[Freedombox-discuss] Add Raspberry Pi as a reference platform?

Petter Reinholdtsen pere at hungry.com
Thu Oct 10 09:26:49 UTC 2013

A lot of my friends have one or more Raspberry Pi machines, and I even
got one myself too.  But no-one I know nearby own a Dreamplug.  This
tell me that the availability of the Debian based Freedombox reference
platform is low, and I believe this limit the number of people joining
the project.

A way to tap into the resource of people already owning an Raspberry
Pi and interested in taking back control over their own computer use
and communication needs, would be to announce that Raspberry Pi will
also be a reference platform for the Freedombox project.

There are a few technical challenges we should address.  One is that
the most popular Debian like distribuntion for Raspberry Pi, Raspbian,
is using binary packages built outside the Debian distribution because
the binary packages available from Debian are not optimal to use on
Raspberry Pi (it is related to arm architecture feature selection).
We could either base our Raspberry Pi setup on Raspbian or use Debian
and accept slightly slower binaries.

Another challenge is the lack of network interfaces on the Raspberry
Pi.  It only got one TP interface internally, and would need to use
USB network cards to get some more.  But we could just require people
interested in using Raspberry Pi as their Freedombox to either accept
that it is only a home server and not a home router, or ask people to
buy and insert either TP or wifi USB network cards in their Raspberry
Pi to get the router and wifi access point functionallity.
We could even do it dynamically, for example like this:

 1 TP         - home server
 2 TP         - home server and internet router
 1 TP, 1 wifi - home server, internet router and wifi access point
 1 TP, 2 wifi - home server, wifi access point and mesh node
 2 TP, 2 wifi - home server, internet router, wifi access point and mesh node

One unsolved issue might be the need for non-free firmware, but I am
not sure if any such firmware is needed for the use cases we have in
the Freedombox.

Happy hacking
Petter Reinholdtsen

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