[Freedombox-discuss] the "living room brick"

Jonas Smedegaard dr at jones.dk
Wed Apr 27 08:16:10 UTC 2011

Hi fellow Freedomboxer, Josef,

On 11-04-27 at 01:00am, Josef Abdel Wahed wrote:
> Do we want to give users secure access to "their" web of preference 
> (tweeting, facebooking, etc.)
> or 
> do we want to encourage users to build their web of preference 
> (hosting own content like micro blogs, websites, photo galleries etc.)
> ?

We want to provide Freedom-enabling services for our users.

Or more precise, we want to "box" Freedom-enabling services already 
existing in Debian, targeted non-technical users.

We do not aim for a single or a few specific Freedom-enabling services, 
but feel quite strongly that...

 all parts of the system must be...

  a) The product must be long-term maintainable.
  b) All services contribute to "the silverlining of the cloud"

In my opinion a) is best done by mandating _all_ software parts - no 
exceptions - come from Debian proper (any and all configuration scripts 
or tiny hacks adopted into Debian main).

In my opinion b) means that services to ease and/or secure access to 
centralized services are irrelevant (and therefore unsuitable) for 
FreedomBox, no matter if gigantic and commercially driven (like Google, 
Yahoo or Facebook) or not-yet-biggest or non-cemmercially driven (like 
identi.ca or riseup.net).

It makes perfect sense to me for FreedomBox to include both 
public-facing and discretion-seeking tools, including those provided by 
gigantic commercial entities - as long as they comply with the Debian 
Free Software Guidelines.  So things like Wordpress or status.net or 
Crabgrass (when hosted on the box itself, not -as-a-service hosted at 
wordpress.com, identi.ca, riseup.net or anywhere else), are good 
candidates for inclusion - when done via packaging in Debian main.

> Espacially for the "end-user-building" purpose I would like to show 
> you the following (discontinued) hardware:
> http://www.xtreamer.net/etrayz/specs.aspx
> this little brick, takes about 20 Watts, hosts two 3,5" SATA drives 
> (up to 4TB) and runs a custom linux with available source.


It concerns me, however, that it contains a fan, as that indicates both 
a) noise which makes it less suitable to be lying under your bed, and b) 
more power consumption than realistically possible today with the 
hardware that we are already aiming at: the (non-fancy! flavors of) Plug 

> also, there is a package management for the etrayz with a BIG tool 
> list, in these categories:
> Database Tools, Mail Server, Photo Gallery, Online Shop, Bulletin 
> Boards, P2P & Usenet, Torrent, IRC, SqueezeServer, UPnP & DLNA, 
> Printer/Scanner, Statistic Tools, Network & System Tools, Audio Tools, 
> Developer Tools, File Managers, Webcam Tools, UPS Management ...
> that thing is controllable/ customizable through the web browser for 
> end users.


Debian also contains a huge amount of tools, some of which is nice and 
user-friendly - but very few is well integrated and suitable as-is 
hosted on machines without a dedicated sysadmin or screen or keyboard 

So yes, it would be quite interesting if you (or anyone else) could try 
figure out if any of the 

above software is Free, and if so if anything from the etrayz product 
can be reused for FreedomBox.

One approach is to get an account, go through all material available, 
and document publicly (e.g. at the FreedomBox wiki) the design choices 

Another parallel approach could be to figure out if the actual code 
could be reused:

  * Does it comply with Debian Free Software Guidelines?
  * Is the company willing to release it as such?
  * Are the pieces suitable for repackaging in Debian?
  * Is anyone willing to maintain the pieces in Debian?

Very first step - if not done already - is probably to add your info on 
that product to our Wiki.


 - Jonas

 * Jonas Smedegaard - idealist & Internet-arkitekt
 * Tlf.: +45 40843136  Website: http://dr.jones.dk/

 [x] quote me freely  [ ] ask before reusing  [ ] keep private
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