NewPipe represents the best of FOSS

Published 2019-04-02 on Drew DeVault's blog

NewPipe is a free and open-source Android application for browsing & watching YouTube. In my opinion, NewPipe is a perfect case-study in why free & open source software is great and how our values differ from proprietary software in important ways. There’s one simple reason: it’s better than the proprietary YouTube app, in every conceivable way, for free.

NewPipe is better because it’s user-centric software. It exists to make its users lives better, not to enrich its overseers. Because of this, NewPipe has many features which are deliberately omitted from the proprietary app, such as:

  • No advertisements1
  • Playing any video in the background
  • Downloading videos (or their audio tracks alone) to play offline
  • Playing videos in a pop-up player
  • Subscribing to channels without a YouTube account
  • Importing and exporting subscriptions
  • Showing subscriptions in chronological order
  • It supports streaming services other than YouTube!2

YouTube supports some of these… for $12/month. Isn’t that a bit excessive? Other features it doesn’t support at all. On top of that, YouTube is constantly gathering data about you and making decisions which put their interests ahead of yours, whereas NewPipe never phones home and consistently adds new features that put users first. The proprietary app is exploitative of users, and NewPipe is empowering users.

There are a lot of political and philosophical reasons to use & support free and open source software. Sometimes it’s hard to get people on board with FOSS by pitching them these first. NewPipe is a great model because it’s straight up better, and better for reasons that make these philosophical points obvious and poignant. The NewPipe project was started by Christian Schabesberger, is co-maintained by a team of 6, and has been contributed to by over 300 people. You can donate here. NewPipe represents the best of our community. Thanks!

  1. Support your content creators with tools like Liberapay and Patreon! 

  2. At least in theory… basic SoundCloud support is working and more services are coming soon. 

Have a comment on one of my posts? Start a discussion in my public inbox by sending an email to ~sircmpwn/public-inbox@lists.sr.ht [mailing list etiquette]

Are you a free software maintainer who is struggling with stress, demanding users, overwork, or any other social problems in the course of your work? Please email me — I know how you feel, and I can lend a sympathetic ear and share some veteran advice.


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