Freedom Box

Have you ever heard of Freedom Box? If not you might find it interesting and worth supporting .

I think the time has come to bring internet back to it’s role instead of nowadays facebook shit. How do you think?

Great lecture on this topic:

great talk and proposed solution
freedom IS decaying

It is here, of course, that Mr. Zuckerberg enters.

The human race has susceptibility to harm but Mr. Zuckerberg has attained an unenviable record: he has done more harm to the human race than anybody else his age.

Because he harnessed Friday night. That is, everybody needs to get laid and he turned it into a structure for degenerating the integrity of human personality and he has to a remarkable extent succeeded with a very poor deal. Namely, “I will give you free web hosting and some PHP doodads and you get spying for free all the time”.

And it works.

That’s the sad part, it works.

How could that have happened?

There was no architectural reason, really. There was no architectural reason really. Facebook is the Web with “I keep all the logs, how do you feel about that?” It’s a terrarium for what it feels like to live in a panopticon built out of web parts.

And it shouldn’t be allowed. It comes to that. It shouldn’t be allowed. That’s a very poor way to deliver those services. They are grossly overpriced at “spying all the time”. They are not technically innovative. They depend upon an architecture subject to misuse and the business model that supports them is misuse. There isn’t any other business model for them. This is bad.

I’m not suggesting it should be illegal. It should be obsolete. We’re technologists, we should fix it.


A mere 65 years ago some guy and his goons were rounding up and killing all jews, homosexuals, communists… In the process they were taking over most of Europe. Somewhere in between we had totalitarian Stalin, a military dictatorship in Brazil… Today we have some strange form of market economy Maoism, several african and muslim oligarchies…

What’s in the next 65 years? Why give the next bunch of maniacs all the information they need in one place?

The idea presented is that the internet was designed as a peer to peer network. Peer in the sense that we are all equal. For reasons of money, the server/client architecture has become dominant. The user is a serf, their information is centralized, it is easily retrievable by people with power and bad intentions.

Freedom box is a proposal to revisit the underlying architecture of the internet. Give people what they want (Social network, get laid, pr0n, cool stuff, whatever) but untie it from the centralized architecture we have now.

Is it a good proposal? There’s a lot of debate on that. But that’s the underlying idea.

No, you haven’t. Freedom Box is a hotly debated subject.

The problem is centralized data.

Like you pointed out users could find decentralized stuff, but crawling is very complicated, and piecing it together problematic.

Compared to something like Facebook who “put it all under one roof” with insanely detailed logs with timestamps about every click? I pull up with a bunch of tanks and quarantine for a few months. Totally different story. From the lecture:

On the other side of the coin, and from my point of view, the value of a social network is the people in the network; not the technology. People are on Facebook, not on Nerdbook, because it’s cool. Are they idiots? Irrelevant. You can’t convince people to do something because it’s technologically better. It has never worked in 2000 years.

Also, if you believe the hype, proprietary social networks helped fuel several arab revolutions. That’s pretty much galvanizing freedom, no?

In the early 1960s, Marshall McLuhan wrote that the visual, individualistic print culture would soon be brought to an end by what he called “electronic interdependence” He coined the term The Global Village and predicted an “extension of consciousness” that would make many intellectuals of the day morally uncomfortable.

Is a hive mind a natural evolution? Or a decent into new fascism? Anyhoo, interesting times ahead. :)

Yes, exactly.

Bonus points? Diaspora is also the historic name given to “exiled jews.”

If such guy changes his mind and tries to delete his website/blog - with freedombox he just erase files from his server. He is the person who owns them. Of course some ppl could make a copy but he can quickly find them and ask to delete copies as well. How it is done now? If he creates a page within facebook he gets great audience but when he would like to delete his site - it is certain that files will NEVER be deleted physically. Or the opposite situation. He wants the website to be up but Facebook decides, for some reason, they don’t want to host it anymore. It gets deleted without his approval becouse it is their server. With Freedombox he has his own server and he is the one to decide.

