User experience

Hello! I took my freedombox pioneer edition in March this year and successfully connected it to my router. the current version is 21.4.2. I just share my opinion, expectations and experience as an average user without much knowledge in the field of computer systems. Overall, I’m happy, but I expected a little more. What I wanted to have was my own web, mail, vpn and instant messaging and VoIP server. The first thing I installed was matrix synapse and the Element client program on my phone and I was very happy with them until I found out that Element had a notification problem which almost made it meaningless. Then I continued to try to install Wireguard, but later I realized that I could not because it is only available in test versions, although it is available as a program. After installing OpenVPN after many attempts and reading why it doesn’t work I found that I need to make at least one network external. Then it worked but all applications that work only with internal networks stopped, such as Samba and MiniDLNA for example, as well as domain freedombox.local. So I had to choose and switch networks. Another thing I expected was an email server and not an email client. And for the web server I expected something like Wordpress :). However, you may need a slightly more powerful machine for these services. I also tested most applications. Calibre does not open books, they can only be downloaded. I did not understand at all how to work with MiniDLNA. So … my goal is not to criticize, even though it seems so. I’m just sharing in order to know what the average consumer is facing. And to improve the system in the future. Thanks and good luck.

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Hi Johnny,
Thanks for sharing your expectations and experiences with FreedomBox.
I’m just another user with a similar experience. My expectations were high, but like yourself I discovered that it’s very much a work-in-progress. I believe the services that FreedomBox aims to offer are very much needed and could be welcomed by many. But the services would have to work a bit better :slight_smile:

I found other ways to make use of my FreedomBox machine; Syncthing for sharing files to main computer and mobile devices) and its web server (it’s not Wordpress, however, it’s not that hard to upload a HTML website to the box). I’m still waiting for WireGuard to become usable…

I believe we both feel that this project shows much promise and value. And would like to see it grow and develop. To contribute to the project, why not add some missing information to the manual for example?

Kind regards,
Bart

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Thanks for the feedback.

Could you please describe the Element notification problem in more detail?

Regarding MiniDLNA, is the manual page helpful to start using it? FreedomBox/Manual/MiniDLNA - Debian Wiki

I found some open issues related to the points you made:

Hopefully these can be solved soon.

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Thanks for the reply.
I’m glad these problems have already been identified, and you’ve been working on it … for a long time, as I’ve noticed.
The problem with Element, is that no notifications are received unless it is turned on manually. I tested it on Google and non-Google Android devices, respectively with an application from Google Play and F-droid. In both cases it only worked if I started the application manually, but not in the background. Applies to both text and call.
As for the miniDLNA, no matter how stupid it sounds, I don’t know how to upload media to the server :slight_smile:

Hello @johnny,

You can use Samba to work with MiniDLNA. Enable Samba and then enable Open Share. Go to MiniDLNA config page and change it “Media Files Directory” location to:

/var/lib/freedombox/shares/open_share

The above file location is for the Samba open_share folder.

Then you can drag and drop your media files into your samba open_share with your desktop file browsers. If you have a smart TV or a Kodi box, your miniDLNA server will be found by them on your local network.

Regards: peter

MiniDLNA media location - Drop down menu option

A like for the above request would be helpfull to make miniDLNA more user friendly.

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Not sure, isn’t that to be expected? Doesn’t Matrix use those corporate push service providers to notify the mobile devices, and that would require you to register your server with them?

Using an XMPP protocol server (e.g. freedombox’s ejabberd server) should support to work with direct connections to the clients (can be tested with https://compliance.conversations.im).

More matrix protocol drawbacks:
FBx day 4: Matrix Synapse's howto
It was too easy, so now what? - #2 by NickA

Thanks, but it doesn’t work for me.

Another improvement I can suggest is adding a restart button, because my device crashes several times, and when the battery is connected , I had to either to disassemble it and unplug the battery or wait 10 hours for it to run out :slight_smile: