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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 (bookworm), Testing (trixie), and Unstable (sid).

Important: Read general advice about hardware before building a FreedomBox with this approach.

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 12 (bookworm) or newer

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

  1. Install Debian 12 (bookworm), 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. Tips and Troubleshooting

  1. 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. 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.

  2. 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  \
      ipv4.method "manual"  \
      ipv4.ignore-auto-dns yes  \
      ipv6.method ignore
  3. ..with the block capitals and replaced with your actual address, mask description, gateway and dns server details.









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