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Download and Install

Wellcome to the FreedomBox download page. You may either install FreedomBox on one of the supported inexpensive hardware, on a Linux Debian operating system, or deploy on a virtual machine.

Installing on a machine running a Debian system is easy because FreedomBox is available as a package. We recommend to install FreedomBox on a supported single board computer though. The board will be dedicated for FreedomBox use from home. What we are requiring is to buy a device and plug in an SD card. In case of trouble when choosing the appropriate board or during install, please use Live Help or read and interact with the Questions and Answers page based on Freedombox-discuss mailing list archives.

Downloading on Debian

If you are installing on Debian, you don't need to download these images. Instead read instructions on setting up FreedomBox on Debian.

Downloading on Hardware or Virtual Machine

Prepare your device

See hardware specific instructions on how to prepare your device at the Hardware section. Gather and read a lot of documentation on the web about first boot and flashing USB or SD Card on your hardware.

Downloading Images

Recent images for supported targets are available here:

Verifying the Downloaded Images

It is important to verify the images you have downloaded to ensure that the file has not be corrupted during the transmission and that it is indeed the image built by FreedomBox developers.

Installation

After the download you can use the image to boot supported hardware (including virtual machines). You'll need to copy the image to the memory card or USB stick as follows:

  1. Figure out which device your card actually is.
    1. Unplug your card.
    2. Run dmesg -w to show and follow the kernel messages.

    3. Plug your card in. You will see messages such as following:
      [33299.023096] usb 4-6: new high-speed USB device number 12 using ehci-pci
      [33299.157160] usb 4-6: New USB device found, idVendor=058f, idProduct=6361
      [33299.157162] usb 4-6: New USB device strings: Mfr=1, Product=2, SerialNumber=3
      [33299.157164] usb 4-6: Product: Mass Storage Device
      [33299.157165] usb 4-6: Manufacturer: Generic
      [33299.157167] usb 4-6: SerialNumber: XXXXXXXXXXXX
      [33299.157452] usb-storage 4-6:1.0: USB Mass Storage device detected
      [33299.157683] scsi host13: usb-storage 4-6:1.0
      [33300.155626] scsi 13:0:0:0: Direct-Access     Generic- Compact Flash    1.01 PQ: 0 ANSI: 0
      [33300.156223] scsi 13:0:0:1: Direct-Access     Multiple Flash Reader     1.05 PQ: 0 ANSI: 0
      [33300.157059] sd 13:0:0:0: Attached scsi generic sg4 type 0
      [33300.157462] sd 13:0:0:1: Attached scsi generic sg5 type 0
      [33300.462115] sd 13:0:0:1: [sdg] 30367744 512-byte logical blocks: (15.5 GB/14.4 GiB)
      [33300.464144] sd 13:0:0:1: [sdg] Write Protect is off
      [33300.464159] sd 13:0:0:1: [sdg] Mode Sense: 03 00 00 00
      [33300.465896] sd 13:0:0:1: [sdg] No Caching mode page found
      [33300.465912] sd 13:0:0:1: [sdg] Assuming drive cache: write through
      [33300.470489] sd 13:0:0:0: [sdf] Attached SCSI removable disk
      [33300.479493]  sdg: sdg1
      [33300.483566] sd 13:0:0:1: [sdg] Attached SCSI removable disk
    4. In the above case, the disk that is newly inserted is available as /dev/sdg. Very carefully note this and use it in the copying step below.

  2. Decompress the downloaded image using tar:
    $ xz -d freedombox-unstable-free_2015-12-13_cubietruck-armhf.img.xz

    The above command is an example for the cubietruck image built on 2015-12-13. Your downloaded file name will be different.

  3. Copy the image to your card. Double check and make sure you don't write to your computer's main storage (such as /dev/sda). Also make sure that you don't run this step as root to avoid potentially overriding data on your hard drive due to a mistake in identifying the device or errors while typing the command. USB disks and SD cards inserted into the system should typically be write accessible to normal users. If you don't have permission to write to your SD card as a user, you may need to run this command as root. In this case triple check everything before you run the command. Another safety precaution is to unplug all external disks except the SD card before running the command.

    For example, if your SD card is /dev/sdf as noted in the first step above, then to copy the image, run:

    $ dd bs=1M if=freedombox-unstable-free_2015-12-13_cubietruck-armhf.img of=/dev/sdf conv=fdatasync

    The above command is an example for the cubietruck image built on 2015-12-13. Your image file name will be different.

    When picking a device, use the drive-letter destination, like /dev/sdf, not a numbered destination, like /dev/sdf1. The device without a number refers to the entire device, while the device with a number refers to a specific partition. We want to use the whole device. Downloaded images contain complete information about how many partitions there should be, their sizes and types. You don't have to format your SD card or create partitions. All the data on the SD card will be wiped off during the write process.

  4. Use the image by inserting the SD card or USB disk into the target

    device and booting from it. Your device should also be prepared (see the Hardware section).

  5. Read (the rest of) the Manual for instructions on how to use applications in FreedomBox.


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