File system on fresh install

I am about to do a fresh install of Debian on a pc that will be solely a freedombox server. I have tinkered on and off with an Olimex Pioneer and then with an install on the same pc I am about to use for a fresh install. The other desktop pc, which is my daily driver, uses windows 11 pro. The two pcs are connected to a router/modem. I also use an android phone.

The freedombox pc is an HP. Cockpit gives me these hardware details: 8x Intel(R) Core™ i7-9700 CPU @ 3.00GHz. It has a 500 G ssd hard drive. I have a 4G WD USB hard drive attached as well plugged in to a USB C port.

Here is my present file structure:

I subscribe to MS OneDrive (which allows 1T storage) quite a lot right now and will continue to use it until I have freedombox all tuned up. I have documents and photos there that are presently under 300G. I might then let it go or use it for off site backup.

I plan to use the following apps on freedombox:

Great way to collect, find, share and use bookmarks.

I would like lots of room as it is where I will keep files I want to store. I try to keep file content there so that nothing important lives on the pc I work from.

This app should be exactly what I need for my photo collection. I have played around with it and I am looking forward to organizing my photos using it.

I use a Canon EOS RP camera. Using this and several previous cameras I have come to the conclusion the canon supplied software for linking it, isn’t up to the job. The camera has wifi and bluetooth. It may sync more reliably with my phone, not sure yet, but if it can send images to my phone automatically then using syncthing it can pass those files to an input album in Zoph that would suit me. It is what I am planning to try.

I plan to use this for video conferencing with 2 to 10 people at a time.

When I do the new debian install, I need to set up the file system. I see mention of btrfs having the advantage of snapshots and extendible storage space. When I do the install I will need to do better than just my usual guessing about what file system to use.

I think last time I installed I had to make some choices about LVM. Any suggestions about that? Do I want to enable that?

I think Freedombox is a great idea and I am really grateful for the community that has brought it so far after FSF got it started.

Any tips that will keep me on the right track with this install are most welcome.


I don’t have any immediate practical suggestion, but you may want to think about backup and restore of data shared with samba and syncthing if they are important for you.

Unfortunately, the backup feature of freedombox won’t backup the data space of samba and syncthing. I don’t know whether btrfs snapshots controlled by plinth could be a way to do a backup and restore in case of issues on the main disk where those data are stored. I guess these snapshots would need to go to a different disk and it should be possible to restore them even if the main disk failed. So supposing you find a way to do automated backups, you could only do this for less than 500 GB. Alternatively, the backups might be via another computer accessing the shared space of samba and syncthing.

All of this is rough thinking, ideas on backup/restore by other people are welcome.


I am in the process doing a fresh install of freedombox on an HP pc.

I have booted from the debian 12.5.0 install usb. I chose regular installation rather than graphic installation.

Then I needed to make partition choices. Since this box will be dedicated to freedombox, I am guessing that Guided - use entire disk is the way to go.

I am not sure whether LVM is favoured for freedombox. I selected it. Hope that is the right choice.

I then come to Software selection. I deselected Debian desktop environment and Gnome leaving only standard system utilities.

The install completed and I am now able to login to the command line interface.

Next step is to install freedombox. If using LVM or any other choices I have made look like mistakes let me know and I can start fresh.


I have the impression that btrfs may be the file system to use.

Does that mean I should not use LVM?

I am not clear about whether they work one on top of the other or whether I need to chose one or the other.


On my laptops, I make an unencrypted /boot partition and a partition that is encrypted, in which I use LVM to have a volume for swap and a volume for the root file system (using ext4), as described in dm-crypt/Encrypting an entire system - ArchWiki. LVM allows me to have both in a single encrypted partition (so I only type a single passphrase at boot).

btrfs has other features, you could read Btrfs - ArchWiki. If you see things useful for you there and feel that you understand well enough, you could try it.

It is common to make mistakes when using something new, so if you don’t have a specific reason to use btrfs, perhaps it is better to stick to ext4 which is more common, simpler and does its job well.

If you have installed with LVM while you don’t really need it, the only real complication I noticed so far is that, if you ever want to modify physical volumes, volume groups or logical volumes (but this may not happen), you need use commands as I could not find any GUI tool that handles that. However, I always easily found what I needed in LVM - ArchWiki.