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[Freedombox-discuss] Freedombox-discuss Digest, Vol 8, Issue 37

On 3/8/11 7:55 AM, James Vasile wrote:
> On Mon, 07 Mar 2011 10:37:00 -0500, Joshua Spodek<joshuaspodek at yahoo.com>  wrote:
> My guess is that the early version of the Freedom Plug is not going to
> have full-featured end-user apps like FB-ish walls.
Maybe not full-featured, but it should have *something* as a start 
toward communication and social networking. I think there's room for 
things like Pagekite along with some web publishing, microblogging, and 
general communication tools. A lot of this stuff already exists, either 
as Debian packages or in a form ready to wrap up in a package.
> If I had any say in the design (which I do not), I'd probably be looking
> at it like this: What's the list of things the box needs to do in order
> to gain a place in some users' homes?  If the box is a router, media NAS
> and print server, it's got the same feature set as an airport.  Build
> backup into it for a big win.  That's a pretty good start.
I disagree. People already have this stuff, in polished form. 
Personally, I have a Synology DS210j NAS that runs embedded linux and 
does all the above. It cost under US$200, and it's great.

A FreedomBox shouldn't try to sneak in the backdoor by pretending to be 
a different product. It should augment those other devices that already 
do their jobs well?maybe fill in as a NAS in a pinch, but I don't think 
that should be the main thrust of the distro.
> On that, we might add some "find me anywhere on the net and talk to me
> securely" capability.  This makes it a file server and maybe a
> dropbox-like device.  That small feature set is a pretty attractive
> package.  It's also is the start of the freedom stack.
That's a good starting point, IMO, especially if it can work *with* 
existing NAS devices and the like. Since my NAS runs embedded linux, I 
could even see adapting FreedomBox packages to run on it if I didn't 
feel like buying a plug computer?but I wouldn't call that a main goal of 
this distro, either.
> Then we might identify other users/boxes who get privileged access to
> the file server.  We start building identity functions into the stack.
> Etc.
> The point here is not the specific roadmap I've outlined so much as a
> natural progression of useful stuff with the freedom stack developed
> over time that makes the useful stuff meet our ethical standards.  At
> each point it's got a compelling reason to use it and those reasons grow
> over time in bite-sized chunks.
FWIW, I think network privacy and regaining control over your personal 
data and communications are compelling enough to focus the product 
story. If it just looks like a NAS or a router, and I already have both, 
why bother? But if this thing looks like something different that can 
make my NAS and router better and lets me get away from, say, Flickr and 
Facebook when I want to, then gimme.
> At some point the chunks add up to a great stack that can underpin
> something like Diaspora.
Diaspora itself might be too big a bite for a plug computer to swallow, 
but there are simpler things to do.

For instance, you could build the start of a pretty effective Twitter 
replacement by pushing static HTML & Atom feeds up to Amazon S3 (or 
other cheap hosting, or using Pagekite) and hitting a PubSubHubbub 
server for update pings. Roll in a simple feed aggregator and, set up 
Salmon and OStatus hooks behind Pagekite, and you're off.

l.m.orchard at pobox.com
{web,mad,computer} scientist

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