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[Freedombox-discuss] Does the software part of Freedombox be used without maintenance?



Hi Denis,

Quoting Denis 'GNUtoo' Carikli (2017-08-20 17:38:31)
> I was told by someone involved in Debian, that Debian installations 
> with automatic upgrades enabled would have very low probability of 
> having things broken providing that:
> - Debian stable is used
> - No external repositories are used
> 
> However take that with a grain of salt because I'm not a Debian 
> expert, so I could have misunderstood something.

Above is correct: Debian promises to maintain "Debian pure" systems, and 
pormises to do so automatically when no configuration has been "taken 
over" by the owner of the system.

A "Debian pure" system is a system installed purely from its official 
Debian source.  Beware that security updates are officially part of a 
release, but backports and non-free packages are not.

Configuration is "taken over" when files provided by Debian in /etc is 
edited by the local administrator of the system.


> As I understand, Freedombox is Debian pure blend (everything is in
> Debian).

Correct.


> If we forget about hardware issues:
> - Is the software supposed to be robust enough to be used without
>   maintenance?

Yes, it is supposed to, but I believe it is not there yet: As an 
example, the Radicale service wants to change things which I suspect 
FreedomBox currently does by having the system owner take over its 
configuration. See https://bugs.debian.org/848064 for progress on that.

I am unaware if similar needs exist for other services in FreedomBox.


> - Can technical users shoot themselves in the foot by altering
>   configurations like /etc/ssh/sshd (for instance to disable password 
>   based logins). Here I assume that such users are capable enough to 
>   do modifications that do work, and test them, and I am rather 
>   wondering if, with the automatic upgrades it's supposed not to 
>   break.

Yes: By editing a configuration file, the system owner "turns off the 
autopilot" for that part of the system, and may need to handle migration 
issues emerging during later upgrades.  I believe FreedomBox currently 
(with its Plinth user interface) helps system owners to edit 
configuration files, but lack the ability to help system owners solve 
later migration issues.

Others closer familiar to how Plinth works please do correct me if 
wrong!


> Hardware wise microSD are not that reliable[1], but I don't see it as 
> something that cannot be coped with, especially when:
> - Many of the supported hardware can boot from SPI flash, NAND, or
>   eMMC[2], which are more reliable.
> - In the worst case scenario, only the bootloader needs to reside on
>   the microSD.

I agree.


 - Jonas

-- 
 * Jonas Smedegaard - idealist & Internet-arkitekt
 * Tlf.: +45 40843136  Website: http://dr.jones.dk/

 [x] quote me freely  [ ] ask before reusing  [ ] keep private
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