[Freedombox-discuss] freedom on desktop

Jay Sulzberger jays at panix.com
Fri Aug 3 20:30:54 UTC 2012

On Fri, 3 Aug 2012, Ramana Kumar <ramana at member.fsf.org> wrote:

> Dear Freedombox-discuss,
> I am inspired by the idea of the FreedomBox. I want the net to be more
> peer-to-peer and decentralised with privacy on by default.
> I use GNU/Linux and I am not averse to programming, but I am not an expert.
> Can someone like me help achieve the aims of the FreedomBox Foundation
> without buying a plug server? Can't I run my desktop as a server, and what
> would be the point?
> Are there resources for me to learn how to achieve more personal freedom,
> for example (and especially) from the centralised network services I
> currently use?
> To take some simple examples:
> What are my options for email and what are the pros and cons?
> How can I encrypt my web, email, and other traffic easily?
> Can I help with hosting or as a node in a peer to peer system and how?
> I ask these admittedly vague questions (above the examples) in the hope
> that someone on list knows of such a resource and can point me to it, or
> would be interested in starting to create one.
> Thanks,
> Ramana

This knot of questions is central to the struggle to keep our Net.

I think the question of what we want is not vague.  What we want
is what once some of us had: a computer at home which stands as a
host on the Net, without requiring third parties to run an httpd,
to make and accept ssh connections over the Net, to send and
receive files via rsync, indeed to run anyhing we want over the
Net, as long we pay for our connection and stay within the Law
and the higher Law of Courtesy.

My suggestion is that a combination "home router" and home
computer be made which would be the (local to the "home")
hardware/software substrate for such old fashioned connection.

I think the "home router" as it is today is a critical piece of
engineering which tends to the Englobulation of just about every
form of communication over the Net.  Example 1: Because setting
up a home computer to send and receive files via rsync and ssh is
today difficult, we have Dropbox.  Example 2: Because setting up
a home computer to send and receive email directly is hard, we do
not have properly encrypted email.

To forestall side discussions: I think a better version of
Dropbox might provide services worth paying for, and when I say
"email" I do not mean that smtp must be run over the Net.


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