And what if Facebook gets closed now. Milions of people lose their data with no posibility of getting it back. If Freedombox would be common there could be a social network that is completly decentralised (it probably would be some kind of software that runs on each box) and is invulrnable to the will of it’s owner becouse there is no owner :) And it couldn’t be turned off like Facebook was in Iran or Egypt just recently.

Why facebook is bad? Richard Stallman gives some examples on his page:

Fb and social networks actually entitle people to develop CRS (can’t remember shit).
trust me,
talk to anyone who uses social networks a lot,
about some random world event that happened no longer than 2 years ago,
who isn’t near a computer.
Try getting maybe at least 3 details. XD

like that huge round hole, that happened in south america, you guys remember that?
totally just disappeared a building with some guy inside down about like a mile.
They gave up, guy was fucked, no one remembers, really bad luck.

I was actually thinking about that sinkhole just yesterday. Guatemala… at least I remembered that much right.

Just looks so fake!

I have to admit I didn’t remember there being a very similar one in 2007 though (maybe I didn’t read the papers at the time.)

Actually none of the things is bad by itself, the stupid thing is, that the idea is based on the usage of people that know what they are doing and that don’t want to harm other people.
After a while, we discovered, that there are people misusing it, not only spammails, and advertisement everywhere, but they also can hide in that cloud very good and punishment is minimal. And it gets worse every day and the advertisement get’s more and more aggressive every day and privacy is worth nothing anymore.

Only a little in stats:

  • 80% of email traffic is SPAM, that means, that by whiping out all spam we could save 80% of the energy used by spammers.
  • some of those worldwhide-platforms consume more energy a day than a big american city a month …

Ah Guatemala, that was the one important detail I couldn’t remember, makes me wonder what it was like weeks before the event happened. There had to have been some indication there was a giant hole right under the guy’s place. Kind of like facebook I guess, a giant hole right under people’s lives.

Only issue I have with freedom box is having to run a server, if I could run a js server on top of web hosting I could pay for that wouldn’t be an issue but having to run a server on my computer or lan isn’t really something I want to do. The plug servers might not be so bad if people can get those cheap enough I could see it getting interesting. But really, they need to get it running on linksys wrt54g wireless routers.

Lately I’ve been thinking about Community Access Point Open boards with or without internet, with or without subscription.
local Access points that host a forum for the range of the antennas, it could totally be repeated but can also be limited to only a certain amount of hops. that way it keeps the forum very localized and it’s as private as the strength of the antennas. the ssids could be the access points given address. I think something like this is more what we need, knowing your neighbors is always a good thing. Us being mainly in front of a computer most of the time, doesn’t always help with knowing your neighbors. I always wonder how many of my neighbors share similar interests, but we never really know since we are so detached being inside quite a lot tapping away.

This is kind of a fascinating post (which for brevity’s sake I did not repost in its entirety).

What you’re really arguing against is what marketing people are now calling The Cloud. My personal info is in The Cloud. You think my personal info should stay out of The Cloud.

I work in the software industry, and the company I work for is extremely attentive to this shift in public perception on this topic. The fact of it is that we’re currently adopting a computing model that was considered obsolete 30 years ago. The appeal of the “personal computer” was that it was not a terminal connected to somebody else’s server. Your information was yours, and you could do whatever you wanted with your personal computer.

What we’re seeing now is that people don’t care about that. They want their computing life to be taken care of for them. They don’t want to fuck around with it. Witness the lines out the door for iPads*: people are sprinting into stores to check out of an existence where they have to be shepherds of their own information. The average person feels like they’re incapable of handling their own data - they would rather leave that job to the experts. That way, if something bad happens, they have somebody to blame other than themselves.

And here’s the thing: maybe they’re right! The average computer user that stores their shit in the cloud has intuited what people like us (more experienced computer users) are having a hard time accepting: it is not possible to keep control of your information once you connect to another person’s computer. Even P2P is not safe, if somebody in that P2P network eventually connects to other people.

So, once you accept that, what do you do? You do what everybody else is doing. Safety in numbers! And you carefully consider what information your computer knows about you.

