Participate in our Weekend Brainstorm Discussion and you have chance to win Pioneer-FreedomBox-HSK!


Internet-of-Things-IoT-e1521969062826

This week we started the sales of Pioneer-FreedomBox-Home-Server-Kits, and got lot of exposure in the social networks. Immediately people start to send us ideas of how to improve and make the product even better.

This is the beauty of the Open Source – everything is open, everyone can check and review the sources and advice what and how can be done better.

Even regular users who has no great knowledge of Software and Hardware contribute with ideas and tips what they miss as features.

We are already thinking for design special hardware which to have four SATA interfaces and allow 2 or 4 HDDs to work in RAID, thus improving the data storage capacity and reliability.

Another direction we think is how to release lower cost version with only SD card, no battery UPS backup and slower Ethernet interface which to get closer to Mr. Moglen (FreedomBox Foundation founder) dream for $29 plug server.

Many people asked why FreedomBox software does not included private e-mail server, but only client. The major problem to implement it is how to keep such service clean, as spammers may compromise your ISP by infecting computers to send emails and your ISP IP addresses to be blacklisted, so you can loose your ability to send e-mails for reasons behind your control. We would love to hear your ideas about this.

We got interesting tip to add possibility two or more Pioneer-FreedomBox-HSK to work in-sync and backup/mirror the data, being physically separated by long distance. The idea is to keep your information safe even if one of the server is stolen, broken or bombed 🙂 This would be easy to do with rsync.

Our challenge for you this weekend is to provoke discussion about what would be useful new feature, which you want to see in Pioneer-FreedomBox-HSK software or  hardware improvement.

You can discuss here on our blog, in Twitter, Facebook or Mastodon.

One Pioneer-FreedomBox-HSK will be given away in Monday to random participant.

Have a nice weekend!

UPDATE-2019-04-30: sorry Monday was part Easter Holidays so we couldn’t update the recap for the Weekend Discussion, but here is summary of your feedback:

About the Software:

  1. Number of people requested PiHole to be included. What is PiHole? It’s DNS sinkhole that protects your devices from unwanted content, without installing any client-side software. It’s Network level ad and spyware blocker.
  2. Many requested  NextCloud to be add in FreedomBox. It duplicated some of the existing software in FreedomBox.
  3. Some requested home Git server to be included, but if you want to work on Open Source project hiding your code in private Home Git may be not best approach.
  4. LibreSSL as alternative to OpenSSL.
  5. Diaspora pod may be good but I have no idea how much resources it needs.
  6. WireGuard as alternative to OpenVPN.
  7. IPFS we admit we never hear before for it but it look cool.
  8. Snips  this looks like nice open source alternative to Alexa and Google assistant.
  9. Btrfs
  10. FreshRSS
  11. Matrix/Riot
  12. HomeAssistant not sure how this relates to FreedomBox targets for distributed Internet and Privacy, but well related to Home server.
  13. Bitwarden
  14. Federation i.e. two FreedomBoxes to may replicate/backup each others data without having access to each others data.
  15. Containerized services (not sure how fast will work virtualization on our current processor and memory).
  16. encrypted email server

About the Hardware:

  1. RAID.
  2. Kill switch to wipe encryption key.
  3. Low cost model just SD-card and Ethernet.
  4. Dual Ethernet.
  5. Option for more RAM.
  6. WiFi/Ble this may be a conflict with Debian as they do not allow binary blobs firmware.
  7. mSATA / M.2
  8. miniPCIe.
  9. USB 3.0.
  10. Microphone, Speaker.
  11. UFS cards support.
  12. solar panel power supply support.

Wow a lot to consider 🙂 Thanks for your incredible feedback!

Random.org selected @Benjaminlj@mastodon.social as our winner!

24 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Borislav
    Apr 26, 2019 @ 13:54:40

    I would love to see a kill switch implemented.
    If someone opens my server rack without disengaging the kill switch – total wipe out of the SD.

    Off the top of my head I imagine a sensor connected to the board that triggers the kill switch.

    That combined with an rsynced second device will not even interrupt services!

    Reply

    • DHeadshot
      Apr 26, 2019 @ 18:34:37

      If doing that, you’d be better off running with data on a hard drive as it’s easier/quicker to securely wipe…

      Reply

    • Sunil Mohan Adapa
      Apr 26, 2019 @ 22:59:32

      FreedomBox currently has backup facility that uses borg to store data on remote servers (this is efficient like rsync) with SSH. However, this is currently a manual backup and we are working to implemented scheduled backups.

      I think wiping SD cards can be done if we encrypt the drive and wipe the decryption keys.

      Reply

  2. jonassmedegaard
    Apr 26, 2019 @ 14:07:38

    Great!

