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 * [[http://brej.org/blog/?cat=21|Tidbit]]: A global database for exchanging signed tidbits of information

Freedom Box Project

Inspired by Eben Moglen's vision of a small, cheap and simple computer that serves freedom in the home, we are building a Debian-based platform for distributed applications.

Freedom Box is about:

  • privacy
  • control
  • ease of use
  • dehierarchicalization

1. Vision Statement

We live in a world where our use of the network is mediated by organizations that often do not have our best interests at heart. By building software that does not rely on a central service, we can regain control and privacy. By keeping our data in our homes, we gain useful legal protections over it. By giving back power to the users over their networks and machines, we are returning the Internet to its intended peer-to-peer architecture.

In order to bring about the new network order, it is paramount that it is easy to convert to it. The hardware it runs on must be cheap. The software it runs on must be easy to install and admimistrate by anybody. It must be easy to transition from existing services.

There are a number of projects working to realize a future of distributed services; we aim to bring them all together in a convenient package.

2. Requirements

This is the result of a brainstorm from the debconf team.

  • enable people to reclaim their privacy and control of their data
  • return to the peer to peer nature of the net (vs. tendency towards hierarchical organization)
  • making a consumer product
  • easy to use for everyone (pre-installed, easily configured, easily restored)
  • inexpensive (dirt cheap)
  • use at home (expand: legal significance of 4th amendment context)

  • smooth transition from cloud services (e.g. social networks)
  • secure routing
  • generic and configurable
  • extensible
  • want hardware makers to be enthusiastic about the project

3. Resources

5. Example projects

  • ReadyNAS - proprietary parts sold on top of Debian running SPARC hardware. similar to freedombox but targetting home storage only, with a web interface, rahter than lots of applications, althogh there were some (like BitTorrent.) Point is really to look at them as a model of how to sell Debian preinstalled in display-less computers.

  • Aegir (Drupal-based control panel)

  • Asterisk (appliances, live CD's)

  • PlugBPX, a project to turn the sheeva plug into a simple Asterisk server

  • Seeks Project

  • GNU social

  • GNUnet

  • Tor (For routing perhaps)

  • diaspora

  • ?SmoothWall, IP Cop

  • OpenWRT

  • OpenMediaVault (which ?isn't released yet, but looks like it has an excellent and comprehensive panel, similar to that used by the ReadyNAS.)

  • SPACE service platform for distributable services, with (KDE) desktop integration and (Eucalyptus) cloud backend

  • ownCloud, data storage project from the wider KDE community

  • PogoPlug: Proprietary software stack to run on plug computers and provide "personal cloud" storage and access (dynamicDNS, access control, web configuration)

  • tinc, FOSDEM2010 LightningTalk, Guus Sliepen about tinc .avi, 60 MByte
    example(tinc) ChaosVPN

  • RetroShare, secure communications with friends

  • Wuala, Distributed, redundant, encrypted (zero-knowledge), and online file storage (closed source)

  • Tonido, local cloud services on a sheeva plug device. Proprietary software on top of Ubuntu jaunty.

  • Tidbit: A global database for exchanging signed tidbits of information

6. ToDo

  • setup a core/coordination team (ie. people that are actually going to work on this)
  • What we need
  • What we have
  • How to contribute
  • Who else is doing similar stuff

7. Done

8. Areas of work / architecture

  • project management tool
  • installer
  • UI
  • config
  • telephony
  • mail
  • hardware support
  • calendaring
  • IRC proxy (maybe even server?)
  • statusnet instance

9. Issues

  • How is each box discovered and identified?
    • Need some way of finding your mates Most ISPs provide dynamic IPs. Would need to reply on external dynamic DNS service. (everyone ele's Freedom boxes?)
  • Upstream bandwidth
    • Very limited with typcial ADSL connections. How much of a problem is that if people keep downling photos from it whilst you try to use the net?
  • Mail
    • If the box does mail then spam is a problem. Running spamassassin dramitically increases resource requirements on box Collective spam processing is effective because it is easy to identify mass-mailing. Would need to do this in distributed manner (razor-style?)
  • Identity management
    • Important to be able to identify yourself on various services so you know email and facebook and whatever IDs are all you, and should refer back to this FB for authentication. How do we do it? Is it needed in order to realise that an email addy is freedom-able and so signing/encryption can be used? Multiple identities needed e.g for two sites (e.g. home+college) or ID for FB and ID for mobile phone?
  • Two boxes in one building (son brings FB home from college)
  • Storage: if it hosts all data one produces, plus backup from friends, it needs much bigger storage than the default Sheevaplug/Guruplug. 512MB won't last long for photo, videos and such.

10. Target Hardware

  • ?SheevaPlug/GuruPlug

    • Latter has WiFi and can act as an access point

    • Older designs of both had heat problems.
  • OpenRD

    • Same hardware platform as the ?SheevaPlug, more flexible and more expensive

  • NSLU2
    • Discontinued?
  • Fonera 2.0n

    • Slow and very limited memory (64MB)
  • FitPC