[Freedombox-discuss] DreamPlugs arrived this week, work fine. Network experiment?

John Gilmore gnu at toad.com
Wed Apr 13 10:26:50 UTC 2011

I had ordered a couple of DreamPlugs from 


and then complained to the list about slow delivery.  Well, the boxes
arrived and I tried one tonight.  You plug it into the wall and it
boots up what looks like a very stock Ubuntu 9.04 for ARM and enables
the WiFi as an access point.  You can then connect to SSID
DreamPlug-xxxxxxx from a laptop, and ssh root at with
password "nosoup4u".  (Then change it!)  The basic machine comes with
df showing about 1GB of spare flash space, which you'll start filling
with apt-get; it's a very stripped down distro.  I added strace,
powertop, mtr, and binutils right off the bat as I poked around.  It
comes running a web server, you can just edit the page in /var/www.
When I plugged in an Ethernet cord, it got itself an IP address.  If
you could figure out which address it got, you could ssh into it, or
browse its web page, over your home Ethernet.  But it doesn't
seem to be gatewaying or natting the access point to the Internet by
default -- so those on the access point can't see the Internet, even
though the DreamPlug itself can.

I haven't compiled "hello.c" on it yet, but I believe it'll self-host
for software development (after a big apt-get gcc).  You can add an
eSata or USB disk drive to it for some real storage.  I also bought a
JTAG/serial adapter that plugs into little jacks on the DreamPlug for
debugging kernels or init scripts, or for general "console sysadmin"
when needed.  Not everyone would need this, but you'll need to borrow
or buy one if you manage to reconfigure your system enough that you
break it in some fundamental way and it won't boot up.

It gets warm but not hot when sitting there doing very little for a day.

Anyway, it looks like an interesting base to start building & trying
FreedomBox software on.

Anybody want to do some experiments with routing an overlay IPv6
network via such boxes?  I have a theory on how to build an overlay
network that'll let you reach your neighbors despite an Internet
shutdown caused by a government, an ISP, or a disaster.  It should
also get all of you on the net, at least in a fashion, if *any* of you
has a working net connection.  If you want to help develop and test
this idea, you should be running IPv6 on your local Ethernet already.


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