FreedomBox

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The FreedomBox Foundation is an open source project (separate from the Free Network Foundation) to develop an interface and software stack based on Debian (GNU/Linux) to run on plug computers owned by individuals to return control and ownership of data and logs to the users. The project may or may not specify and sell specific hardware; the FreedomBox concept applies to any low power, long-running personal server providing network and social services operating from a user's premises.

The FNF would like to integrate individuals' FreedomBoxes as edge devices of the free network, meshing with or (even serving as) FreedomNodes) and providing connectivity to end user devices (laptops, phones, etc). The functionality of FreedomBox and FreedomNode could overlap and be served by a single device in many situations; in others having a distinct "building-scope" Node and several "individual-scope" Boxes would make more sense.

"FreedomBox" is sometimes abbreviated to "FBx".

Software

Possibly Byzantium in addition to what the FBx project comes up with.

Amahi is an independent "personal server" linux distribution that might also be appropriate for FBx-like devices; see here for a 32-bit Ubuntu-based release.

Commotion is an OpenWRT-based firmware distribution for use with meshed networks, and might be used for FreedomNodes or some FBx-like devices. "Full-strength" FBx devices should probably run a larger distribution.

Hardware

A number of off-the-shelf network devices could act as a FreedomBox; see the FBx wiki pages on HardwareRequirements and TargetedHardware.

Depending on the owner's needs, existing hardware (unused laptop?) or easily available commodity routers costing less than ***$50*** running a subset of FreedomBox functionality may be sufficient (such routers generally have poor compute and I/O resources for running a regular debian stack, and run firmware like OpenWrt or pfSense instead).

DreamPlug

dreamplug photo
DreamPlug device

The initial hardware device chosen for FreedomBox (and used by most project developers as of Summer 2012) is the GlobalScale DreamPlug. This device is widely available online, costs about $175, has a 1.2GHz Marvell ARM processor, 512MBytes RAM, microSD flash storage (slow!), two GigE ethernet ports, and basic integrated Wifi connectivity.

Genesi EFIKA MX Smarttop

Was suggested as a possible FreedomBox, but is no longer in production. Cost $130.

800MHz ARM Freescale i.MX515 processor, video (HDMI), 512MB RAM, 8GB internal Flash, 802.11 b/g/n, 2x USB ports, SD slot, 100Mbps ethernet, power consumption around 5 watts.

Excito B3

Yet another popular home server product, oriented towards file storage (NAS), but with strong debian-based support. Costs around $400, WiFi version more. 1.2GHz ARM processor, 2x GigE ethernet ports, 512MB RAM, eSATA connection, 2x USB host ports, consumes 8+ watts (with hard disk), no fan.

More Resources

Free Network Infrastructure Projects (edit)
Appliances: Box - Node - Tower - Link
Software: AutoNOC - AutoTunnel
Facilities: FreedomCenter - GuifiUS - FNF_Lab
Big picture: The Free Network Stack