but compared to what I see here, I may not even qualify as ‘non tech’, maybe more ‘sub tech’. I am really keen to set up my own server and be able to communicate still with the outside world (who are mostly on big tech systems) and not be compromised. I also have a fitness business which used digital marketing like facebook and google, both of which I really don’t like and would love to get rid of. I am not sure how to navigate this though. I love the idea of being ‘sovereign’ when it comes to computing both desktop and mobile, but just not really sure how to begin. I have so many questions. E.g. how do you integrate a mobile phone with your own server at home? Can you remain sovereign and still use google apps or do I find other free ones to replace that and never use google again? Can I use my computer without Windows (really don’t want to fund Gates in any way shape or form) and still communicate to others not on the same sovereign journey. There are so many jargon words used here too that a resource for tech dummies explaining what each terms is and means would also be super helpful. Any help from someone tech savvy but can still relate to those of us not in the same tech universe (or ball park even), which includes words and concepts like: nodes, distros, servers, clients, root CA’s, native apps, etc etc. Hopefully I am not in the wrong place :slight_smile: Thanks in advance.


Welcome to Sovereign Computing. I wouldn’t feel like you have to learn everything in one day. I would encourage you to watch some tutorials look through the guides and learn the basics. Maybe set up a Bitcoin node and connect a wallet. Then Vaultwarden is a great place to start. You can get your secure passwords away from Big Tech. Next you can learn NextCloud and learn how to sync your contacts and calendars. Getting involved with the growing Nostr network is a great way to expand your social network. But you don’t have to replace all of Big Tech in one day. It’s actually very difficult for any of us to do that. Also, many of our services rely on the Tor network for remote connections, but with upcoming releases, clearnet (regular internet) will be accessible. This will really be helpful for small business owners with websites and the need to access the public. So you are just in time. As you learn the basics more use cases will open up. We also have great customer support on Telegram Telegram: Contact @start9_labs and we have official staff monitoring it. Reach out to us anytime. I will also leave you a good tutorial from BTC sessions. He is a great teacher and has the ability to break things down so anyone can understand.


Thanks Rick. Appreciate your message. And yes wise words. I can imagine, this will take time and one step at a time is the way to look at it, for sure.

1 Like

Baby steps. De-googling your life is an on-going process. As with any change you’ll immediately notice what you’re giving up, but it takes a while to realize what you have gained. The goal is not absolute sovereignty, or privacy. But just to increase both. I agree with Rick that a StartOS server with Vaultwarden and Nextcloud, would be a great place to start your journey. Start with something like your passwords, and your address book. See how that works for a while, then and expand from there. We’re here to hold your hand along the way.

1 Like

#1 for PRIVACY = Get a deGoogled and deCrAppled phone. That is likely your primary device tracking, listening, datamining you 24/7. Either:

  1. buy one already done for you (Above, Rob Braxman, eBay, etc…)
  2. or install your own OS such as Graphene, Calyx, Lineage, etc…

And regardless: for your health, keep it in flight mode (cell, wifi, and bluetooth OFF) and away from your body as much as possible when ON. This also reduces it from being caught in meta-data databases from cell triangulation, and wifi and bluetooth captures.

1 Like

Thanks freedom for your message. Appreciate it for sure. Sorry I am really not fast on the uptake here so don’t get some of the things.

When you mention done for you and suggest ‘Above, Rob Braxman etc’ are you referencing brands of phone? Also you talk about installing my on OS such as Graphene, Calyx, Is that phone software. I would use start9 on the desktop right?

Thanks for advice around flight mode too.

Again thanks for taking the time to respond to a rank beginner here.

Good on you Rexter for your message. Much appreciated. Sensible too. I do imagine it would be difficult and yeah may be impossible to have anything absolute in the privacy and sovereignty area. Apologies ahead of time if this is a dumb question highlighting again just how little I know here :slight_smile: Does having the server with my sensitive data on it make it hidden from any interaction online when using my main computer. Is it like kind of hiding it but having so I can use what ever files I want by bringing them across to the computer from the server as needed. Does bringing it across mean it is then exposed and no longer secure? Another quick cheeky question (or 2!). Again probably obvious. But does everyone who are degoogling and de microsofting use alternate free office type programs? Would I copy all my existing google drive docs in to this alternate program. Currently I pay google $40+ per month to use google suite or whatever they call it. I assume also I can host my own email on my new server and get all my documents off google. I have run a personal training studio business for 20 years and have a heap of stuff on google. Daunting to see how to get off there. My first major goal is to see if I can get off all recurring payment stuff from google, microsoft, windows, website hosting etc. Thanks again Rexter. I’m up for the challenge here and I know it will take time. Daunting but exciting and challenging too.

1 Like

These are all mobile devices. AbovePhone and Rob Braxman essentially sell Android phones that run GrapheneOS or CalyxOS, which you can also install to a phone yourself at no cost. StartOS is specifically for running servers, and is not a desktop OS. You may like to try something like Ubuntu, Mint, or PopOS for desktop Linux. You can also use any of these, as well as vanilla Android, iOS, MacOS, or Windows with your StartOS server. Your client devices are entirely up to you.