*I just got one, it’s great! :unsure:

all of you guys make good points. the point is that imo, 80-90% of computer users are total noobs. they have no idea what they are doing, what they are dealing with, what the implications of their actions (both online and offline) are. this is why, when you mention at work or at a family gathering that you have some computer knowledge, you can expect a call from that one uncle someday.

because of this, the Freedom Box thing, and all of those other initiatives, are really only relevant or interesting to a pretty small number of users. most people will read it (if they even do), see ‘server’ and ‘network’ and some other words they don’t know about, and stop reading there.

‘The Cloud’ and all those related subjects have pros and cons, as does everything. you can just as easily make an argument for it as you can against it. in the end, people do not want all the hassle. they want things easy, so they take what they are given. if they are given a method where all of their data is synced and in one place and saved and backed up for them, they go for that and forget about some Russian cybercrime network who might just be buying/selling their data online for whatever purpose. they do not believe their information is of any use to anyone. and this example is not even very relevant. look at sites like, or go check out Facebook-profiles of people with children, and notice how they are often filled with pictures of their loved ones and open for the world to see.

i think it’s better to warn people about stuff they can understand (‘some guy might rob you if you tell the world you are on vacation’, ‘some pervert may be preying on your kids’) and which could do direct damage, than try to make them get this whole Freedom Box stuff, because it is way over their heads.

Hahah this comic is great

You are right, that’s why I think it should be working out of box and have sane default settings so people who don’t know how to configure it doesn’t have to. This is possible - it’s a matter of well designed GUI.

You intended to write American, don’t you? :lol:

Education and self-awareness is key to the victory in most cases. You can learn people not to post their adresses or other confidental information but this does not solve the problem with privacy and data mining we are facing now. It is all in the posted lecture: as long as the internet is divided between ‘them’ (servers’ owners) and ‘us’ (customers) we are not free neither secure in the net. We are dependend on what ‘they’ want to do with our data. It may sound paranoic but they have out mail, InstantMessaging logs, websites with activity logs, all kind of logs including logins and logouts, browser used, your IP and most certainly your access location etc. If you have a smartphone, combine it with data which your provider has about you - who you call to, from where and when. Quite a lot of data, right?

i couldn’t agree more. but i think the problem is that this stuff is simply to difficult for most people to understand. even with a pre-configured, user-friendly Freedom Box, most folks would be ‘whats the point?’ because they do not feel this is something to worry about, and they don’t understand what it means for them. and if they do, there are loads of people who will tell you ‘i cant imagine they are evil and will do bad things with my data’, and they stop there. no paranoia for them, and it just comes down to the whole ignorance is bliss debate.

I agree that computing and networking knowledge might look too difficult for most people but as long as they do not wish to write their own network apps it would be enough to tell them how this work using simple metaphors instead of technical details (this is how I percieve the network right now becouse I don’t have time and enough will to learn the details). This is, again, a matter of education. I’m certain that most people would understand the danger if they were told about it in simple, most appealing to them way. Then they would understand why initiatives such as FreedomBox are needed. However, I don’t think people will give a damn about this. World became too hedonistic these days and we all gonna pay for it someday.

again, i couldn’t agree more. :)

I’m glad we share the same thoughts on this matter :)

Actually I’m surprised by this discussion. I have posted similiar topics on several boards I’m visiting and this is the only one where topic received feedback and a positive one. There is hope for changes I might say. :)

that’s because the Renoise community is way smarter than several other communities out there. because we use a tracker, we are deliberately limited, and thus force ourselves to be creative and think more.
also some people listen to idm which is pretty complicated music.

NY Times, coincidentally raising a related topic

Personal conversation: the ultimate Freedom Box?

good one. i often think about how digital everything in our lives has become and how it seems to take some effort to do something opposite that. strange though, as when i look out through the opened balcony doors, i see a beautiful blue sky with a forest of trees in different shades of green. far more beautiful than this computer, even though i have a great wallpaper…