Server rendered unusable (cannot connect at all) after installing some packages

Problem Description
I installed a new minimal debian buster (netinst) on one of the disks partitions (50gb) using a sudo user named lets say user1. I installed freedombox from the backports. Everything ok up to now, configured a new user (user2) from freedombox. Used the server a couple of days but the power management was not to my liking, too noisy. I was going to use the server very rare only thus I wanted to spin down the disks and the fan. I installed and configured via puTTY (as user2) lm-sensors, fancontrol, powertop etc and disabled the suspension of the system when closing the lid. I was satisfied with the results. So far so good. I did shutdown the server. Today I just wanted to uninstall fancontrol and try the laptop-mode tools (I think they automatically work better on my eeepc). Maybe irrelevant but I did also change the file permissions on a data partition, which I used in the freedombox share app, through another debian system on a different partition - I could not get access to all files from the the sharing app). I logged in as user2 directly from the eeepc only to find out that I could not perform any sudo operations! The user was not in the sudoers list (!). I logged in as user1 and install mc normally as sudo. I could no longer connect to the server. After two reboots, I achieved as user2 to install the laptop-mode-tools and disable the fancontrol service. However, I still cannot reach my server from my other laptop (The connection has timed out). It feels a bit like twilight zone :-), it was really disappointing after my initial enthusiasm about freedombox (I cannot find any other use for my old eeepc). Any help is welcomed. I have to say that this is the first time I setup any kind of server but I am not a linux newbie. Anyhow, I wish hereby to congratulate the developers on supporting the i386 architecture. Not many home server distros like yours still do… I only found yunohost but I didn’t want it since it wants to wipe the whole disk (despite the fact they have nextcloud) and it is still based on stretch.

Just the login from tty1


  • FreedomBox version: 20.something, the one from buster backports
  • Hardware: ASUS Eeepc 1000H (i386) upgraded to 2gb RAM and 500gb disk.
  • How did you install FreedomBox?: apt install freedombox (from backports) on a newly installed debian buster
1 Like

I could use perhaps freedombox from usb flash disk as the first time I tried it. I wish however to be able to install the laptop-mode-tools and disable suspend and hibernation on lid close. Maybe this is easier…
P.S. the web console did not work (even before the problems appeared).

@denethor, A few points that may help you:

  • When login fails a few times (I think 5) using SSH etc, for a few times, fail2ban will automatically ban you for a few minutes. Another service pam_abl module does the same inside the machine.
  • When the machine is still booting, slapd, nscd, nslcd have not started up yet, then trying to login with a user created from FreedomBox (meaning LDAP user) will fail.
  • Check that there is still disk space available. Weird things happen otherwise.

Also how are you accessing from the second machine to the first one? SSH or Samba? based on that we can check firewalls etc.