Feedback from Olimex's raffle

#1

Summary
As some of you saw, Olimex raffled off a free Pioneer Edition FreedomBox kit last week. Entrants had to provide suggestions for what they want to see in the hardware and software. The good news is that we got a lot of feedback from the entrants, which I paste below.

Olimex kindly aggregated the feedback in their blog post here: https://olimex.wordpress.com/2019/04/26/participate-in-our-weekend-brainstorm-discussion-and-you-have-chance-to-win-pioneer-freedombox-hsk/

Feedback

Below, I have pasted the feedback that was submitted for the software:
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

Conclusion
We have discussed many of these topics already, and some appear on the Roadmap for 2019. But the items which stand out to me as new are HomeAssistant, snips, and WireGuard.

It is very useful to know what the public views as must-have features.

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#2

I posted the following response on the blog.

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

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#3

WireGuard is now sought as part of reachability effort: https://salsa.debian.org/freedombox-team/plinth/issues/1559

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#4

All sounds great. I was looking for OwnCloud but if NextCloud provides the same, I’m in. Also wireGuard is top of my list over OpenVPN.

I’m willing to pitch in to bounty program if the admins here could set something up.

BTW, I’m on a raspberry PI 3 B+ (I know, you don’t like it but there are tons of them out there). :frowning: