[Freedombox-discuss] HW "requirements"?

robert bauer nybauer at gmail.com
Wed Nov 4 20:49:31 UTC 2015

On Wed, Nov 4, 2015 at 3:22 PM, <pandodev at gmail.com> wrote:

> I understand a server appliance is the target hardware for which
>> FreedomBox sw is being developed.  But if someone is already a Debian
>> user, and would like to have a secure email server, will it be possible for
>> them to install and run FreedomBox on their current Debian desktop
>> system?  (Let's assume for the purpose of discussion that their current
>> Debian system is something that complies with the hw requirements (whatever
>> those are - my 1st inquiry) such as an Intel NUC.)  Do they still have
>> to go out and buy a separate device in order to be able to use FreedomBox?
> Per the 'Debian Installation' wiki page
> <https://wiki.debian.org/FreedomBox/Hardware/Debian>:

> It is [...] recommended that you install FreedomBox on a fresh Debian
> installation instead of an existing setup.
> The answer to your question then, within the context of the target
> audience for FreedomBox, seems to be "Yes, you must use a separate device".
> A FreedomBox developer might run a virtual machine on top of his existing
> Debian machine, but I imagine that is not a supported configuration for
> users. Maybe I'm wrong.

Thanks for linking to the installation page but I read it as saying a
separate server appliance is not required.  No offense, but I'd like to get
a semi-official response to my questions from someone working on the
project, repeating the questions below.  These HW "requirements" appear to
be recommendations for a computer well matched to the sw, but not all of
them are strictly speaking, hw prerequisites necessary for ensuring that
a Debian installation can fully run FreedomBox.  Thanks.

I too think there is some confusion created by the hardware requirements.
Some of them seem to be hardware preferences and not really related to
installing/running/debugging/troubleshooting the FreedomBOX software.  I
think there is advantage to the simplicity of saying Freedombox runs on any
machine that runs Debian.  My comments here are as a hw person rather than
programmer, so I may be missing something, but here goes...

For example, I don't see why the noise level "must be below 20dB".  Isn't
this merely a user aesthetic preference and clearly unrelated to
the software?

Similarly, "should not consume over 15W at full CPU load" seems to be
unrelated to the software (correct me if I am wrong).  At least unlike
noise level this one is phrased as "should" rather than "must".

I would also recommend clarifying the "at least one serial interface" as I
don't know what that means, exactly.  Every computer has at least one
serial interface, broadly defined.

So these do not appear to be "requirements" in the sense that the hw must
have them to fully utilize the software, but a suggestion of what hardware
to use.  There is also in the statement that failing computers may be "a
danger to the reputation of the FreedomBox" an idea that the project is
more than sw.  I think most would not attribute hw failure to sw, but OK.
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