    I would however dearly recommend to focus here on ideas for _hardware_ design, and contribute ideas on _software_ to the FreedomBox project: https://wiki.debian.org/FreedomBox/Contribute

    Reply

  3. blulin
    Apr 26, 2019 @ 20:28:23

    I would love to see pihole like DNS filtering functionality implemented in the freedom box software. The hardware for freedombox lime2 board is already great except, if anything I would wish for is a more powerful CPU or quad core cortex a7 for more multiprocessing with not much increase in power usage

    Reply

  4. Michael
    Apr 26, 2019 @ 22:07:17

    Would be cool to have different Kits for different usecases – for example one for beginners and one for users who need more server power.
    Concerning software it would be great to have Nextcloud implemented.

    Reply

  5. Hampton the Hampster
    Apr 27, 2019 @ 00:03:03

    Now that jernej has libreelec running on h6 why not coming up with a higher power h6 based board? That would add USB 3 for storage.

    Reply

    • OLIMEX Ltd
      Apr 27, 2019 @ 07:04:22

      we have spoken with people working in data centers, no one consider USB3 as good idea for storage interface, all use SATA

      Reply

      • Hampton the Hampster
        Apr 27, 2019 @ 14:41:26

        Well in a data center of course but at home? Or where do you see this box? Not in a data center for sure.

  6. JC
    Apr 27, 2019 @ 11:09:16

    I’m always a fan of increased modularity as customers are always going to use the hardware for a wide range of purposes. On one hand, the component layout has to be thoughtfully planned as to not easily become incredibly complex and difficult to route, but the benefit would be reduced manufacturing costs and stale inventory.

    Some general ideas concerning modularity, simplification and expansion:

    – As usual, a configurable memory option which is already present within many Olimex boards. More memory would be nice (especially if Nextcloud is eventually supported).
    – CPU breakout module supporting >1 CPU option (perhaps using stacked PCBs to reduce physical footprint)
    – Option to add a second GbE port to use as WAN/LAN in a router configuration
    – Barebones model with only uSD, power jack, 1x RJ-45 populated (for people who set it and forget it, or simply as a minimal-cost option)
    – WiFI/BLE expansion board (including a uFL connector to attach an external antenna, please!!)
    – OpenSCAD enclosure design for people to 3D print a case which could optionally fit a 2.5″ drive. (I could actually help with this.)

    I agree with Jonas in that software upgrades should be pushed upstream as much as possible. It’s no secret that I’m a fan of organization/consolidation. 🙂

    Reply

  7. Jerry
    Apr 27, 2019 @ 12:54:40

    It would be nice to also have git server available out-of-the-box.

    Reply

  8. LinAdmin
    Apr 28, 2019 @ 17:47:20

    Since writing throughput of SATA ports in Allwinner A20 chips is lousy I suggest not to use that solution for a NAS. When a good USB3 to SATA bridge is correctly implemented speed is much better.

    Reply

  9. simooooone
    Apr 28, 2019 @ 18:56:52

    Very nice project. I also think that pi.hole is worth a try to implement in freedombox. It’s some moths that I was thinking on a similar idea. But since it’s already there why not to try it out…..maybe when I got some bucks to replace my raspberry powered pi.hole – zerotier instance

    Reply

  10. Sunil Mohan Adapa
    Apr 28, 2019 @ 21:21:01

    The board should have at least two Ethernet ports. This would enable the following use cases to be addressed nicely.

    – Put FreedomBox before your router. FreedomBox will provide Internet connectivity needed for Wi-Fi router. Many people trust free software/open hardware to filter out Internet traffic instead of exposing the routers with proprietary, outdated firmware.

    – Use FreedomBox as a filtering device. This device could do much better DNS based elimination of malicious/adware sites. Or transparent proxying using services like Privoxy, Tor routing (this is actually not recommended).

    – Establish a private network for IoT devices in the local network that separated from the main network for better IoT security. Many popular IoT hardware raise privacy/security concerns for users.

    – Transparently provide many services such as resolving names from alternate DNS protocols, access websites from P2P website protocols, etc.

    Reply

  11. xemilo
    Apr 29, 2019 @ 03:02:02

    Double mSATA / M.2
    Double eMMC socketed not soldered.
    Boot from SPI.

    Software: Tox node; Tor relay node; Tor exit node;

    Reply

  12. Maarten
    Apr 29, 2019 @ 17:20:48

    Personally I think that not the hardware but the software needs attention
    to deliver a safe, and trustfully foundation for a Home Server solution.
    FreedomBox uses some parts that are not safe by design:
    systemd…and Java…

    I have tried FreedomBox multiple times (stable and unstable versions) and after
    some updates my earlier network settings changed, and I was not happy with it…

    FreedomBox needs more developers, and bigger active community like Debian
    to succeed.

    What I would like to see, would be is a “plug and play” OpenWRT image for the OlimexLime 2, that creates a “guest network” (with different subnet) for your quests with SSID: “openwireless.org” without a password.

