What is Chatons? Chatons (French: kitten) is a France-originated collection of free online services which have commitment in Free Software and Privacy initiated by infamous France organization Framasoft. The services available are video calls, file sharing, collaborative editing, and link shortening. Together, it can be a real good alternative / replacement to Google services. However, at the moment it presented mostly in French so most people didn't know about it yet. It is the purpose of this article, to introduce Chatons to you all computer users in English language. This article starts with the practices, then examples, and ends with a short explanation. Let's start!

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Start

Go to entraide.chatons.org/en to start accessing the online services. It is the English portal of Chatons where we can quickly access free service among services we want. 

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1. Use Collaborative Writing


This is for you who want online authoring similar to Google Docs. You can think this like LibreOffice Writer but accessible with browser. Technology used here is Etherpad.
  • Focus on the COLLABORATIVE WRITING section.
  • Type a document name / team you wish e.g. myAuthorsTeam.
  • Click CREATE.
  • A text document will be opened.  You are ready to write.
  • Invite your writing friends by sharing the link to them and start editing. 

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2. Use Video Call


This is for you to hold online meeting e.g. classroom or work similar to Zoom. Technology used here is called Jitsi Meet.
  • Focus on the Video Conference section.
  • Type a room name you wish e.g. mySchoolWonderful.
  • Click CREATE
  • You entered a video call room. 
  • Finally, invite your friends by giving them the share link.

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3. Create Poll


This is for you who want an online survey or collaborating a schedule almost similar to Google Forms. Technology used here is Framadate. 
  • Focus on the Find A Schedule section.
  • Click CREATE A SURVEY.
  • Click MAKE A STANDARD POLL.
  • Make a poll title e.g. 'What is your operating system?' and fill everything else.
  • You can protect the poll with password by clicking Optional Parameters below it. Go next.
  • Fill up the choices (choice 1, 2, 3, ...). Click CREATE THE POLL.
  • Share the public link to your friends, students, or audience.

 

4. Use Collaborative Spreadsheet


This is for you who want to make spreadsheet documents similar to Microsoft Excel. You can use this like LibreOffice Calc but accessed via browser. Technology used here is Ethercalc.
  • Focus on the COLLABORATIVE SPREADSHEET section.
  • Type a document name you want e.g. ourStudentRecord if you want to make a classroom attendance for example.
  • Click CREATE.
  • A spreadsheet document will open.
  • Invite your friends to join writing by sharing the link.


5. Use File Sharing


This is for you who want to quickly share files to your friends like what you did perhaps with Google Drive or Dropbox.
  • Focus on the FILE SHARING section.
  • Click UPLOAD FILES.
  • Set the expiration date if you wish.
  • Upload your files.
  • Share the link to your friends.




6. Use Picture Sharing


This is for you who want to quickly share photos or images just like with Flickr. Technology used here is Lutim.
  • Focus on the PICTURE SHARING section.
  • Click UPLOAD PICTURES.
  • You should see Lutim page and drag & drop section there. 
  • Upload pictures you want and wait. 
  • Share the link to your friends.



7. Create Postit Board


This is the kanban board similar to Trello.
  • Focus on the POST-IT BOARD section.
  • Give this board a name e.g. ourKanbanBoard. 
  • Click CREATE.
  • Click (+) button on right side to add columns separated by dashed lines.
  • Name every column, e.g. yesterday | today | tomorrow.
  • Click (+) button the bottom side to add a note. Drag this note to a column.
  • Make more notes and drag them to the appropriate column.
  • Share this kanban board by giving the link to your friends. 

8. Create Short Link

  • Focus on the LINK SHORTENER section.
  • Click SHORTEN A LINK.
  • Paste a link into the box and click SHORTEN.
  • Shortened link created and share this link to your friends.


9. Create Secure Text 

  • Focus on the SECURE TEXT SHARING section. 
  • Click CREATE AN ENCRYPTED MESSAGE.
  • Paste or write everything you want there.
  • Select expiration time you want at the top.
  • Set a password at the top.
  • Share the link of this text to your friends.



Examples


To help elaborate dear readers, I present you below examples on how Chatons be used for daily purposes. They are poll, kanban board, and collaborative editing services.

Poll: here's a poll about what is your operating system (GNU/Linux distro) with several participants.

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Post-it: here's a simple kanban board I made myself for my past, present, and future plans these few days. 

Collaborative Editing: here's how it should look like with its ability to export document to various formats including PDF, LibreOffice Writer, and Microsoft Word. Note that different colors means different authors by 2 person writing as example.

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About Chatons


"CHATONS is a collective of independant, transparent, open, neutral and ethical hosters providing FLOSS-based online services."


Chatons is actually a central place that collects multiple services by different independent providers from (currently) France, Swiss, Belgium, and Canada (thanks Chatons for this valuable correction).  and still increasing. Unlike other services, Chatons services are based on Free Software and not Proprietary ones. If you have read our articles about Alternative World and Librehost you will find Chatons very similar. It is built by the organization which built Degooglify Internet, that is, a successful movement to invite people to the alternatives to Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon, and Microsoft or GAFAM. There is a really nice explanation from FOSDEM 2017 conference if you want to know everything about Framasoft - Degooglify - Chatons. Finally, you can join them if you are an activist of Free/Libre Open Source Software by visiting Chatons.org.



This article is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.