[Freedombox-discuss] What my idea of the Freedombox concept is and how I plan to realize it

Charles N Wyble charles at knownelement.com
Wed Apr 6 16:38:33 UTC 2011

Hello all,

I want to share with folks what my idea for the freedombox is and how 
I'm continuing to work on achieving that goal. I'm a systems guy and so 
I am a very practical, feet on the ground kind of person. As such this 
e-mail will be somewhat low level and tactical, hopefully that will lead 
to some productive discourse. :)

I have thoroughly enjoyed the numerous deep, if not somewhat theoretical 
conversations on this list about security,encryption,naming system 
changes,p2p etc. I do have a test lab and am looking forward to playing 
with this stuff as it comes into fruition.

To contribute to that , I'm currently thinking through how to utilize 
things like GENODE for a trusted code base on the bottom and run various 
pieces inside Debian guests. As I work more with that idea I'll post up 
my adventures.

As for my idea of the FreedomBox:

In a nutshell I want to create a debian meta package called ownyourdata 
and in one single apt-get command have it build,deploy,defend an 
integrated free software stack that provides secure (anonymity, 
defensibility), encrypted (storage and transit), sustainable (encrypted 
local and friend cloud backups), federated (can't be an island) data 
ownership capabilities.

This would make it available to anyone running a Debian system on 
whatever hardware platform they
choose. It would also make it easy for anyone performing integration 
tasks (tech savy folks setting this up for their social network, 
hardware/software vendors that we might partner with, NGOs etc).

The overall meta package would consist of some sub meta packages:

dataown-web (LAMP frontend applications mentioned on my wiki. Easily re 
mixed with whatever LAMP apps folks choose to substitute).

I've been working on this pieces for the past 18 months or so, and the 
current incarnation of my idea is documented at 

That page covers the process of getting off the cloud and onto ones own 
server. I've gotten all my data off the cloud, though I do utilize a 
hosting provider, as I'm no longer interested in maintaining a 
server/network farm at home for production use. :)

I am happy with the software choices I've used for that migration. It's 
taken a few iterations to find the software I like.  That's the beauty 
of free software, having those choices and being able to easily change 
between them.

I think most of us are already at this point (data migrated off of cloud 
onto LAMP stack under various degrees of our control). I want to make a 
debian package that can allow anyone to get to that same point very 
quickly. I feel that I've used these packages enough that I can strongly 
recommend them to other people.

dataown-backends Package up various support daemons (XMPP/LDAP/Gnump3d)

This is additional functionality that most people would want to utilize. 
It's something that is on my very near term todo list for my own use. 
Should be pretty easy to package up.

dataown-backups (Tahoe-lafs, maybe duplicity?)

This is where I am now focused. Working on bullet proof automatic, 
network local backups using duplicity and dumping into a Tahoe-lafs 
grid, as well as p2p cloud backups with friends utilizing Tahoe-lafs and 
maybe Phanthom/n2n. It's certainly a work in progress. I'll keep track 
of the work on my wiki at 
http://wiki.knownelement.com/index.php?title=BlueJacket It's actually 
proving to be a somewhat difficult problem to wrap my head around. Well 
the problem is simple, but numerous solutions exist that require 
detailed analysis.

Once I've got the backups solid I will move on to security work. I'm 
hoping to post a complete write up on my backup solution by the end of 

Ideally I can create all 3 above packages sometime in May.

dataown-security (Kerberos/One Time Password generation 

This is something that will require substantial attention, analysis, 
testing, user feedback etc. In short I feel it's where the FreedomBox 
will truly shine. I don't expect it to be easy, and in fact expect the 
first beta incarnation to take 6 months or so. We can bring "enterprise 
grade" security to everyone at a vastly lower cost (no additional cost 
beyond hardware)/complexity then existing solutions.

What do folks think of this idea?

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