1 Like

I’m not quite sure what you mean by hidden from interaction, but it does allow you to interact with your data privately. When you use corporate cloud services, they have the ability to see all of your activity. If they don’t like what you are doing they have the ability to lock you out of your own data. You essentially have to ask them for permission every day. By using your own server instead, you have much more control, and much more privacy.

1 Like

Once you’ve removed your files from Microsoft’s, or Google’s cloud, you can access the files with whatever programs you’d like. For example, I use Nexcloud to sync my files between all my devices. I then use Libe Office as my office suite.

1 Like

Email has been corporate captured in way that is largely considered a nonredeemable state. I don’t know of a self hosting email suite such as Mailcow, that ha been packaged for StartOS. I’d love to see one come available. But running the software on your own hardware is the easy part. The trouble is getting Google’s, and Microsoft’s corporate email servers(which practically all of your friends, family, and associates use) to communicate with your home server, on what is supposed to be a decentralized open protocol.

“My first major goal is to see if I can get off all recurring payment stuff from google, microsoft, windows, website hosting etc.”

As of StartOS 0.3.5 the only public facing interface for a website is through TOR. This may change in future releases. But your home Internet connection may not be adequate to host a business website.

I agree with what start9dave said in clarifying my post.

Furthermore, just to make sure you have the most foundational part: “OS” stands for “Operating System”.

Your devices are just dead hardware, until they get both power, and some sort of software “system” to tie together and “operate” all the various sub-components (processor, memory, wifi, camera, inputs, outputs, whatever it has).

So I was referring to just the possible OS’s available for your phone devices. You can buy the phone with the OS already installed, or you can install it yourself… which is not always easy, and can even “brick” or permanently disable (make unbootable), the device if done wrong. (You can sell it for parts on eBay maybe at that point and buy another one…)
So that’s why many people buy them already with the privacy OS installed, ready to go. And with other great privacy software already installed too.

Those concepts apply to phones & tablets, and also desktops & laptops, which have different types of OS’s: Apple, Windows, Linux, etc… start9dave mentioned a few Linux OS’s: Ubuntu, Mint, PopOS (I personally decided on Fedora instead of any of those three).

Then there’s also other devices like Raspberry Pi and all those similar devices, which can also have various OS’s installed on them.

StartOS can be used on a few of these different categories too (laptop, desktop, RasPi or similar) but essentially it seems limited to serving data for the suite of various software packages added to it. But it’s not like much bigger and fuller Windows, Apple, or Linux OS’s.

You can install it yourself on your own device, or buy one with it installed already for you.

I’m learning constantly too, and frequently screw things up. This is all super cutting edge compared to the rest of the world.

I also use LibreOffice, and have for a couple-few years now. It’s good enough for the vast majority of document work. Still missing helpful things, but it gets better over time too.

I also use Thunderbird instead of Outlook. It’s frustrating and only a fraction of the quality of Outlook, but barely good enough for me to tolerate instead of having Microsoft datamining everything about me.

Of course I use a privately paid email service too (Rob Braxman’s BraxMail), instead of gmail or similar. It had hiccups at first, and period issues with govt agencies that don’t acknowledge it, but that’s a good sign to me.

I guess it’s all subjective, or maybe since I’ve been using it since the StarOffice days, it just feels comfortable and familiar. I like LibreOffice better than Microsoft Office. It’s just better in my opinion. MS Office’s UI is a dumpster file. As far as Outlook? I’ll take Thunderbird hands down. I support Outlook in my IT day job. If all my clients took my advice, and used Thunderbird, I’d lose 1/3 of the business I do n a daily basis. Luck for me, they don’t. Outlook issues keep me busy, and fed.

I use Protonmail. I’ve never had a problem getting my emails through. But I’m fully aware that they have access to all incoming, and outgoing mail. Not even to mention the server on the other side, usually gmail. But I’m more comfortable knowing that my 10+ years of archives are not just sitting there for the taking.

Thank you Wispy! I’m in the exact same boat. I bought my first computer (an original 128k Mac) in 1984, but when I bought my Start9 server I felt totally inept!

Hope everybody will keep the info coming. I believe you’re assisting many more in addition to me and Wispy.

Funny how you are such an Outlook master that you won’t use it.

I wonder how many WIndows and Apple employees go home to use Linux instead? LOL

I would not consider myself an Outlook master. But yea, the last thing I want to do after a long day at work, is go home, and fix stupid problems on my own computer. :wink:

I use the tool that best for the job. If I used an exchange based mail service, maybe I’d use Outlook. But it’s simply the wrong tool for everything else. But I’m happy to keep getting paid to fix that crescent wrench, so people can stir their scrambled eggs.

It’s getting a bit off the path for StartOS topics, but just one of my fav Thunderbird plugins ever. Without it I would simply refuse to use Tbird. It makes the worthless one line header look like the awesome ones from Outlook/Microsoft. I HATE any email that doesn’t because they all fail to keep a proper record of TO, CC, BCC etc.