[Freedombox-discuss] FreedomBox

Charles N Wyble charles at knownelement.com
Thu Apr 14 06:53:46 UTC 2011

On 04/14/2011 12:35 AM, Poor Richard wrote:
> I don't know how much Charles may have already described the 
> FreedomBox project he is working on, but since I joined the mail list 
> I have been getting pretty excited about it. The wikipedia page 
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FreedomBox says:

Ah I am only a late comer to the party. Many folks far more gifted in 
marketing/fund raising/branding have gotten the FreedomBox project 
launched and coverage in the New York Times etc. I simply joined up and 
shared my vision of what I feel the software stack should look like. 
Someone else posted a similar stack today and got good feedback. Maybe 
my vision is too far off? It's at


if folks want to review it.

(sidenote) Mailman lets you link to an individual message, but you can't 
reply to it via a web interface like you can with google groups. I've 
been looking over the past archives of this group and as I find things 
to reply to, I can do that. Might dig up some old discussions and bring 
my perspective.
> A "plug computer" is an inexpensive little plug and play appliance 
> that goes between your pc and/or router and your ISP connection. 

Right. There have been some detailed discussions around flaws with the 
plug computers in their current and previous incarnations. They appear 
to be in their second generation at this time and much improved. Some 
are suggesting panda/beagle board system instead. The beauty of most (if 
not all) of the necessary software, is that once it's packaged on Debian 
it can be apt-get installed equally well on an ARM based plug computer 
or my Dell Optiplex x86 desktop.

I don't remember if I posted here or on the FB list about Debian for 
appliance builders. This comes back to my experience with the 
advertising system. First rev on Fedora second rev on Debian. We 
attempted to do the second rev on Fedora/CentOS and ran into issues over 
weeks and weeks. Debian prototype was done in an afternoon and took 
maybe 100 man hours to be fully finished.

> The FreedomBox is a self-contained unit with a pre-installed suite of 
> anti-surveillance, anti-blocking, and social networking software that 
> can be used in its default configuration without any user expertise. 
> Optionally, the applications can be further user-configured and they 
> can also be installed directly on a pc or other user-supplied hardware 
> instead of on a plug computer. (Personally I love the appliance 
> version because it offloads a lot of cpu work from my pc.)

Exactly. It's low power draw etc and can be left on all the time. 
Bringing the discussion back to nextnet, it will be a key element in 
building out the mesh network.

> The FreedomBox developers are going to be integrating existing free 
> software with new components/layers as needed. Members of the Next Net 
> group might have insights to offer on tools and approaches.

Yes. Please contribute to the FB list and help get the stack defined! I 
am beginning my security stack journey and need a LOT of help figuring 
out what's what. I'm also on the liberationtech mailing list and keep an 
eye on the things @ioerror talks about. I don't always agree with his 
conclusions, but others that I trust have a lot of trust in him.

> Charles:
> 1) is there any ETA for FreedomBox yet?

Not that I am aware of. I would love to have a demo of it at ContactCon. 
That gives us the summer to get this gelled up. I plan to have my 
milestone3 beta1 release (security stack) ready by then. The bullet 
proof backups and replication/resiliency stuff should be done by end of 
this month and presented at BarCampLosAngles.

> 2) has there been much discussion of INVISIBILITY vs simple 
> anonymity/encription/etc (which can raise red flags and draw scrutiny)?

There has been some discussion in this area but not too much. However as 
I'm a late comer to the party, there may be extensive discussion in the 

Charles N Wyble charles at knownelement.com @charlesnw
Building tomorrows alternate default free zone

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