[Freedombox-discuss] 'No sysadmin' is the key to Freedom Box

Tracy Reed treed at ultraviolet.org
Fri Mar 4 18:41:07 UTC 2011

On Fri, Mar 04, 2011 at 03:14:47AM -0800, John Gilmore spake thusly:
> Cleaned up around the edges so that an ordinary human being can
> "sysadmin" it, running on super cheap dead simple mass market
> hardware.  The essential insight of the freedom box is that you don't
> NEED an air-conditioned server room full of expensive stuff to run
> Internet services -- all you need is a $100 box and perhaps a $100
> disk drive for it.  

That sounds exactly like a mobile phone app.

> But today you need to learn too much, and waste too much of your time,
> to run such a server -- even if the hardware and software was free.

I've never spent a second sysadmin'ing my smart phone. Just using it.

> This means we need to design and build a box that takes NO sysadmin.

Already done.

And it has Linux and tcp/ip and a bunch of storage etc. in it.

> If it doesn't work, you power cycle it and see if it comes back in a
> few seconds.  If that doesn't work, you bang it on the concrete a few
> times and plug it back in.  If that doesn't work, you replace it.


> One community that's building Linux-based boxes that work like that is
> the home-gateway market (DSL or cable to Ethernet and WiFi boxes).
> WRT54G, etc.  

The iPhone and Android phones are far more robust with more processing
power, more storage, have dedicated net connectivity via 3G, and are
much more likely to come into contact with each other than fixed
local devices like WRT54G.

Why reinvent the wheel? Hardware is very hard and not at all what FOSS
is good at (so far).

> Even if you ran an extra Ethernet cable over the back fence (or down
> the hall) to your neighbor, which is a simpler configuration and one
> that I recommend that we support in preference to crummy crowded WiFi,
> we STILL don't have software that knows how and when to use it to
> provide backup connectivity without sysadmin.

Pretty much anyone with the ability to run ethernet cable over the back
fence and not attract the attention of the Secret Police already has

Tracy Reed
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