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All Packages Needed For FreedomBox Now In Debian

Unknown Lamer posted about 5 months ago | from the i-think-you-mean-gnu-slash-freedom dept.

Debian 54

Eben Moglen's FreedomBox concept (personal servers for everyone to enable private communication) is getting closer to being an easy-to-install reality: all packages needed for FreedomBox are now in Debian's unstable branch, and should be migrating to testing in a week or two. Quoting Petter Reinholdtsen: "Today, the last of the packages currently used by the project to created the system images were accepted into Debian Unstable. It was the freedombox-setup package, which is used to configure the images during build and on the first boot. Now all one need to get going is the build code from the freedom-maker git repository and packages from Debian. And once the freedombox-setup package enter testing, we can build everything directly from Debian. :) Some key packages used by Freedombox are freedombox-setup, plinth, pagekite, tor, privoxy, owncloud, and dnsmasq. There are plans to integrate more packages into the setup. User documentation is maintained on the Debian wiki." You can create your own image with only three commands, at least if you have a DreamPlug or Raspberry Pi (you could also help port it to other platforms).

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Open? (1)

houstonbofh (602064) | about 5 months ago | (#46767429)

So they want an open and decentralized social network. But the VM images are only in the Oracle owned Virtual Box format? And right now it is only built for new and hard to source appliances, not older desktop easily found in rubbish bins? And I still haven't found what it does that owncloud does not... You would think the web page or wikipedia would have a short "This is what the we do" page somewhere...

Re:Open? (2)

kthreadd (1558445) | about 5 months ago | (#46767511)

I don't know about the owned by Oracle; it's free software as far as I know.

Re:Open? (1)

houstonbofh (602064) | about 5 months ago | (#46770713)

Free, kinda. Open, a bit... But if you are a large company, not at all. And if you submit code, you assign it all to them.

https://www.virtualbox.org/wik... [virtualbox.org]

Re:Open? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46772381)

VirtualBox is GPL2.
If you install Oracles proprietary crap, that's your problem.

Re:Open? (1)

houstonbofh (602064) | about 5 months ago | (#46776461)

VirtualBox is GPL2. If you install Oracles proprietary crap, that's your problem.

"This is called "dual licensing". Since Oracle holds all the copyrights to the VirtualBox code, or is at least permitted to relicense code that is owned by external contributors or other parties, we are free to choose the terms under which we license the code to our customers, or the open-source community. "

So any code you submit, you also assign to Oracle so they can release it closed source. So not totally open.

Open? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46767639)

Its still in development having just made it to unstable, it will run on anything that Debian supports. Give it time...

Re:Open? (1)

SeaFox (739806) | about 5 months ago | (#46773649)

So they want an open and decentralized social network. But the VM images are only in the Oracle owned Virtual Box format? And right now it is only built for new and hard to source appliances, not older desktop easily found in rubbish bins? And I still haven't found what it does that owncloud does not... You would think the web page or wikipedia would have a short "This is what the we do" page somewhere...

Add to that Owncloud is an available plug-in for FreeNAS, which will run on older desktops (although the plug-in is only available for the 64-bit release of FreeNAS) and besides setting up an additional BSD jails with these other services, seems this can be handled that way.

Re:Open? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46777269)

And right now it is only built for new and hard to source appliances, not older desktop easily found in rubbish bins?

  1. their stated goal is to run on efficient hardware, not on some random old clunker found in a rubbish bin. If you use that, you will pay more than the appliance costs via you power bill in the first year.
  2. Hard to source? Go on Amazon, order one. Maybe not all of them, but a Cubietruck is available, the Beaglebone Black is available. I haven't bothered to look further. You call that hard?
  3. It's now in Debian, which means it will get built for every hardware that is supported by debian, even your "desktop from the rubbish bin"

Sounds great! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46767601)

I'll recommend this to all none of my friends who use Debian.

Will this migrate to Ubuntu soon? (1)

billstewart (78916) | about 5 months ago | (#46769691)

Ubuntu's Debian-based - how much work will it take to migrate this to Ubuntu?

In plain English, what's a FreedomBox? (3, Interesting)

ChunderDownunder (709234) | about 5 months ago | (#46767621)

A 3 sentence description that doesn't use meaningless mumbo-jumbo vision statement as found on the linked wiki?

(a summary of its goals and how it compares to prior art?)

In Plain English: Security Crap (5, Interesting)

Elixon (832904) | about 5 months ago | (#46767851)

Anything that claims to boost your privacy and security should not have something like pagekite included. I have just visited their home page and this is what greeted me as 2 step "linux flight plan":

  $ curl -s https://pagekite.net/pk/ [pagekite.net] |sudo bash
  $ pagekite.py 80 yourname.pagekite.me

Am I stupid or what? Open my root account to some website page? Flight Plan to hell. Looking forward to somebody who will hack that site to create one file there saying "rm -rf /" LOL

Re:In Plain English: Security Crap (1)

kthreadd (1558445) | about 5 months ago | (#46768219)

That's an unfortunate trend that's going on right now.

Re:In Plain English: Security Crap (5, Interesting)

Cow Jones (615566) | about 5 months ago | (#46768247)

$ curl -s https://pagekite.net/pk/ [pagekite.net] |sudo bash

I've noticed this kind of crap more and more often lately, usually as one of the "preferred" methods of installation for projects on GitHub. Who in their right mind would run that? There's a reason why we have package systems and a method of signing said packages. Blindly trusting some website with root shell access... boggles my mind.

Re:In Plain English: Security Crap (2)

Mordok-DestroyerOfWo (1000167) | about 5 months ago | (#46768459)

Whatever happened to trust? I mean, if you can't believe an anonymous benefactor on the internet, who can you trust?

Re:In Plain English: Security Crap (1)

fph il quozientatore (971015) | about 5 months ago | (#46771199)

Is that you, beloved wife and heir of the late prince of Nigeria?

Re:In Plain English: Security Crap (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46772395)

Heh. that was the method to install Ximian GNOME ... back in 2003 !

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ximian

Re:In Plain English: Security Crap (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46771325)

But when you install it through Debian, it will be:

$ sudo apt-get install pagekite

and the packages are signed by debian packagers :-P

Re:In plain English, what's a FreedomBox? (1)

LordLimecat (1103839) | about 5 months ago | (#46767875)

Look, its easy. On the https://wiki.debian.org/Freedo... [debian.org] page, theres a link to Learn about Freedombox [debian.org] , which Im sure gives useful information on the project. Heck, that page even links to additional resources here [debian.org] .

Like I said: Easy.

Re:In plain English, what's a FreedomBox? (2)

Cow Jones (615566) | about 5 months ago | (#46768151)

Easy my ass. GP is absolutely correct, they completely fail to give a summary of what a FreedomBox is and why we should care. I've read those pages you linked and there is no summary. The closest thing I could find are links to video presentations with titles like "FreedomBox Update", "FreedomBox 1.0" and "Freedom, out of the box!".

Re:In plain English, what's a FreedomBox? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46768255)

Typical OSS frontpage. 10 pages of bug-fixes and version numbers and not a single paragraph on what the fuck the software is or actually does. And you people wonder why the general public chooses proprietary software over shit like this.

Yeah, what AC said about Open Source docs (1)

billstewart (78916) | about 5 months ago | (#46769663)

In this case I know it's some kind of privacy software, but typically "FooBatz Release 5.4c is out!!!" is some gaming application or whatever. A half-sentence or more in the Slashdot summary would help, and so would a FAQ that starts with a section of "What is FooBatz?" rather than with "Why won't Ver 5.4b build on Slackware?"

Re:In plain English, what's a FreedomBox? (2)

kamapuaa (555446) | about 5 months ago | (#46769249)

Freedombox has a wikipedia page [wikipedia.org] , and seems to want to place Facebooking/email/all your communications on an independent private server that only let you communicate with other people who have freedomboxes.

Maybe if they can put this on a machine that costs $5 and requires 5 minutes (or less) of setup it will actually go somewhere. As it is, it's like being the only person you know to own a videophone.

