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Debian

FreedomBox is a pure blend of Debian. This means that all the work on FreedomBox is available in Debian as packages. It also means that any machine running Debian can be turned into a FreedomBox.

This page describes the process of installing FreedomBox on a Debian system. Currently, FreedomBox works in Debian Stable (Buster), Testing (Bullseye), and Unstable (Sid).

Use a fresh Debian installation

Installing FreedomBox changes your Debian system in many important ways. This includes installing a firewall and regenerating server certificates. It is hence recommended that you install FreedomBox on a fresh Debian installation instead of an existing setup.

Console/GUI logins for non-admin users will be disabled

After FreedomBox is fully setup, your system will no longer allow users not belonging to the admin group to log in to the system via console, secure shell (SSH) or graphical login. This behaviour can be disabled from the Security page. Use the administrator account created during FreedomBox first boot for console logins and add further user accounts to admin group, if necessary.

1. Installing on Debian 10.0 (Buster) or newer

Check the Troubleshooting section below, for any tips or workarounds that might help during the install.

  1. Install Debian 10.0 (Buster), or Unstable (Sid) on your hardware.

  2. Update your package list.
    $ sudo apt-get update
  3. Install freedombox package.

    $ sudo DEBIAN_FRONTEND=noninteractive apt-get install freedombox
    • The "DEBIAN_FRONTEND=noninteractive" will avoid several configuration prompts that would otherwise appear during the install.
  4. During the installation, you will be provided a secret key that needs to be entered during the initial configuration process. Note this down. The secret can also be read at a later time from the file /var/lib/plinth/firstboot-wizard-secret.

  5. You can start using FreedomBox. During initial wizard, you will need to enter the secret noted above.

2. Installing on Debian 9 (Stretch)

Check the Troubleshooting section below, for any tips or workarounds that might help during the install.

  1. Install Debian 9 (Stretch) on your hardware.

  2. Update your package list.
    $ sudo apt-get update
  3. Install freedombox-setup package.

    $ sudo DEBIAN_FRONTEND=noninteractive apt-get install freedombox-setup
    • The "DEBIAN_FRONTEND=noninteractive" will avoid several configuration prompts that would otherwise appear during the install.
  4. Run FreedomBox setup program. This installs further packages and sets up basic configuration.

    $ sudo /usr/lib/freedombox/setup | tee freedombox-setup.log
    You may have to clear your existing network configuration. See Troubleshooting note #2 below.
  5. Reboot the system. This is necessary to trigger the first-run script.
    $ sudo reboot
  6. After the system boots up, wait for it to reboot again. The first-run scripts sets up a few things and initiates a reboot.
  7. After the second reboot you can start using FreedomBox.

3. Tips and Troubleshooting

  1. There is a bug in policykit-1 package that causes errors and hangs during installation of freedombox-setup package. This bug is only applicable to Debian 9 (Stretch) and older. A workaround is to first install policykit-1 package and then reboot. After that, follow the above setup procedure.

    $ sudo apt-get update
    $ sudo apt-get install policykit-1
    $ sudo reboot
  2. FreedomBox uses NetworkManager to manage network configuration. If you have configured your network interfaces using Debian installer or by editing /etc/network/interfaces, FreedomBox will not manage those interfaces. (See bug #797614.) To let FreedomBox/NetworkManager manage your network interfaces, edit the /etc/network/interfaces manually and ensure that it contains only the following:

    auto lo
    iface lo inet loopback

    If you have already completed the setup process without doing this step, you will need to clear out the /etc/network/interfaces file keeping only the above lines. Then perform a reboot. On Debian 9 (Stretch), after this network connections configured by the setup step above will configure your network. Network interfaces will then be in the internal or external firewall zone. This is essential for the FreedomBox's web interface to be reachable from other machines in the network. You can tweak network manager connections with the nmtui command if you wish.

  3. FreedomBox will use an automatically configured IP address by default. You can assign a static IP address if necessary. Network configuration changes can be done using FreedomBox web interface or by using the nmtui or nmcli commands. nmcli can be used as follows:

      nmcli con mod "Ethernet connection 1"  \
      ipv4.addresses A.A.A.A/X  \
      ipv4.gateway G.G.G.G  \
      ipv4.dns N.N.N.N  \
      ipv4.dns-search somedomain.com  \
      ipv4.method "manual"  \
      ipv4.ignore-auto-dns yes  \
      ipv6.method ignore
  4. ..with the block capitals and somedomain.com replaced with your actual address, mask description, gateway and dns server details.


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