Installing Freedombone on a Beaglebone Black

The Beaglebone Black is small, cheap, a fully open hardware design, has a hardware random number generator and consumes very little electrical power, making it suitable for all kinds of uses. There is also a wireless version.

You can easily use one to run your own internet services from home.


You will need:

  • A Beaglebone Black. The exact revision of the hardware isn't very important, but it should have an ethernet socket.
  • Optionally a plastic or metal case to protect the electronics.
  • An ethernet cable. Typically these are colour coded either blue or yellow. Either colour will do. If you're using the Wireless version of the Beaglebone Black then you don't need this.
  • Either a 5v power supply with 5.5mm barrel plug, or a miniUSB type B cable (typically supplied with the Beaglebone) and USB to mains adaptor.
  • A microSD card at least 8 gigabytes in size. In tests Sandisk class 10 works well. Prefer smaller but faster I/O rating to larger but slower.
  • A microSD card adaptor for your laptop or desktop system, so that you can copy the disk image to the card.

You may need to obtain a domain name and set up a dynamic DNS account for your new Freedombone server. Details on how to do that can be found here.

On your laptop or desktop prepare a microSD card image as follows. To create an image on a Debian based system:

sudo apt-get install git dialog build-essential
git clone
cd freedombone
git checkout stretch
sudo make install
freedombone-image --setup debian

Or on Arch/Parabola:

sudo pacman -S git dialog
git clone
cd freedombone
git checkout stretch
sudo make install
freedombone-image --setup parabola

If you can't obtain a copy of the source code from (maybe the server is down) then you may still be able to obtain it with:

dat clone dat://e9cbf606e55cdaa85199f4e6ec25ff7456775389979a668b3faf33e057493f8e/
cd e9cbf606e55cdaa85199f4e6ec25ff7456775389979a668b3faf33e057493f8e
tar -xzvf freedombone.tar.gz
cd freedombone
git checkout stretch


If you own a domain name and have it linked to a dynamic DNS account (eg. freeDNS) and want to make a system accessible via an ordinary browser then run:

freedombone-image -t beagleboneblack

Or of you want a system where the services are only accessible via onion addresses.

freedombone-image -t beagleboneblack --onion-addresses-only yes

Onion addresses have the advantage of being difficult to censor and you don't need to buy a domain or have a dynamic DNS account. An onion based system also means you don't need to think about NAT traversal type issues. This does not mean that everything gets routed through Tor, it just means that the sites for apps which you install will be available through Tor's address system.


Now follow the instructions given here to copy the image to the microSD drive beginning with running the freedombone-client command. Wherever it says "USB drive" substitute "microSD drive". When the microSD drive is ready plug it into the front of the Beaglebone. The photo below also includes an Atheros wifi USB dongle plugged into the front, but that's not necessary unless you want to set up the system to run on a wifi network.


Connect the power and for the non-wireless versions of the Beaglebone Black also connect the ethernet cable and plug it into your internet router.

Now power cycle by removing the power plug and then inserting it again. It should boot from the microSD drive and you should see the blue LEDs on the board flashing. If they don't fash at all for a few minutes then try copying the image to the microSD card again.

Follow the rest of the instructions given here to log in via ssh and install the system. The microSD drive should remain inside the Beaglebone and not be removed. This will be its main drive, with the internal EMMC not being used at all. For the Beaglebone Black Wireless ssh back in on the usual address with the USB cable connected so that your wifi login parameters can be set.

There are many apps available within the Freedombone system and trying to install them all is probably not a good idea, since this hardware is very resource constrained on CPU and especially on RAM. If the system seems to be becoming unstable and crashing then the most likely cause is running out of RAM, in which case you can try uninstalling some apps. It is possible to monitor RAM usage by logging in with ssh, exiting to the command line and then running the top command.

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