[Freedombox-discuss] Introductions

Anthony Towns aj at erisian.com.au
Tue Aug 24 20:28:27 UTC 2010

> Hey, I'm Matt Lee, campaigns manager at the Free Software Foundation and
> founder of GNU social and GNU FM.

Hi! I'm Anthony, I've been in Debian for ages (though not so much over
the past couple years) and Linux Australia. I'm already using an
eeebox as my "freedom box" doing routing and a little bit of web
serving at home, and have been looking at getting a bit more
functionality for it. I've ordered a GuruPlug since it's apparently
got good features, works with Debian and has a pretty awesome form
factor, and I've already got a ReadyNAS to handle storage.

> I'd like to get started -- is there an ideal hardware device to buy for
> this work at this point? I heard that some of the plug devices have
> serious freedom issues, but I am little confused between the various brands.

I put my order in for a GuruPlug shortly after debconf, and haven't
seen word that it's shipped yet (I'm still in the US, so for all I
know it's arrived already, but that seems unlikely), so Tom's probably
right on the lead time for the Sheeva stuff. They're having heat
issues so they might be hand fixing things before shipping at the

The eeebox I'm currently using (first generation, I forget the model
number) is adequate technically, but I've got it attached to a monitor
which means it doesn't fit where I'd like my freedom box to go. Mostly
I figure a freedom box should be cheap and small -- powerful is just a
matter of what software goes on it. Ideally, it'd just be my ADSL
router, but all the ones of those I've ever found aren't hackable. I
think there's one available in Europe (or just France?) that might
work though?

Features I'm most interested in are:

    - internal bandwidth quota (I share a house, and would like to
track, and possibly throttle, bandwidth usage over the course of a
month, so that my ISP doesn't cut me to 12kB/s download speeds, or if
they do, at least I know who to blame)

    - IPv6 support (my ISP offers native IPv6 over ADSL now, except my
router doesn't handle it; bridging and a freedom box would handle

    - firewalling (I don't trust my NAS box that much even though it's
running something Debian-ish, and especially if it has a public IPv6
address, I'd like it protected)

    - captive portal + wiki (if someone's borrowing my wifi, I'd like
to be able to first point them at a wiki page that encourages them to
introduce themselves before they get access -- like filling out a
guestbook more than anything)

    - photo hosting (I don't have a way of dealing with photos that
I'm happy with)

    - accepting remote backups while I'm travelling (which I'd
probably want to store on my NAS box via my freedom box)

    - letting me flash a new laptop with my working environment (so I
can go somewhere, buy a laptop, authenticate myself, and have my home
directory and whatever else get populated via the net)

    - perhaps act as a yubikey authentication service so I don't need
to rely on anyone else to do authentication

    - perhaps act as a node in a personal backup network so that I can
backup to one device, and have it synchronise the backup to others to
reduce points of failure

    - perhaps act as 1/n'th of an encryption shard, so that I can set
up m freedom boxes with part of an decryption key, and require remote
authentication or physical access to at least n < m of them in order
to decrypt backups or similar.

Those are the things I'm not "free" to do at the moment that I'd like
to be able to; and a hackable device at the border of my network ought
to be able handle them, I think.


Anthony Towns <aj at erisian.com.au>

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