[Freedombox-discuss] [GSoC21] Interest in FreedomBox email project

hjenkins hjenkins at uvic.ca
Sun Apr 11 20:18:52 BST 2021

>> For scalability, which is important in some use cases, allowing 
>> Postgres
>> backends is good. I have some scripts for setting up the Postgres DB
>> somewhere; let me know if/when you want a copy.
> Do you mean, using PostgreSQL to store configuration (e.g. the lists of
> domains and email accounts on the system)?

Yes. Since it needs some database, MariaDB or whatever; having a choice 
would be good.

There already exist open-source conversion tools, such that you can 
export an existing dataset and import it to a different backend in 
another format. Being able to change your mind later would reduce the 
fraughtness of the initial choice. Obviously you can't make an 
all-capable tool, but a readily-extensible one would be good.

> I'd be very interested to know how common smaller/larger installations 
> are.
Unfortunately I don't have any data on this. Does anyone?

> Are there FreedomBox deployments that are really so big (e.g. 100 users
> or more)? That would be really interesting, because I would really like
> FreedomBox to be usable for schools and local communities. But I 
> thought
> the most common use case at the moment is that just one user runs it on
> very limited hardware (where PostgreSQL may consume too much RAM).

I also get the impression that that is most common. But like you I know 
of many groups that could use something larger, and people who love 
using a community server run by people they know and trust, but would 
never set up their own, even if they have the skills. I suspect that if 
you build it, they will come.

There are also many use cases where the number of accounts is not known 
in advance (like many community groups), so users tend to avoid a 
non-scalable solution. Upgrading hardware (or paying your hosting 
service more) is a lot less costly than shutting off registrations just 
when you've just gotten some good publicity, and frantically scrambling 
to replace your entire e-mail system.

A lot of Freedombox is giving less-technical users the confidence that 
they can self-host. And giving everyone the confidence that server 
administration won't eat too much of their time or be wildly stressful.

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