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FreedomBox logo
Latest release24.14[1] / 2 July 2024
user interface
Web interface
LicenseFree software (AGPLv3)
Official websitefreedombox.org
Screenshot of the front page of FreedomBox
Front page of the FreedomBox user interface with most of the applications installed.

FreedomBox is a free software home server operating system based on Debian, backed by the FreedomBox Foundation.[2]

Launched in 2010, FreedomBox has grown from a software system to an ecosystem including a DIY community as well as some commercial products.


The project was announced by Eben Moglen, Professor of Law at Columbia Law School, in a speech called "Freedom in the Cloud" at the New York ISOC meeting on February 2, 2010.[3] In this speech, Moglen predicted the damage that Facebook would do to society; "Mr. Zuckerberg has attained an unenviable record: he has done more harm to the human race than anybody else his age." In direct response to the threat posed by Facebook in 2010, Moglen argued that FreedomBox should provide the foundation for an alternative Web.

As Steven J. Vaughan Nichols notes, "[Moglen] saw the mess we were heading toward almost 10 years ago. That was before Facebook proved itself to be totally incompetent with security and sold off your data to Cambridge Analytica to scam 50 million US Facebook users with personalized anti-Clinton and pro-Trump propaganda in the 2016 election."[4]

On February 4, 2011, Moglen formed the FreedomBox Foundation to become the organizational headquarters of the project,[5] and on February 18, 2011, the foundation started a campaign to raise $60,000 in 30 days on the crowdfunding service, Kickstarter.[6] The goal was met on February 22,[7] and on March 19, 2011, the campaign ended after collecting $86,724 from 1,007 backers.[6] The early developers aimed to create and preserve personal privacy by providing a secure platform for building decentralized digital applications.[8] They targeted the FreedomBox software for plug computers and single-board computers that can easily be located in individual residences or offices. After 2011, the FreedomBox project continued to grow under different leadership.

In 2017, the project was so successful that "the private sector global technology company ThoughtWorks had hired two developers in India to work on FreedomBox full-time."[9] The FreedomBox project now has a software ecosystem of its own, with contributions from over 60 developers throughout the project's history.[10]

In 2019, the FreedomBox Foundation announced that the first commercial FreedomBox product would be sold by Olimex, a hardware manufacturer.[11]

FreedomBox and Debian[edit]

FreedomBox is a Debian Pure Blend, and all of its applications are installed as Debian packages. The FreedomBox project itself distributes its software through Debian repositories.

FreedomBox also features automatic software updates powered by Debian.[12]

Hardware neutrality[edit]

FreedomBox is designed to be hardware neutral: Its developers aim for it to be installable on almost any computer hardware.[13] One of the benefits of being a Debian Pure Blend is that FreedomBox inherits the diverse hardware compatibility of Debian.

As of April 2019, FreedomBox is packaged in custom operating system images for 11 single-board computers.[14] The hardware currently put forward for use with the FreedomBox software is explained on the Hardware[15] page. OSHW designs are preferred, like the Olimex A20 OLinuXino Lime 2[16] or the BeagleBone Black.[17] Closed-source boards like the DreamPlug,[18] Cubietruck[19] and the Raspberry Pi[20][21] are possible options, while more are on the way. There is also a VirtualBox image. FreedomBox can additionally be installed over a clean Debian installation.

Commercial product[edit]

On April 22, 2019, the FreedomBox Foundation announced plans to sell a home server kit called a "FreedomBox" as a commercial product.[9] Production and sales were managed by hardware company Olimex.[4] The product is designed to make it easier for laypeople to host their own servers.[22]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ James Valleroy (2 July 2024). "FreedomBox 24.14 released". Retrieved 2 July 2024.
  2. ^ "The FreedomBox Foundation".
  3. ^ "Highlights of Eben Moglen's Freedom in the Cloud Talk". Software Freedom Law Center. Retrieved 2011-02-20.
  4. ^ a b "Put the internet back under your control with the FreedomBox". ZDNet.
  5. ^ "Why Political Liberty Depends on Software Freedom More Than Ever". Software Freedom Law Center. Retrieved 2011-02-20. Yesterday in the United States, we formed the FreedomBox Foundation, which I plan to use as the [...] organizational headquarters [...]
  6. ^ a b "Push the FreedomBox Foundation from 0 to 60 in 30 days". Kickstarter. Retrieved 2011-02-20.
  7. ^ "Thank you Kickstarters". The Freedom Foundation. Retrieved 2011-02-23.
  8. ^ "Linux.conf.au 2012: FreedomBox's privacy". ZDNet. Retrieved 2012-01-19.
  9. ^ a b "Announcing the Launch of Sales of Pioneer Edition FreedomBox Home Servers".
  10. ^ "Contributors - FreedomBox Debian Wiki".
  11. ^ Franklin, Jill (2019-04-26). "The EFF Asks You to Help End the Call Detail Records Program, FreedomBox Foundation Launches the Pioneer Edition FreedomBox Home Server, Polyverse Announces CVE API Support, IBM Developers Working on System Call Isolation and Scientific Linux Discontinued". Retrieved 2018-08-23.
  12. ^ "FreedomBox/Manual/Upgrades - Debian Wiki". debian.org.
  13. ^ "About FreedomBox - FreedomBox Foundation".
  14. ^ "Testing Download - FreedomBox". Archived from the original on 2019-01-02. Retrieved 2019-05-01.
  15. ^ "FreedomBox/Hardware - Debian Wiki". debian.org.
  16. ^ "FreedomBox/Hardware/A20-OLinuXino-Lime2 - Debian Wiki". wiki.debian.org. Retrieved 2015-11-22.
  17. ^ "FreedomBox/Hardware/BeagleBone - Debian Wiki". debian.org.
  18. ^ "FreedomBox/TargetedHardware - Debian Wiki". debian.org.
  19. ^ "FreedomBox/Hardware/Cubietruck - Debian Wiki". debian.org.
  20. ^ "FreedomBox/Hardware/RaspberryPi - Debian Wiki". debian.org. Archived from the original on 2020-09-05. Retrieved 2015-11-06.
  21. ^ "FreedomBox/Hardware/RaspberryPi2 - Debian Wiki". debian.org.
  22. ^ "How to use a FreedomBox running open source software to regain control of your online privacy". 27 April 2019.

Press reviews[edit]

  • "Eben Moglen Is Reshaping Internet With a Freedom Box — The New York Times." [Online].

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