2019 Roadmap/Email Server and CONTRIB

Couple of things caught my eyes this week :

  1. I saw that somebody said that diaspora and other software was not available for the platform yet but was available on the ‘CONTRIB’. Where can I find out details of other software beyond that which comes with the latest distribution (installed as a debian package over initial raspbian image)

  2. I saw on the 2019 Roadmap that there is plans for an email server. Has any decision been made over what email server has been chosen. I do this as I need to setup an email server ASAP and figured I might as well look at whatever will be chosen by the team rather than learn 2 mail server software. Also, has this made it into early testing yet?

Integrating a mail server is high on our to-do list, but the core team hasn’t made any final decisions yet. I can point you to two resources.

  1. Current plans: One of our core developers, @sunil, made a development plan for the mail server. Read about it here: https://salsa.debian.org/freedombox-team/plinth/issues/56

  2. Related project: Recently, we looked at a Debian-based mail server called projectx, and it might play a role in our development: Email Server: projectx

Debian has three sections for packages - main, contrib and non-free.
(Not to be confused with the three distributions - stable, testing and unstable. Each distribution has the above three sections.)

The package called diaspora was in the main section in distribution testing for a few months when we were trying to integrate it into FreedomBox back in 2017. However, it was removed from testing due to issues in its dependencies.

There is a different package called diaspora-installer which installs diaspora on a Debian system by downloading ruby packages from rubygems.org. This happens in the postinst script of this package (runs right after package installation). A package which requires either non-free Debian packages or external packages cannot be in main. Since the package is itself free but requires non-Debian packages during installation, it is classified as contrib.

You can install diaspora on your FreedomBox using diaspora-installer but your FreedomBox will not recognize it., i.e it is as good as a manually installed package. We can only officially support it once the package diaspora from main becomes available.

If you decide to install diaspora manually, make sure that you configure it to run on a subdomain. FreedomBox currently doesn’t support subdomains but it is on this year’s road map.

You can search for packages on https://packages.debian.org and see if they are tagged as contrib in the results. There are two search boxes on the page. Use the one near the bottom.

For example, these are the search results for package diaspora