Web Development - Linux - Digital Freedom


Eric Rohler Profile Pic

I am an accounting nerd that fell into programming by accident. Professionally, I started after accepting a job in 2010 where I built productivity tools for Fund Accountants at a large investment bank. Before this, I had always enjoyed using technology but after I learned to program I realized that I had a passion for it. It is the enjoyment I receive when solving problems using creativity and logic. So, follow along and find out how I build web application using open source.

Currently, I am a Senior Technical Support Engineer at Progress working with the Telerik UI for AJAX, UI for Blazor, Reporting and Fiddler tools. It is an amazing job and I finally found something technical that fits my background. The role requires me to wear many hats like my technical hat and/or consulting hat.

Web Development

I started building websites in 2009 using Flash/AS3 when that was cool. I started because I wanted to build a portfolio website for my design work. However, Adobe Creative Cloud was eventually released and has always been my in my design toolkit. As a result, I started using Behance shortly thereafter. Please note, that my portfolio is where my current work is located but I am working on moving this off as I become more digitally free.

Currently, for my static websites, I am using Jekyll. Which I really enjoy. Using it has made building websites fun again. For dynamic websites, I like ASP.NET. Couple this with my current position I get to learn new technologies quite often.


I recently started using Linux which made me realize just how much data I was just handing over to these big tech companies, Google, Microsoft, Apple, etc. As a result, I moved all of my emails and files out of their servers, aka cloud. For example, when I switched to Linux I wanted to have a native experience with Android and moved all of my files off of OneDrive and onto Google Drive. This made me extremely anxious. I had been using Microsoft and its proprietary systems for a long time. Technically, since 2003 when I was introduced to MS Office during college but I have used their cloud platform since 2011. The anxiety I felt when moving half a terabyte of data from MS to Google made me realize that whatever ecosystem one chooses, they own you, 100%. This also angered me. To me, there are no ‘necessary evils’ and handing my digital life over to a company is stupid. Alas, I switched to Linux from Windows 10, and do not use their services. Follow my blog and learn how I removed these giant tech companies from my life.

Currently, I use Fedora as my daily driver and have since moved my productivity over to Nextcloud. This means I own all of my data.

Digital Freedom

We as consumers need to take control of our data and be weary of the information we provide these giant TRILLION dollar tech companies. Seriously, a TRILLION dollars? After I switched to Linux, I asked what good have these companies done for us? If you use their email services, they are reading them or reading the metadata about them. If you use their clouds, they are viewing the files or analyzing the metadata about them. If you use their phones, they are tracking you, the phone, calls, text messages and pictures. If you buy their movies and tv shows from their streaming services, you don’t own these items. They do. You are renting them at the same price of buying them out right. On top of that, they are tracking each time you watch the show and on what device you watch it on. If you use Siri, Google Assistant, Alexa or Cortana, they are tracking your every input, command and question. Using anything by these companies removes all of your digital freedom. But we live in a free country to make our own choices and I will be detailing my choices here on my blog. So follow along.

Currently, I barely use any provider owned services. I use GrapheneOS which is a pure Google-Free Android operating system. I use Nextcloud for my cloud services. It integrates into Android, Windows and Linux so I get the same features as Office 365 or G-Suite.

It took me about 3 years to fully remove my personal digital information from these companies but I believe I am pretty much done with them. The only exception would be Xbox.