[Freedombox-discuss] Introductions

Bruno BEAUFILS bruno at boulgour.com
Thu Aug 26 10:40:03 UTC 2010

On Mon, Aug 23, 2010 at 02:32:10PM +1200, Lars Wirzenius wrote:
> I'm Lars Wirzenius, long-time Linux and Debian developer, and free
> software hacker in general. I'm currently happily unemployed, but
> starting to look for work.

I'm Bruno BEAUFILS, long-time Unix and Linux (mostly Debian)
"advanced" user. I have a PhD in computer science and am assistant
professor in France. Even if my research interest are around
Artificial Intelligence and Computational Game Theory, I teach mostly
things around operating system (basics manipulation and system

I am not a Debian developper but have set up a lot of stuff (mainly
using shell, perl and C) around automatic installation and
configuration of computers. For instance (during 7 years) I used to
manage all computers from our departement, which means around 300
desktop, 30 laptops and 10 servers for more than 1000 users (students
and academic staff).

I like the presentation of Eben MOGLEN at Debconf very much since he
was able to explain in simple words something I was advocating
(without much success for now) for several years to my students and
workmate. In fact I have such ideas in mind since a [presentation]][1]
(in french only) made by Benjamin BAYART, a french free software and
net neutrality defender. Roughly speaking, his main point was that
Internet is becoming slowly a new [Minitel][2] and that we (free
software users and developpers) should do whatever we could in order
to host our mail, website, and other useful services at home in order
to fight the trend of big companies to centralize and control

[1]: http://www.fdn.org/Internet-libre-ou-Minitel-2.html
[2]: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Minitel

I really think such "box" (with basic Internet services) should be
available since a long time. I am particulary happy that Debian folks
are willing to go in this direction.

Thus I am willing to help debian go in this direction and am offering
my help (in the limit of my spare time and my skills).

> * Alpha 0: a virtual machine that can do some basic server-at-home
> service reasonably well, with minimal setup, and no sysadmin required;
> server need not be accessible from outside the home network; make it
> easy to rebuild the image using debian-installer to set up a base
> system, and adding a meta-package
> * Alpha 4: solve the backup problem for Freedom Box in some suitable
> way

I almost agree with you but would like to highlight the fact that at
one point or another such box need to have access to hard drives (or
other large storage devices), thus I really thing that from alpha 0 or
maybe 1 the problem of automatic hardware detection (detection,
recognition, mounting, etc.)  should be addressed.

My point is that such box should offer at least a service of storage
and that most plug computer do not offer large space of storage.

For the alpha 4, I really think that solutions "a la" Time Capsule
(which seems to be simple rsync+cron coating) should be explored.

> For the Alpha 0 single service I was thinking of a file server: it will
> provide some disk space via Samba or something. This should be possible
> to do without much configuration, for a test release, even if it is
> obviously too insecure for a real solution. Or does anyone have a better
> idea for the initial service? It needs to require minimal configuration
> and authentication, and be useful enough that one might run it at home.
> (Once addressability and authentication are solved, a lot of services
> suddenly become possible. Like, a personal mail server, a personal
> calendar server, etc.)

One the one hand I really think that we should be able to offer a
solid framework to developpers so that thay can imagine any services
they want to offer. On the other hand we need to offer reference net
services we need to be at least, IMHO :

* mail server (with webmail)

* web server (with blog/wiki/cms tool)

* calendar server (with webclient)

* instant messaging server (jabber or something like that)

* file server (with web access to certain part, typically photos)

> I've been working on a general purpose online backup program for a while
> now. That will perhaps be useful for the Freedom Box, or not. We'll
> see.

I am interested to have a look to your ideas on that point since I
really thing this is one of the crucial part.

Let me know if I can help on any part of that project.

Bruno Beaufils
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