[Freedombox-discuss] Raining on the parade

Dave Taht dave.taht at gmail.com
Tue Jun 26 14:33:30 UTC 2012

On Mon, Jun 25, 2012 at 3:39 PM, Matthias-Christian Ott <ott at mirix.org> wrote:
> On 2012-06-25 21:10, Markus Sabadello wrote:
>> On Mon, Jun 25, 2012 at 10:45 AM, Michiel de Jong <michiel at unhosted.org>wrote:
>> On Mon, Jun 25, 2012 at 6:41 AM, Stephen Michael Kellat
>>> <skellat at fastmail.net> wrote:
>>>> In a [hostile] regime, this is not a plug and pray platform
>>>> that requires no training.
>>> that's probably the appropriate conclusion. and i think we should not
>>> underestimate the importance of freedombox in the US and also in
>>> Europe. This is something we need. On all levels, and for the general
>>> public. So i think it should be a tool aimed both at relatively-free
>>> and not-so-free countries, at the same time, keeping in mind the
>>> differences between the use cases, and providing documentation with it
>>> to educate users.
>> Yes definitely.. The FreedomBox was born out of Eben Moglen's vision to
>> liberate
>> us from the centralized Facebooks, Googles, etc. It is about having data
>> under
>> our control, and about decentralized communication. My understanding is
>> that the
>> use case of political activism is of course important, but just a subset of
>> the
>> FreedomBox idea.

I share these sentiments. I'd like to see a new Internet expand beyond
the edge, to see neighbors connect to each other, to see useful
services and data move back into homes (where they have more rights
than in the cloud), and a much lower latency internet, where you could
play music in a band, with your friends across town, without leaving
your living room.

> I think this pretty much sums up to views upon the project that have
> often been been brought up on this mailing list: There are some people
> who want it to be a free, censorship-resistant, distributed, meshed,
> secure etc. (insert your favourite property here) device, which is in
> itself a noble and ambitious idea but perhaps a bit to too difficult
> given the readily available technology in the near future, and others
> who simply want it a small server that provides an alternative/a
> substitute to the above mentioned types of services.

> There has been a lot of discussion, but little progress compared to the
> interest the project initially had and to some extent still has. Perhaps
> one should focus the efforts on features that can be delivered in a year
> or two and accept that these ambitious ideas are part of the next big
> step and that having working software is more important in the current
> situation. If that means that the FreedomBox is not the perfect computer
> for dissidents, we will have to accept this for now (remember that most
> people volunteer in their free time).

One of the things that distressed me about the freedombox preso I
witnessed was that it was this enormous top down organisation, it was
pages of preso before it got to actual "developers". I sat there
kibitzing on bdale with a fellow openwrt guy, and I've been for the
last year, working with dozens of devs, from the bottom up, to make
any off the shelf router (out of about 150 to choose from), into a
platform that could do various forms of mesh routing, be free,
censorship resistant, and be a fileserver... and we keep pounding out

And unlike some crypto geeks, I've actually bothered to live under a
repressive regime.

One of the things about the crypto side and the plug hw (besides my
already raised issues with power and heat) that did concern me was
having an easily identifiable freedombox, which leveraging a
normal-looking router avoids.

> Maybe applying a more structured software development process (e.g.
> assigning people to tasks and keeping track of their progress and
> maintaining a development plan/schedule) could help to make better
> progress, so that the FreedomBox becomes something tangible and usable
> instead of an idea, though it could be difficult without full-time
> developers (just a thought).

> I don't know if this has been said before on this mailing list as I have
> not always the time to pay close attention, but following the discussion
> of the last weeks I think this had to be said.

Hear, Hear! I share many of the goals here, but prefer to work
incrementally on everything that's needed with as much time as I have
to spare - and rarely have time to actually participate on lists such
as this. My first priority is fixes to bufferbloat, which is
especially important in the 3rd world, where bandwidth is at a
premium. Recently patches for authenticated mesh routing landed in
quagga-RE, as an example, and are now under test. We have worked
upstream on the Linux kernel on fq_codel, and ipv6 issues, and
upstream on openwrt, as well...

> Regards,
> Matthias-Christian
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Dave Täht

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