FreedomBox is designed to [run on/create] your own inexpensive server at home. It [includes/is built with] free software and offers an increasing number of services ranging from a calendar or jabber server to a wiki or VPN.
Apparently, they were selling some all-set-to-go boxes at LibrePlanet…
They weren't as far as I know. They had a one-off prototype running at their booth, but that model never made it to production.
They even have some links to suggested computers:
Also, personally, I would never host any content on-prem at my home. It is far too easy for my internet to go down, and I'd rather my personal website be under somebody else's control (say, an S3 bucket) than get physical hardware to the server hosting the bits.
"For a Linux user, you can already build such a system yourself quite trivially by getting an FTP account, mounting it locally with curlftpfs, and then using SVN or CVS on the mounted filesystem."
This is a perfect example of when tech-minded people get blinded to how complicated some things are for the masses.
No, if you're capable of doing all that, you're a Linux sysadmin, not a user. Too many tech folk blur those lines, but there's a huge difference (and yes, I know the dropbox comment has been beaten to death over the years - I just never got my 2 cents in before!)
- Media server: I primarily use streaming services or physical media
- File sharing: I rarely ever share files between computers, and if I need to, I just scp them on my home network.
- Web hosting: box is too small/old to reliably do this, plus I have cloud hosting already
I do use it for private SVN and have plans to set up a VPN server, but other than that, it feels like unless I cast off every existing service I have, it wouldn't be worth it.
Although, casting off every existing service is enticing in an idealistic sort of way...
I don't see the home server being the prime selling point. Everyone needs a router, so if you created a router that was dead simple to configure and use, had some cool extra features, integrated well with your home gadgets ("Alexa, turn off the WiFi", "Alexa, setup a guest wifi network for the next 8 hours") and on top of this acted like a home server, people would buy it.
At least from a consumer product perspective.
On the other hand there are nice features already: VPN Server, Seedbox, Ad-blocking-proxy
I also have my server configured to route out via a vpn.
I browse websites with it, and unless it's very image heavy, it's as smooth as a local browser. If you have large images, scrolling can get choppy. Same with videos, they can be choppy.
A consumer-grade UPS on my home PC and network equipment has reliably kept my home setup reliably up and connected for all except for ISP outages.
The question is not would your most non-technical friend adopt this, but would the marginally non-technical friend adopt this.
I would do it if it were easy "enough."
I have been hosting a Nextcloud instance with a FreeNAS backend (for ZFS). If anything, that has been far more convenient then Dropbox ever was (better bandwidth at home, as much space as I want), and I control my data. I think there has been one instance in the past two years where I actually had an interruption to my internet.
This is the problem with every attempt at decentralized, federated social media as well IMO. To be sure, the privacy concerns of a centralized service will never really go away. But the benefits of centralization on the web are massive from a UX standpoint. This seems like a solvable problem. It seems to me like it shouldn't be too hard for a company to be verifiably private in their handling of your data.
i.e you have companies which will securely and redundantly host a (encrypted?) container, which gets backed up and so on, and runs the freedombox of your choice.
So you have control/freedom/ponies and the cloud compute becomes just plumbing.
With FreedomBox, you can:
Access your FreedomBox from the public Internet (Pagekite, Tor, Dynamic DNS)
Connect securely to your FreedomBox (OpenVPN)
Chat with friends (?XMPP, Quassel, Matrix)
Host a conference call (Mumble, repro)
Publish a blog (Ikiwiki)
Host a personal or community wiki (MediaWiki)
Block ads while browsing the web (Privoxy)
Check your email (Roundcube)
Transfer large files (Deluge, Transmission)
Read news (Tiny Tiny RSS)
Sync your calendar and contacts (Radicale)
Stay connected to IRC chat (Quassel)
Host a multiplayer block sandbox (Minetest)
Collaboratively edit a text document (infinoted)
Keep your files synchronized to your FreedomBox (Syncthing)
Circumvent censorship using a socks5 proxy (Shadowsocks)
Configure system name and interface language (Configure)
Obtain a certificate for your domain (Let's Encrypt)
Add users and set access privileges (Users and Groups)
Use a single login for Plinth, XMPP, Ikiwiki and SSH
Manage network connections over Ethernet, Wi-Fi, or PPPoE (Networks)
Upgrade software packages automatically (Software Upgrades)
Run diagnostic tests (Diagnostics)
View which services are allowed through the firewall (Firewall)
Configure time zone and network time service (Date and Time)
Configure service discovery (Service Discovery)
View disk information or expand a partition (Disks)
Create and restore filesystem snapshots (Snapshots)
Provide DNS service for your local network (bind)
Do system administration from a web interface (Cockpit)
Seriously though, software isn't the issue here, hardware is. Anybody with the skills can slap Linux on an old computer and turn it into a server. It's packaging it up into something you can sell to the non-technical that's the real win.
I wish free software advocates would take more lessons from Jobs instead of blindly idealizing Woz.
They are focusing on exactly what you are saying, putting together a UI that non-technicals can use.
> They might, however, buy a pre-built, pre-installed appliance that just needs to be plugged in and have a web browser pointed at it to get started.
Don't forget about setting up the freaking wi-fi network. Apple, Google make it reasonably seamless to setup their devices from an app, say. Most third-party devices aren't as easy to setup. I have to manually enter my wi-fi password in my Tivo, eg.
This doesn't have to be the case, though. There's nothing stopping FreedomBox from selling a pre-made hardware solution that just has the software loaded on it that anyone can load onto a vanilla server of their choosing. (And it seems they actually do this, though it's not obvious from their website.)
Still a lot of work, but not as much as creating your own distro from scratch.
I know that sacrifices some end-user control philosophically, but in reality it would greatly increase it for those in the great majority who currently have none.
The similar project YUNOhost advertises both scenarios. https://yunohost.org/#/install
I didn't find a changelog, but here's a list of features: https://wiki.debian.org/FreedomBox/Features
* it should know how to go and collect your stuff out of all the social networking places where you've got it
* it should know how to send an encrypted backup of everything to your friends' servers (in the video you can hear two developers making "mmm" noises at that feature)
Eight years later, does Freedombox have either of those two features?
There's no reason why this system couldn't use duplicity with a password to back up to S3 or a similar service.
Since it's just a Debian package, it could use the standard Debian automated-update system to handle security.
Security through delegation vs security through obscurity imo here, follow simple things like use non-standard ports and your changes of getting hacked are likely shockingly low even if your behind on patches.
What a suitable privacy agreement this could work online--and I'd be okay trusting a contractual agreement to keep my data safe.