Building an internet run by the users, for the users

The internet may still be mostly in the clutches of a few giant megacorporations and dubious governments with sketchy agendas, but it doesn't have to remain that way. With the third version of the Freedombone system there is now more scope than before to take back your privacy, have ownership of personal data and run your own online communities without undesirable intermediaries.

Freedombone version 3 is based on Debian 9 (Stretch). It was released in July 2017 and includes:

  • Faster initial setup
  • More installable apps, including CryptPad, Koel, NextCloud, PostActiv, Friendica and Matrix/RiotWeb
  • Automated security tests
  • Improved XMPP configuration for support of the Conversations app features
  • Improved blocking controls for a better federated network experience
  • Uses elliptic curve based GPG keys for better performance on low power single board computers
  • Pre-downloaded repos distributed within images for faster and more autonomous app installs


The simplest way to install is from a pre-made disk image. Images can be downloaded here. You will need to have previously obtained a domain name and have a dynamic DNS account somewhere.

Copy the image to a microSD card or USB thumb drive, replacing sdX with the identifier of the USB thumb drive. Don't include any numbers (so for example use sdc instead of sdc1).

unxz downloadedimagefile.img.xz
dd bs=32M if=downloadedimagefile.img of=/dev/sdX conv=fdatasync,sync,noerror

And wait. It will take a while to copy over. When that's done you might want to increase the partition size on the drive, using a tool such as Gparted. Whether you need to do that will depend upon how many apps you intend to install and how much data they will store.

Plug the microSD or USB drive into the target hardware which you want to use as a server and power on. If you're using an old laptop or netbook as the server then you will need to set the BIOS to boot from USB.

As the system boots for the first time the login is:

username: fbone
password: freedombone

If you're installing from a microSD card on a single board computer without a screen and keyboard attached then you can ssh into it with:

ssh fbone@freedombone.local -p 2222

Using the initial password "freedombone". If you have trouble accessing the server then make sure you have Avahi installed and mDNS enabled.

You will then be shown a new randomly generated password. It's very important that you write this down somewhere or transfer it to a password manager before going further, because you'll need this to log in later.

More detailed installation instructions are linked from the main site.

Upgrading from a previous install

To upgrade from the Debian Jessie version first create a master keydrive. Go to the Administrator control panel and select Backup and restore then Backup GPG key to USB (master keydrive). Insert a LUKS encrypted USB drive. When that is done Create a full backup by selecting Backup data to USB drive and using another LUKS encrypted USB drive.

Follow the installation infstructions for the new Freedombone version, as described in the previous section. When the new system starts installing it will ask if you want to restore your GPG keys. Select yes and plug in your master keydrive.

When the initial setup is complete go to the Administrator control panel and select Backup and restore then Restore data from USB drive followed by all. Insert the backup USB drive which you made previously. This will restore the base system, including any emails.

You can now go to Add/Remove apps on the Administrator control panel and add the apps you want. Once they're installed you can recover their content and settings from Backup and Restore.

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