First steps with FreedomBox

My First Impressions

Installation and setup

Router configuration and home network setup

I followed the documentation, everything went smoothly. I configured everything to run on the home LAN only. At the moment there is no external access via VPN.

Startup and discovery of web interface

After startup, I opened the web UI, created my admin account and spent a long time in Cockpit, to discover its functionality. I updated the system, after which I had to start a couple services manually: snapper-box and unattended-upgrade-once. I then run diagnostcs: all tests passed. I just got a 404 error: “Requested page /plinth/notification/security-operation/dismiss/ was not found.” Overall the discovery of Cockpit was a positive experience, the UI is clear and much can be grasped intuitively, so thumbs up!

Installation of first app, ikiwiki

The installation process took a long time, but everything went fine. I created a personal blog and a “Recipe” wiki, together with a few users having the permissions to access these. Green lights for the blog, but one stumbling block for the wiki: I can’t figure out how to create a new Wiki page in the web UI. A question for support maybe?

Next steps

My short term plan is to install a series of apps and with the help of family test and use the following apps

  • calibre: common library for family members
  • Radicale: shared calendars
  • OpenVPN: access FreedomBox services externally
  • Transmission: file transfer via bit torrent
  • Zoph: storage of photos
  • Gitweb: for personal use

I further intend to

  • explore the features of sharing app;
  • attach some external storage to FreedomBox, ideally configured as some RAID;
  • setup some file storage via NFS share (I don’t like Samba and its owner).

In the long run

I have connected my FreedomBox via a Devolo adapter and ethernet cable to my router. Maybe this is not ideal in terms of speed. In general, everything works so far, but slowly. I would like to accelerate the access to and processing time of my FreedomBox, if possible. For the moment I don’t really know, how to do this (feedback is much appreciated). Maybe, it is a hardware limitation of a $69 device. For testing and experimenting with new services, however, I am happy with Freedombox.

There is always the possibility to step up and install the software on a more powerfull server later.

In the long run, I hope to achieve independency from online and cloud services as far as possible and, who knows, create my own public web page as a blog, all this under my control.

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