Re:In plain English, what's a FreedomBox? (1)

SeaFox (739806) | about 5 months ago | (#46773863)

Freedombox has a wikipedia page [wikipedia.org] , and seems to want to place Facebooking/email/all your communications on an independent private server that only let you communicate with other people who have freedomboxes.

That Wikipedia article is stub-length and equally non-informative. The email service is likely more universal than just other FreedomBoxes, but might need to set up decryption services on recipient clients.

Re:In plain English, what's a FreedomBox? (1)

camg188 (932324) | about 5 months ago | (#46770897)

simple, obvious...
Click the "Use FreedomBox" link
Click the "FreedomBox in the Press" link. (I guess press coverage is part of using FreedomBox?)
Click on the link to the one and only article listed (Third link now?)
Scan article, it refers to a homegrown mesh network, wtf?... Do a word search on "FreedomBox", no hits? oh, article refers to it as 2 words: "Freedom Box"
Do a word search on "Freedom"
JACKPOT (sort of):

The concept: It's a personal server, which automatically scrambles digital data to make them harder for unauthorized people to intercept. The idea is to create a personal "cloud," or online storage space, for data before the information is sent to standard e-mail or Web services.

TLDR: some kind of encryption dongle.

Re:In plain English, what's a FreedomBox? (2)

smoothnorman (1670542) | about 5 months ago | (#46771531)

this is what it does: It provides the necessary software to support a private, possibly semi-secure, social network. Think: Facebook, but small and secret, presumably to protect your membership from an oppressive large authority.

(this post is a traditional trick to get someone who actually can answer this sensible question to become so enraged by this incorrect reply that their activation energy is achieved and we get a good answer. so take what i've written up there as false bait. (this works particularly well when one wants a clear definition to obscure technical terms. just get yourself on a Haskell board, and write: "monads? simple! they're factory objects that provide closures for a formal lambda expression" then watch the horror and outrage and eventually you get the correct answer from the former lurker class))

Re:In plain English, what's a FreedomBox? (1)

LordLimecat (1103839) | about 5 months ago | (#46775079)

It was a joke; if you check you will see that the two pages I linked to form a circular reference.

Re:In plain English, what's a FreedomBox? (1)

Cow Jones (615566) | about 5 months ago | (#46775191)

Oh. Right. Damn, I should have noticed that. I'm sorry.

I just saw that all of your links were marked as "read" and didn't bother to check any further. Hats off to you, I have been well and truly trolled.

Re:In plain English, what's a FreedomBox? (1)

nine-times (778537) | about 5 months ago | (#46768169)

I think the problem is that, in all those links, there isn't an obvious link to a clear explanation of what Freedombox actually does. There's a vague "vision statement" about ideological goals. There's a set of directions that tells you how to plug it in (hint: you plug it in). There are video presentations which I can't watch conveniently, but I assume will explain something-or-other. There isn't really a clear plain-english write-up of what's supposed to be accomplished by using one of these, nor the details on how it works.

Is it some kind of pass-through Tor client? A VPN-like encryption scheme? Does it actually host web/email/chat? I get that it has something to do with privacy and communications, but... what?

Re:In plain English, what's a FreedomBox? (1)

LordLimecat (1103839) | about 5 months ago | (#46775093)

The joke is that if you click the first link, then the second link, you end up back where you started. It doesnt look like anyone got the humor though.

Re:In plain English, what's a FreedomBox? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46781881)

That's some humor. On par with current sitcoms.

Re:In plain English, what's a FreedomBox? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46768233)

*squints* Is that sarcasm? I can't tell.

I think what the grand-parent post is after is something along the lines of: It's a distro for making your own cloud, easily - which is the gist that I get from this

Re:In plain English, what's a FreedomBox? (1)

LordLimecat (1103839) | about 5 months ago | (#46775105)

Yes, it was sarcasm. I was referencing the circular linkage on the website. Click "learn more" and you go to page 2, which links you to about (the homepage).

Re:In plain English, what's a FreedomBox? (2)

Gaygirlie (1657131) | about 5 months ago | (#46768427)

Look, its easy. On the https://wiki.debian.org/Freedo... [debian.org] page, theres a link to Learn about Freedombox [debian.org] , which Im sure gives useful information on the project.

A huge bunch of various talks and presentations that are only meaningful to someone who is already familiar with the project? No, that's far from clear and easily-accessible for someone who is not familiar with the stuff, and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FreedomBox [wikipedia.org] seems like the most reasonable available explanation for it. And yet, it's totally not enough.

I still don't really get what they do or what they want, and I really have to say that this kind of approach really doesn't endear random people to the project -- people, that might otherwise start contributing to it. It wouldn't take them much more than a day or two to explain it all on their website and make the project and its developers more approachable, but alas, I get the feeling they want to maintain their own, precious little clique instead.

Re:In plain English, what's a FreedomBox? (1)

kesuki (321456) | about 5 months ago | (#46772525)

from what i can tell the 'freedombox' is using freedom as in freedom fries. it requires all the software to turn a pi into a server that is totally controlled via the internet with the ability to lie about who is sending the packets etc. some people call this type of software a 'rootkit' and it is understandable why they don't explain this to would be users who are expected to just flash a pi with it no questions asked. i could be wrong, but i'm not the only person on slashdot to 'doubt' the software.

Re:In plain English, what's a FreedomBox? (1)

hubie (108345) | about 5 months ago | (#46768473)

While true one can google for almost anything, that doesn't excuse poorly written summaries. Far too often the article summary doesn't simply add a sentence or two to put the topic in context, especially when it comes to a particular software package or specialized hardware. In my opinion, a decent article summary shouldn't put the burden on the potential reader to click through link after link, or bring up a separate web search simply to determine whether the article is worth their time reading.

Re:In plain English, what's a FreedomBox? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46781823)

Look, its easy. On the https://wiki.debian.org/Freedo... [debian.org] page, theres a link to Learn about Freedombox [debian.org] , which Im sure gives useful information on the project. Heck, that page even links to additional resources here [debian.org] .

Like I said: Easy.

So, you don't know either...

Re:In plain English, what's a FreedomBox? (1)

ediron2 (246908) | about 5 months ago | (#46769789)

FreedomBox is a community project to develop, design and promote[1] personal servers running free software for distributed social networking, email and audio/video communications.[2] The project was announced by Eben Moglen at the New York ISOC meeting on February 2, 2010.[3]

src: wikipedia entry for freedombox.

If that is mumbo-jumbo to you, you're really not likely to be in a position to contribute code or docs.

Re:In plain English, what's a FreedomBox? (1)

houstonbofh (602064) | about 5 months ago | (#46770789)

OK. That is the intent. Now what the fuck does it do? Or better yet, what does it do differently than Owncloud?

Re:In plain English, what's a FreedomBox? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46775943)

OK. That is the intent. Now what the fuck does it do? Or better yet, what does it do differently than Owncloud?

Different level: FreedomBox is a distro that would include Owncloud as one of its packages. The goal is to make it as easy as possible to deploy Owncloud (and other software that lets you move off "the cloud" onto a server you own) onto an easy to setup device running the FreedomBox distro. I believe the project is also interested in the hardware side of things, or at least having explicitly supported hardware configurations.

Re:In plain English, what's a FreedomBox? (1)

ChunderDownunder (709234) | about 5 months ago | (#46775377)

my linux distribution already includes the kitchen sink for many of these services.

Perhaps they're not packaged in a 'personal' context to enable you to run the next facebook on chrooted debian running on your smartphone, using various peer-to-peer encryption protocols. Is that the intent? Or a full-blown linux server that runs in a Hyper-V container from you Win 8 Pro desktop? Sounds very "hand-wavey'.

So, I'm just curious as to why a project with vaguely defined goals and no obvious roadmap or system architectural document ends up as a front page Slashdot submission?

I have coding skills, I can't contribute docs for a project that can't elucidate its purpose to laypeople on their homepage.

Re:In plain English, what's a FreedomBox? (2)

IronChef (164482) | about 5 months ago | (#46771031)

I spent a few minutes looking at the linked site, and searching, and could not find the answer to that question. There were some promising-looking links to freedomboxfoundation.org but the site was not responding.

Either I need to turn in my geek card, or more likely, someone needs to turn in their web content editor card.