    I think this would be very nice, and then the Olimex Lime 2 + WiFi USB adapter becomes, a alternative for home router

    Reply

  13. Maarten van Druten
    May 01, 2019 @ 15:03:52

    Thank you Sunil Hohan Adapa for your reply,
    I shall order a Olimex FreedomBox Home Server soon and try again.
    Because I like the idea of having a secure home server, than I can trust.
    forgive me of being cautious on this matter 🙂

    Currently my Olimex Lime2 board is configured as a “Pi-Hole” DNS server
    I can confirm that Pi-Hole works on Olimex Lime2, with Armbian Debian Strech + Pi-Hole curl bash script!

    I like that the FreedomBox can be controlled/configured with web-based GUI;
    Pi-Hole also has this, it works great.

    Besides the FreedomBox I think also ports of the following Linux distro’s could boost Olimex Lime2 popularity:

    – “Open Media Vault” (storage server) image for Olimex Lime2
    – “IPFire” (firewall) image for Olimex Lime2 (usb-ethernet adapters) could be used.
    (or better: please make a Olimex Lime2, with 2 or more ethernet ports!)
    – “Pi-Hole” (DNS server) image for the Olimex Lime2 (already works I can confirm this)
    – Also don’t forget (Puppy) EasyLinux, this could be a great OS for using the OlimexLime2 as a desktop PC (it’s fast and secure)

    Keep up the good work!

    Reply

  14. Sunil Mohan Adapa
    May 07, 2019 @ 21:27:17

    As a FreedomBox contributor, some comments on the software parts:

    * Many requested NextCloud to be add in FreedomBox. It duplicated some of the existing software in FreedomBox.

    We ourselves think NextCloud is a very important addition. We are looking at ways to include NextCloud overcoming the fact that it is not available in Debian (and with no upstream interest).

    * Some requested home Git server to be included, but if you want to work on Open Source project hiding your code in private Home Git may be not best approach.

    Developer related apps are not the top priority currently. If you are comfortable with SSH and setting up yourself, you can do that because underlying system is Debian.

    * LibreSSL as alternative to OpenSSL.

    We are likely to follow Debian’s choice whichever it is.

    * WireGuard as alternative to OpenVPN.

    We are considering this for inclusion currently.

    * Number of people requested PiHole to be included. What is PiHole? It’s DNS sinkhole that protects your devices from unwanted content, without installing any client-side software. It’s Network level ad and spyware blocker.
    * Diaspora pod may be good but I have no idea how much resources it needs.
    * IPFS we admit we never hear before for it but it look cool.
    * Snips this looks like nice open source alternative to Alexa and Google assistant.
    * FreshRSS
    * HomeAssistant not sure how this relates to FreedomBox targets for distributed Internet and Privacy, but well related to Home server.
    * Bitwarden

    Would be nice to have these apps but we are waiting for these to be packaged in Debian.

    * Btrfs

    Already is the default filesystem for all FreedomBox images and FreedomBox makes good use of it. We have a daemon that automatically takes snapshots and allows you to restore or access any of the snapshots. We are also considering using snapshots for backup and restore to reduce downtime and increase robustness.

    * Matrix/Riot

    FreedomBox already includes good support for Matrix Synapse via an app. Riot on Desktop or Mobile can use it.

    * Federation i.e. two FreedomBoxes to may replicate/backup each others data without having access to each others data.

    We can currently take backups of one FreedomBox to another FreedomBox remotely via just SSH. Backup application used is borg and backups are encrypted (you don’t need to trust the other box). Currently FreedomBox lacks automatic scheduling of backups and they need to be done manually. We are working on that.

    * Containerized services (not sure how fast will work virtualization on our current processor and memory).

    We are looking at systemd to provide most of the security provided by containerized service while still using Debian packages and their security updates (better than upstream authors managing containers, I believe). See for example: https://salsa.debian.org/freedombox-team/plinth/blob/master/plinth/modules/mldonkey/data/lib/systemd/system/mldonkey-server.service.d/freedombox.conf

    We are also considering containers for some cases like NextCloud.

    * encrypted email server

    Plans for that are here: https://salsa.debian.org/freedombox-team/plinth/issues/56

    Reply

  15. jonassmedegaard
    May 08, 2019 @ 17:31:24

    Please read and edit this wiki page regarding FreedomBox services: https://wiki.debian.org/FreedomBox/LeavingTheCloud

    Reply

  16. jcw
    May 10, 2019 @ 21:10:19

    +1 for NextCloud and WireGuard.

    For backups, I’d like to mention Duplicacy (not duplicity, etc). Excellent open-source command-line solution, trivial install, tons of back-ends – I’ve been using it for years. I have no affiliation, just very happy to do ALL my Linux & MacOS backups this way.

    Reply

  17. jonassmedegaard
    May 11, 2019 @ 02:27:16

    Thanks for the *software* suggestions, jcw (and others).

    Please pretty please consider sharing *software* suggestion with the _FreedomBox_ developers as those are far more likely to implement them than Olimex who are _hardware_ developers.

    Info on reaching FreedomBox developers – and help develop yourself – at https://wiki.debian.org/FreedomBox/Contribute

    Reply

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