Adding external USB HDD to a Freedombox

Problem Description

Hi, apologies if this is a bit of a n00b question but I thought I’d ask the experts rather than messing around too much with permissions on my freedombox.

I have a Raspberry Pi3 Model B Freedombox set up on a local wired and WiFi network, and so far it’s been a frictionless and incredibly easy process to set up and use the applications in the Freedombox distro.

I’m now trying to add an external HDD to the box so that I can backup other machines in the house to the Freedombox using Syncthing.

When I connect the USB HDD it is mounted automatically by the OS, and shows on the storage screen mounted at /media/root/backup

Unfortunately, when I try to configure an incoming share to sync to this drive, my Freedombox user marcus doesn’t have permissions to access this mount:

2020-01-03 21:13:15: Loading ignores: open /media/root/backup/.stignore: permission denied
2020-01-03 21:13:15: Failed to create folder root directory stat /media/root/backup: permission denied
2020-01-03 21:13:15: Error on folder "*****-*****-*****" (*****-*****): stat /media/root/backup: permission denied

I searched the forum for anything that directly addressed this and couldn’t find anything that helped, but happy to be directed. I did find this RFC but it didn’t seem as though this is implemented yet.

I’m a fairly experienced *nix hacker so if it is simply a case of configuring the automount to work differently then fine, I can do that. But I thought I’d ask here first in case there is a ‘Freedombox way’ to do this which I’m missing, or in case this is a bug.


  • FreedomBox version: FreedomBox version 19.24 Debian GNU/Linux 10 (buster)
  • Hardware: Raspberry Pi3 Model B
  • How did you install FreedomBox?: image from FreedomBox

I’m reposting this in #support as I had inadvertently posted in #uncategorized

To add a little more detail, I have been trying to ascertain how the USB HDD is being auto-mounted in the first place. Normally this would be happening because of an fstab entry or udev rules.

marcus@freedombox:~/$ cat /etc/fstab
UUID=cc7c85d1-6d4b-4270-985c-6858f4aa0d66 / btrfs defaults 0 1
UUID=700c205e-67f3-400d-8233-69d9d128f0dc /boot ext2 errors=remount-ro 0 2
UUID=1F21-DCC9 /boot/firmware vfat errors=remount-ro 0 2

There are no udev rules set in /etc/udev/rules.d/

I can’t see that any of the regular packages that Debian uses for automounting are installed - according to this information in the Debian manuals the package am-utils contains the utility amd - however this doesn’t appear to be installed on Freedombox.

If I can work out how the drive is being mounted to /media/root/backup/ in the first place, then I can work out how to make it mount so it is readable and writable to the user running the Freedombox process.

@pacharanero The auto-mount is due to udiskie, which is run by the freedombox-udiskie service. Since it runs as root user, the mounts end up under /media/root. It is discussed in this issue:

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