Re:In plain English, what's a FreedomBox? (1)

complete loony (663508) | about 5 months ago | (#46775031)

The core problem, is that FreedomBox doesn't know what they want to be. They have no clear leadership and no clear goals. FreedomBox is what happens when you try to get consensus from a random collection of people who are drawn to the project only because of it's name.

Re:In plain English, what's a FreedomBox? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46778111)

The FreedomBox is a NSA-designed wire-tapping device sold to tinfoil hats, who don't use Facebook. They are supposed to use this trojan horse for their "private" communication instead of just keeping it out of the Internet. So it's just another PsyOp to catch some of the remaining stubborn sheep. Nothing to see here, move on! ;-)

Raspberry Pi? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46767791)

Raspberry Pi is listed as unsuitable on their hardware page, because it requires a binary blob to boot. Is this no longer the case? Or has an exception been made?

FreedomBox article in Wired (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46768703)

What is it. Still confused? Wired has more info in plain English.
http://www.wired.com/2012/06/freedombox/all/

Until its all worked out, there is always Tails.

Hey man, is that Freedom Box? (1)

jerk (38494) | about 5 months ago | (#46769451)

Well turn it up, man!

Sorry, I'm just having flashbacks of the Freedom Rock [youtube.com] commercial.

Re:Hey man, is that Freedom Box? (1)

just_another_sean (919159) | about 5 months ago | (#46770435)

I know your just kidding but that actually would be a pretty good marketing slogan for them. I wonder if they would run afoul of Ramco or whoever it was selling Freedom Rock...

Seems like it would appeal to the older, potentially less tech savvy folks they are targeting with Freedom Box.

xmcum (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46769967)

Ok... What does it DO? (2)

ilsaloving (1534307) | about 5 months ago | (#46771211)

I skimmed through all these pages and there isn't a single sentence describing what it does in order to accomplish it's goals.

Ok, great, it wants to have distributed social networking, email, yadda yadda.

Is it using Diaspora for the social networking aspects? Maybe it's using leftover magic beans?

I'm not even going to waste my time downloading this thing if they can't even say how they're planning on achieving those goals.

Re:Ok... What does it DO? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46777163)

from the mailinglis thread on this post I read:

"""

Currently Plinth allows the user to:
1. Configure PageKite.
2. Install ownCloud.
3. Add XMPP accounts.
4. Some very basic system configuration.
5. Run diagnostics.

Tor is configured to run as a bridge with obfsproxy. It is not an exit
node. It isn't set up to automatically route other traffic through Tor
yet, but you can configure an application to use the SOCKS port.

dnsmasq and IP forwarding work as expected for clients on the LAN.
Privoxy works, but it also requires some browser configuration
currently.

"""

I share your skepticism. Personally having my own setup of this, never needed to wait 3 years that Debian includes packages or so.

Freedombox seems a bit of a dead cat project, still keeps getting into the picture, but its software made by sysadmins and, as such, not really a software.

Re:Ok... What does it DO? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46806617)

+1
Seems like a lot of masturbatory GNUspeak. WHAT DOES THE FUCKING THING DO?

I'm reminded of something (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46782035)

Diaspora 2.0?

I've read through the comments here, and I see that nobody else knows what the fuck this is all about, either. Apparently it's a "distributed social network" (whatever the fuck that's supposed to mean.) That term reminds me of the diaspora project, from a few years back. They had a whole flurry of activity and donations. Nowadays we don't hear shit about them, because for all intents and purposes they faded away into obscurity after failing to deliver anything beyond pre-alpha software.

This project is even worse. It doesn't even know what the fuck it wants to be. One of the very first things you need is to be able to explain to people what you're actually trying to accomplish, and these guys get a fucking F MINUS. If you don't have an overall vision, how do you plan on moving forward? Even hippie communes have a general vision and goals they try to work toward.

These motherfuckers need to take their heads out of their asses and get someone with basic communication skills involved in the process. Apparently they have a plan, but we're all fucked if we can figure out what it is.

Debian is a piece of shit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46792199)

Which dumbass decided to split the configuration file into bits and spread them into a bunch of small files? Wouldn't that the the computer longer to load the config? To hell with debian.

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